It was a few weeks since I was invited to and then reminded every Tuesday about the meeting of a few blokes at the residence of a genial fellow. But it was only yesterday evening that I could make it to their meeting.
I left the informal meeting after about two and one half hours with a few feelings. Firstly, since the chat was not supplemented or sautéed with alcohol, the discussion was on a different plane, there was no impassioned oration and arguments. But most of all, the individuals present there did not have the cantankerous, menacing and totalitarian attitude. Disagreements were argued off than shouted down or fumed at like monstrous grotsoque looking dragons I have sometimes confronted. None of us present there had a termagant flip side. What relief!
The meeting takes place every Tuesday evening and a subject or topic is laid on the table. Though I did not see any spectacular debating skills or opening of repository of knowledge, I felt some of them were quite competent and were actually people from whom one could be enriched in terms of ideas, insight and information.
Rights of LGBT! That was the subject for discussion. The contention was not more about transgender than about homosexuals. It was a pity that none of us were with a strong educational background in biology or genetics. None of us would disagree that the rights of gays and LGBT is as inviolable as that of any of us. However we just could not recall any definitive scientific study that tells that a homosexual disposition is genetic nor could we quote a definite study that it is epigenetic. Indeed it was not a malediction from the heavens or a mental illness. But heck, nevertheless how could be a gay, bisexual or transgender be seen as tantamount to a thief, rapist or murderer? We were unanimous about one thing, that even if the SC throws out the anachronistic Section 377, the antiquated persuasions that people harbour about LGBT and homosexuality in particular will corrode minds like the egregious caste bias that stays put in spite of the ambitious statements in the statute. Mindset must change more than the law and for that we must heed to the revelations and power of scientific knowledge that always opens new vistas, if only we care to notice.
We did not notice that our discussion moved on to topics and we ended up with the suicide of the research scholar at the Hyderabad University. His misfortune need not be trumpeted to highlight the plight of dalits or the discrimination they face in society and across which ever political ideology they run to for succour. One need not even go excavating and hunting for information as to the lineage of the poor chap. He may have been a dalit or he may not have been one. He may have been a half dalit if there could be one such. But as one of the guys asserted, his suicide was perhaps a genetic temperament, an aberration that he was inborn with, only that the right moment and incidences accentuated it. The guy who stated this spoke about the state of depressive disorder and he asked if we could tell what it is to be plowed under by depression and then you are bludgeoned by the effect of medication. He said that there was a time in his life when he contemplated suicide every day. There were moments when he almost ended his life. External environment also was unhelpful to his crawling out from the plight.
I could not help remembering the young boy who I knew since he was little, perhaps 6 years old. He, the 27 year old young fellow who snuffed out his life the previous month, ending his untold agony (I suppose) hanging by the neck. Was he depressed, was he unable to tell his receding plight? Couldn’t the people near him notice? Or did he decide because of all that he reached a cul de sac?