For the vast majority of us, Independence and Freedom have been a right bestowed upon us since birth. Technically, this Independence Day was the 73rd one for the people of the country. It celebrated the nation, its citizens and the rights and freedom accorded to us by the Indian Constitution. However, for a very specific group, this 15th August, was actually the first time they could truly feel the freedom.
On the monumental day of September 6th 2018 with its landmark ruling, the Supreme Court repealed section 377 with a right to constitutional equality. With that, millions of members of the LGBTQ community were freed from the shackles plaguing them for years, empowering them with the true essence of freedom.
While most of the country celebrated the great day with the traditional fervour and festivities, the LGBTQ community, who were celebrating their first Independence Day, decided to do something different. The Indian LGBTQ community came out with their very own version of the national anthem to commemorate the first “real independence day” since homosexuality was decriminalised.
While Section 377 has been decriminalized, the journey towards acceptance of the community in the society certainly has a long way to go. The court ruling has allowed the community to express their love and orientation freely, without the burden of bureaucratic red tape. However, awareness about what the community really means and stands for is still not where it should be. So, in an effort to raise awareness of ongoing discrimination, the Humsafar Trust—one of Asia’s first organisations fighting for queer equality—released a rendition of India’s national anthem featuring prominent activists and advocates of the LGBTQ cause.
The film features prominent LGBTQIA+ advocates and activists from NGOs and advocacy bodies like The Naz Foundation, KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival, Sweekar – The Rainbow Parents, Umang LBT Group, and The Humsafar Trust, amongst others. It presents a powerful narrative, bringing to light the unsung heroes in this unique struggle for LGBTQ rights and equality, under the backdrop of the most popular symbol of India’s unity and diversity – the National Anthem penned by Rabindranath Tagore.
The anthem is certainly a step in the right direction, as the starting point for equality for any community in the society is their proper representation, and the film does certainly that. Let’s hope that while it took a long time for the LGBTQ community to celebrate their first Independence Day, other milestones in their journey won’t take as long as this!
To view the full video, click here!