Hyderabad: Amendments to the Section 377 will not help in clarify issues related to surrogacy for same sex couples. Although the law will set it going, it will still be a grey area, said Sujatha Rao at Hyderabad Literary Festival on Friday.
Sujatha Rao, author of ‘Do We Care: India’s Health System’ and former secretary in the Union ministry of Health was speaking at a panel discussion titled ‘Health of Indian health system’. The co-panelist for the talk, Anindita Majumdar, who has been researching on commercial surrogacy, said, “I have seen many same sex couples who say that they are first looking for acceptance and only then can they move on to bringing up a child. It is not as easy as it is abroad where same sex partners can go in for surrogacy.”
The discussion revolved around how surrogacy is a taboo in India — about the effect it has on biological parents and the children born from surrogacy. The panelists agreed that the government should keep a watch over surrogacy cases, but it should not grow to a level where bureaucracy enters the health-care system. “The recent decision to ban condom ads during a certain time slot will prove costly. We cannot let matters of health take a backseat,” said Sujatha Rao.
The discussion was well-received by many members of the audience who welcomed the idea of safe surrogacy.
The other key panel discussion for the day was titled ‘How India Became a Republic’ where the main speaker was Ornit Shani, the author of ‘How India Became Democratic Citizenship’ and the ‘Making of a Universal Franchise’. The discussion revolved around the mindset of voters, citizenship rules and the difference between elections held in Colonial times and today, among other themes.
Ms Shani said that elections nowadays have a lot more diversity as opposed to the colonial times.
To a question from the audience about 86 per cent of electorate being illiterate and yet expected to vote during the first few elections, she said, “Voters then were probably illiterate, but more aware.”
Spain and Telangana add a new chapter
The eighth edition of the Hyderabad Literary Fest, often described as the ‘Festival with a Heart’ began on Friday with Spain being the focus country this year. Booths promoting Spanish literature and a blend of Telangana and Spanish culture were showcased at Hyder-abad Public School. Students mingled with academics and subject experts to take full advantage of the fact that the literary fest is being held in a school campus. Eduardo Sanchez Moreno, deputy head of mission from embassy of Spain said they were honoured to be part of the Hyderabad literary fest and would love to return the favour by welcoming Indian students to Spain. “It gives us great joy to embrace the cultural differences of both countries.”