Pratul Bagri, February 8, 2015
In distressing news coming in from Delhi, a family has disowned their homosexual atheist son because he opted for humanities instead of science in Class 11. This is a severe case of prejudice against the arts that has plagued the Indian middle class, sociologists say.
“Saw it coming”
Ashish Jha, who will take his Class 10 exam this March, was not surprised by his family’s reaction.
“We are a middle class family, always have been,” he said. “I did not expect them to welcome my decision. The middle class is inclined towards the sciences and my parents have always been pro-engineering.”
The Jha family had accepted their son’s sexuality and religious beliefs (or lack thereof). “He has always been an atheist, always trying to find logic in faith,” said Ashish’s mother, recalling the time her son ate non-vegetarian food on a Tuesday.
Ashish’s father saw his son’s decision as a betrayal. “Is this what I get for my sacrifices? Atheism is no problem—I myself skip pooja sometimes. Hell, I don’t even give good quality oil to the shani maharaj,” he said, breaking into tears.
“He came out of the closet half a year ago and we supported him. But choosing arts instead of science is where I draw the line!” Mr. Jha said. “Neighbours have started ostracizing us. Jha ke ladke nei arts lee hai, jhadu marega, they taunt.”
Meanwhile, this incident has sparked a huge controversy in the online world. Internet users are lending their support by updating their WhatsApp and Facebook status to “Je suis Ashish.” The hashtag “ForTheLoveOfHumanities” was one of Twitter’s top trends yesterday.
Ashish is now staying at the house of a friend who describes himself as a “humanities sympathizer”. He is taking help from a pro-humanities organisation that supports people in such a situation. The organisation is also planning a pride parade to fight against such discrimination.