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Deepti Naval, Bollywood Actress-Director, Painter & Poet, on My Magical Palace

November 20th, 2013 | No Comments

Deepti Naval“Sexual preference is not only about personal freedom, it is also about social freedom.  …. juxtaposed to a Hindu-Muslim love story……the book brings in front of the reader the issue of choice and freedom” – Deepti Naval, Actress-Director, Painter and Poet

The fundamental rights of human beings to physically move about freely, have access to basic necessities of life such as shelter, food and healthcare, and to have access to education and the right to work for fair pay, are proudly touted in so called “modern, civilized and enlightened” societies.

And yet so many of these very societies have very strict rules and laws, that are mercilessly enforced, when it comes to the right of the individual to express himself or herself in love, relationship, marriage, art, literature … We humans have divided our communities based on religion, politics, economics, sexual identity, education, gender, gender roles, occupation, language, caste, origin and in so many other ways, which then give us the justification to persecute minorities based on  the superiority of our belief systems, which is aptly called the “tyranny of the majority”.

Deepti Naval rightly points out that sexual preference or orientation is not a matter of personal freedom alone. It is a powerful statement about social freedom and evolution of social consciousness of a community.

Excerpt from My Magical Palace:

“I flipped through the pages, my heart racing. It was a book about sex and Barbara Golding was an expert on the subject. I had to find out what she had said about homosexuals. Surely an expert would say that it couldn’t be dirty to be a homo? …

Words leapt out at me from the page: ‘Homosexuality is an abnormal condition … Early signs of homosexuality are obsession with a friend who is of the same sex and a lack of desire and interest in the opposite sex. It is treatable by electric shock and aversion therapy. Homosexuals live on the fringe and are very unhappy people. Parents are advised to start treating this condition early in childhood.’

I felt physically sick. I had been right to hide it from everyone after all. I had an abnormal condition. … Would I be given electric shock therapy? Certainly I would be jailed—what shame that would bring to my family! Reading the words over and over again, I felt that familiar sense of despair and terror …  I could be expelled for this—or worse. If my parents found out, what would they do? What would their friends say?” 

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