In this essay, I will explore India’s Section 377, as a case study, to analyze the effect and legacy imperialism has had within former colonial territories, such as India. In order to do so, I will draw from literary sources to first characterize male homosexual relationships within India during pre-imperial rule. Then I will transition into the second part of the essay, in which I will discuss the motivation and inception of Section 377 under British ruling; to this section, I will also be contrasting the more official imperial mandates with the histories of European writers and travelers who, upon seeking out the “East” for sexual liberation, often had varying types of relationships with local men. In the third section, I will finish by discussing the legacy of Section 377 in modern times by focusing on the apparent inversion of roles, in which newly liberated countries adopt and reintegrate the imperial penal code into their own cultural identity, while also distancing themselves from the Western “import” of homosexuality (Gupta, 2008, p. 44). By doing so, I hope to highlight the significance of homosexuality in understanding the multiple sides of imperial power relations and histories.
University of Puget Sound
Imperialism, Imperial Law, Homosexuality, India
Digital Commons Discipline
Tacoma, Washington, United States