Celebration of diversity: Second Hindu College Pride parade conveys a sense of hope, freedom

The parade offered a space for people to freely talk about and express their sexuality.

ByKalrav Vashishtha
Celebration of diversity: Second Hindu College Pride parade conveys a sense of hope, freedom
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Amid cheers and the shouting of slogans seeking “Azadi” from the shackles of heteronormativity and homophobia, Hindu College witnessed the second edition of its Pride parade on September 18. The parade, organised by the Women’s Development Cell of the Delhi University college with help from its various societies, saw participation by around 700 people from the campus and outside. The first edition of the parade was organised last year after the Supreme Court decriminalised homosexuality in the country. 

The 2019 parade kicked off with Abstractions, the Fine Arts Society, opening free stalls for face painting. This went on from 10 am to 2 pm, and by the end of it the whole college, it seemed, had been rainbow-painted. Thereafter, Aarambh, the Western Dance Society, and Ibtida, the Dramatics Society, held their jamming sessions. The crowd danced to the tunes of songs such as “Pyaar Hua Iqraar Hua” and “Jeene ke hain Chaar Din”, and frequently shouted the slogan “Humko Chahiye Azadi”. We want freedom! 

The parade was followed by an open mic event, where members of the LGBTQ+ community recited poetry celebrating their identity, and sang and danced. 

Though Pride parades are celebrations, they fundamentally function as a form of protest to sensitise people about alternative sexualities and genders. Yet, at times, the Hindu College parade delved into a display of heteronormativity, which means believing in the idea of heterosexuality and the normativity of gender roles to the extent that any contradictory sexual or gender identities seem abnormal.

From the choice of songs — “Doraemon”, “Saki Saki” — to seemingly unrelated poetry and slogans such as “Jai Mata Di”, the event, some participants argued, carried shades of Straight Pride. In this context, they argued, heterosexual people should be wary of taking too much space in such settings and try to create a comfort zone for their queer counterparts. 

“The shifting of roles and acting of voices through mouthpieces does become important in a Pride parade but it must be undertaken — by the participants — in a way that does not undermine the voices that need hearing,” said Kartik Chauhan, a second-year student at Hindu College. “What matters to me is that while there were chants of ‘Jai Mata Di’, there were those who addressed and acknowledged the absurdity of such chants. That gives me reassurance. I hope the next Pride parade is even more diverse and inclusive — and something tells me it will be.” 

Deepika Sharma, president of the college’s Women’s Development Cell, said, “Pride parade at Hindu College has brought people together and is helping destigmatise and normalise the idea of homosexuality. There are some inherent issues with how people perceive the idea but I think it is a part of the transition process. It’s through this phase that we’ll achieve an undiscriminating society.” 

The parade did offer a space for people to freely talk about and express their sexuality. So much so that one person chose the open mic event to come out. There was a group of students that was giving free hugs to everyone. As Kartik Nangia, a drag performer, noted, “Pride parades are a very healthy and safe setting for gay people to be themselves. You need not fear that people will react in an unfriendly way.” Nangia has been performing drag for a few months now and finds it liberating. 

Someone sang a few lines of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, conveying the sense of hope and optimism generated by the parade.

Hum mehkoomun ke paaon tale

Ye dharti dhar dhar dhadkegi

Aur ahl-e-hakam ke sar oopar

Jab bijli kar kar kadkegi

Hum dekhenge.

(Under the feet of the oppressed 

This earth will quake  

And over the head of the ruler 

when Lightning will thunder 

We shall see)

Cover image credits: Kartik Chauhan  


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