CHAPTER 1 : HOMOSEXUALITY IN ANCIENT INDIA
India’s civilization was mentioned as one of the first ancient civilizations on the planet dated back around 4th Millenium B.C combined with small units around Mohanjo-daro that were referred to as the first economic, political and cultural center of Hindustan. Ancient India as early as far those times, has regulated many aspects of human life and had a well developed far more open-minded society. Sexual relationships including homosexual relationships were accepted in society without any hesitation. Ancient Indians(Hindustanis) welcomed and accepted everything that bought them happiness without hurting or invading others, they are said to be the far more intelligent society with advanced technologies, policies, and standards that accepted every part for their peoples’ happiness, this was something a unique nature of Ancient India.
In general the attitude and the law towards homosexual people where soft in Ancient India,when compared to the other laws with highest punishment in the ancient period.
The Dharmasastra Hindu’s behavioral rule fixed a penalty of some sort of sodomy by expelling the person but this law was used against man or woman who takes advantage of the other without the consent of the other person. So consent was important in ancient times to be in any type of relationship. The book also refers to human and non-human sodomy was considered as the biggest crime of those times.
In the older legal documents “The Law of Manu” it was referred regarding same-sex contacts as a crime when an adult woman without the consent of a young virgin girl have a sexual relationship or tempts her to have a relationship, the penalty was the adult woman’s head was shaved and her two fingers were chopped and she was given a ride on a donkey around her place of living(This gradually got replaced by the society in the 19th century as Brahman’s head was shaved in the higher caste as his penalty for his crime against any miss deads or wrongdoings and Two fingers were chopped off from the Kashtriya’s -lower caste). At the same time if two girls involved in same-sex each one has to pay a penalty in two hundred coins and ten lashes. When we analyze these rules it becomes clear that homosexuality is not a crime that is having a same-sex relationship was not a sin they were very particular about virginity issues and consent. In the same legal documents, it was also mentioned that if a two adult woman has a same-sex relationship neither it is considered to be a crime or a penalty issue. Adult women were allowed to have any type of relationship according to their preferences.
The same type of penalties and punishment was given for the men too. It was said that in those days that many heterosexual relations were punished in a stricter way than homosexual people.
In Ancient India, there was a separate group called “Kilba” referred to as neuter gender which comprises Lesbians, Gays, Transgenders, Bisexuals, and hermaphrodite(a person having both male and female sexual organs). kilbas not only refer homosexual people it refers around 14 different types of people and the Law of Manu has mentioned that certain Kilbas other than homosexual persons rest are asked to follow certain policies and standards when living in Ancient India.
There are lots of references regarding transgender people throughout the Indian culture and since this Kilbas consists of 14 types of different people who are not supposed to attend certain rituals or functions depending on their classifications. When Mughal Emperor started to conquering India the first thing they did was to demolish all our old scripts and legal documents that exclusively helped us in shaping our ancient India. Slowly India entirely believed in the Mughal rulers and their policies later Britishers came and invaded us for more than 150 yrs in which we entirely forgot our history and cultural existence and people who translated certain “Manu” documents during the Mughal period where not able to understand certain rules that were mentioned exactly in the documents, this also made us loose our entire understanding of our own legal systems.
Reading and hearing this information from various Ancient books by various authors it seems Ancient India was very welcoming homosexuality or the relationship within the homosexual people. Modern India in this 21st century we are understanding the importance of our culture and heritage trying to bring back everything will soon realize and accept the relationship between homosexual people is not something to worry about it is something to celebrate about life and identity.