For many people in Indian society, sex and love are two sides of the same coin. Where love is looked upon with a lot of compassion and respect in society, sex is deemed as negative and a shameful topic not to be discussed with others. But, in spite of these being two different concepts, society has clubbed them together over the years. A recent Bollywood Hindi movie, Aligarh tries to challenge these concepts and successfully able to impress thinkers in these areas.
Aligarh is a movie about Dr. Siras, a Marathi Professor in Aligarh University (symbolizing Aligarh Muslim University) from UP. He was caught in a sting operation while having sex with another man (rickshaw puller). The university felt ashamed of his immoral act and suspended him from his duties. Later, they took away his house and he faced a lot of humiliation and pain from society. He challenged the orders in Allahabad High Court, which later revoked his suspension. But before he could join back, he died on 7th Apr 2010. The cause of death was claimed as suicide but later 6 men were arrested for his murder. Though, the case was closed abruptly as police couldn’t find sufficient evidence or better say didn’t try to find anyways.
Assuming that the movie indeed represented the story of Siras from AMU, the movie did not show some additional stuff. Siras was also charged in false sexual harassment case by a woman in mid of his career, the charge was unsubstantiated and the case was withdrawn before Siras could lodge a response.
The plot of the story looks as if it is talking controversial topic of homosexuality in India. But if you will try to watch the movie without preconceived notions, you will be able to find more to it. The story talks about the life of a man who has a difference of opinion from society.
Dr. Siras always had wanted to do better in life, he used to value life, art and poetry. Being an award-winning writer in Marathi from Maharashtra, he chose to teach Marathi in Uttar Pradesh, so that he could find the true love of his work. He spent over two decades teaching at Aligarh University. He was exemplary in his work and with his hard work, he became the Reader and Chair of Modern Indian Languages in University. But many people didn’t like him because of his nature of doing things differently which forced them to trap and kill him.
Siras had a great understanding of love and sex. Neither he ill-treated his love nor sex. For him, love also was not restricted to an act of sex. For society, love is all about sex that too with legal partners else it is a curse. With that context, one can not love more than one person and if a man has the love for more than an individual he is thrown out of society as a pervert. It is only the immature and ridiculous mindset of society which has tightly coupled these two very different concepts of love and sex.
Though the movie had the plot of homosexuality, it is not talking about homosexuality alone. In fact, when this incident happened, homosexuality was considered legal as per the ruling of a High Court.
The movie tries to touch a very important area, which is, a man is never accepted if he tries to go for his own choices. Siras was all alone, he had very few friends in University who hardly supported him in his bad times, there was no family around him during his last 30 years. This is what happens when a man tries to take such bold calls in society – he is left alone.
Another hard truth that the movie brings out is this – Society boycotts a bachelor. If you are a man and you don’t have a family, people will look down upon you. In any residential area, it would not be easy for you to find a house to stay. You will be kept out of social gatherings. Cousins will avoid you from parties with their spouses. Your friends will try to ignore you if they are calling for get-togethers. Being a bachelor could mean you are not good hence no women is accepting you. And in a society which is built upon gynocentrism, no woman means no life. And it is not about choices alone, its a feeling, a feeling of mutual hatred among men called Misandry. Same male friends would love to welcome an unmarried woman but for bachelor, their answer is ‘no’ — that too, a strict ‘no’.
In India, people make a big hue and cry stating that a girl does not have freedom. Stop them for a second and ask the same people about a bachelor’s freedom when he chose his own life. Forget life, if a man chooses to grow his hair long or grow a nice beard, his family is behind him to cut his hair or shave his beard.
Not only it is difficult for a man to do what he wants but it is against the norms of society. A man has been put up with so many social responsibilities that it is impossible for him to escape from them. Where women have been freed from many old responsibilities, men are still carrying the burden. Men are considering it to be their utmost duty to protect women because of their inherent nature built upon protector syndrome.
In this process of indoctrination, men tend to develop hypocritical behavior. In one scene, Siras denies food because the reporter touched it as latter was a non-vegetarian. In spite of the fact, that he himself loved a non-Hindu man, he could not come out of his deeply rooted conservative attitude which was sowed inside him.
Today, every man carries a lot of responsibility of protecting religion, nation, culture and other living species. While many of my male friends are fighting with other men for their language rights, saving their religion, respect for the nation, I hardly see women in these fights. This may be because of the fact that they have understood – they need to live for themselves. It is the reason, you will hear people talking about women rights everywhere.
Men are busy with their own stupid logic dying for social responsibilities. There is a psychology behind this attitude of men too. Men love fighting with other men, making fun of them and insult them publicly. And when they get to see this opportunity, they leave no stone unturned in encashing same.
While a few young men are going MGTOW (Men Going Their Own Way) and living a happy and relaxed life, many have still tied themselves to conservative ideology and continue living in an abused and stressed lifestyle.
Picture Credit: Gregorio Puga Bailón / Flickr