‘Homosexuality is an uncontrollable feeling, like poetry’

AMU

"I am in the news every day these days... Friends update me on day-to-day news," says Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) professor Srinivas Ramachandra Siras, who finds himself in the eye of a storm after being suspended for allegedly having sex with another man on the campus.

Siras was issued a 'chargesheet' by the university administration on Wednesday and asked to reply to the charges against him in 10 days. After being ordered out of his quarters and told not to leave town without permission, Siras has now rented a house in Aligarh.

"I have been getting calls from various gay rights groups pledging support, and I am considering taking their offer seriously," he says.

A poet, Siras got the Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad's award for his 2002 collection, Grass Under My Feet.

"The poem, after which the book is named, talks of the loneliness of a man looking at the full moon, yearning for his lover. It could be called male-dominated poetry," he says. "The full moon represents a gay lover: all poems are about the love of one man for another," he says.

Siras, who is also the chairman of the Modern Indian Languages Department at the university, says he has never tried to hide his homosexuality. "It is an uncontrollable feeling, like poetry," he says.

His marriage lasted barely a month. "The marriage ended for other reasons. It was over before I told her about my sexuality," says Siras, adding that he first became aware of his sexual orientation when he was about 15 years old.

Siras, who hails from Nagpur, has also published a collection of seminar papers in English on comparative literature and his PhD thesis. The thesis was on 20 political novels of Marathi novelist Gajanan Tryambak Madkholkar. "It took me 10 years to complete my PhD from Nagpur University," says Siras, who, during that period (1976-1985), went on to obtain an MA in Psychology from the same university.

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