“tṛtīya prakṛti” (Third Nature)
The title of this series of images comes from the Kamasutra which mentions homosexuality as acts by people belonging to a “third nature” or of a third sex (Tritiya Prakriti).
Through this series of images – inspired by art of the renaissance era, I attempt to express the fact that Homosexuality in India is not a western influence from the colonial era. As the Kamasutra shows, there used to be a relatively greater degree of social acceptance of homosexuality in India. While it was not entirely accepted socially, homosexuality in Hinduism, unlike Christianity or Islam, did not result in severe punishments.
Ancient Hindu scriptures such as the “Atharveda” have mentions of various monetary punishments for sexual transgressions including those of the heterosexual kinds. The “Manusmriti” talks about human virtues and societal laws which, among other things, were requirements to be a righteous person. It mentions homosexual acts alongside petty crimes, constituting of punishments aimed towards cleansing the soul. Heterosexual acts such as cross caste adultery (which is today widely accepted and considered normal) or rape or abductions had far more serious punishments than homosexual transgressions.
In a country where people wholeheartedly revere Gods in their transgendered forms, can we take a cue from our own glorious past and change our sentiments towards the LGBT community?