Author Archives: Agnivo Niyogi

Book Review: The Nine Chambered Heart by Janice Pariat

nine chamberedBooks on love are available dime a dozen in India. Unknown writers have shot to fame and built careers by selling the mushy-formulaic romance that tugs at the heartstrings of college crowds. Romance is a genre that sells – dynamics of relationships intrigue readers like no other.

To describe ‘The Nine Chambered Heart’ by Janice Pariat as a book on love would be like trying to describe love in a word. It is near to impossible, and everyone would have a different interpretation. The book is a kaleidoscope of emotions, a profoundly illuminating tale about a woman.

The book has 10 chapters. In nine of those, nine characters recall their relationship with this same woman. We get to know about her through their memories. Their stories breathe life into her. Every encounter we have in our lives leaves a mark in our being, and in this book that momentary imprint takes us closer to the personality of the protagonist.

The success of Janice Pariat’s book is not in what she writes, but in what she chooses not to. The slivers give us an insight into the ever-changing identity of the girl, who falls in love. The events take place in familiar, nameless cities, moving between east and west. From the art teacher in school to another woman in university – the girl experiences love in all its forms.

The book personally appealed to me because I have recently fallen out of love, and I have loved men of varied hues in the past. Every relationship has a bearing on our personalities – and we retain memories from them. It so happens that a random line of lyric of a song may remind you of your first crush, or a movie may bring back memories of a loved one who is no longer in our lives.

‘The Nine Chambered Heart’ is a must-read for anyone who has been in love, and has been madly in love with the concept of ‘being in love’. Janice Pariat’s book makes for a delectable journey of self-discovery through the written word.

My Rating: 4/5 stars

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P.S. This review is part of the Flipkart Bloggers’ Affiliate Programme


Decriminalising homosexuality – Help my voice reach the GOI

On July 2, 2009, the Delhi High Court declared Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code unconstitutional, thereby, giving a new ray of hope to millions of Indians who were stigmatized for their sexuality. The section, which criminalized consensual sex between two adults of the same-sex, was grossly misused by the police to target and victimize homosexuals. With 377 gone, it was a dawn of freedom for the LGBT community in India.

However, on December 11, 2013, the Supreme Court overturned the Delhi High Court verdict, thereby declaring lakhs of Indians criminals in their own country, solely for their ‘choice’ of love. The decision of a legislation to decriminalise homosexuality was left the Parliament of India.

The judiciary is the custodian of human rights, and has the mandate to make decisions in the interest of the public. But Justice Singhvi adjudged that annulling Section 377 of the IPC for a “minuscule minority” is improper. Well, the Constitution of India warrants that no matter how minuscule a minority is, their rights must be protected.

Article 21 of the India Constitution includes right to privacy also in its sweep which was upheld by our Hon’ble SC in Kharak Singh v State of UP for the first time. The Supreme Court held that right to privacy is an essential ingredient of right to personal liberty.

While a common case against decriminalizing homosexuality is that it is “unnatural”, people forget that nearly 500 species on animals show homosexual tendencies. How can a trait so abundantly occurring in nature be “unnatural”?

There is also a class of people who say homosexuality is against Indian culture. That is definitely not the case. The controversial Section 377 of the IPC is a British law that was introduced in the Victorian period. In fact, Indian scriptures and epics are replete with queer characters (the most common being Shikandi from Mahabharata).

The American Anthropological Association stated in 2004: “The results of more than a century of anthropological research on households, kinship relationships, and families, across cultures and through time, provide no support whatsoever for the view that either civilization or viable social orders depend upon marriage as an exclusively heterosexual institution. Rather, anthropological research supports the conclusion that a vast array of family types, including families built upon same-sex partnerships, can contribute to stable and humane societies.”

Several countries in the world recognize same-sex marriage: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Uruguay and the United States.

I, therefore, feel, it is about time we shed the colonial baggage, decriminalizing a private and consensual act between two consenting adults. It is time we modified Section 377 of IPC to decriminalize homosexuality.

Let every human being live a life of dignity, irrespective of their gender, sexuality, caste, religion or colour – just as the Constitution of India mandates.

Sign the petition by clicking here.


P.S. This is my first post for #BlogchatterProjects

DISCLAIMER: All Images Used In This Post Have Their Respective Copyrights

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