Shrien Dewani is innocent: but worse than that he’s ‘gay’
When lawyers for Shrien Dewani slapepd his bisexuality on the table in a South African court they quashed the entertainment and the case against their client. Not gay, Shrien could still fancy his murdered wife Anni Dewani. We would not have his sexuality exposed by cros-examination and with get to know the ‘secret’ that allegedly drove him to fund a murder.
Writing in the Times Sathnam Sanghera looks at the sex:
As for coming out as gay when you’re Asian: I cannot even fathom the stress that might be involved. Indian society, even in Britain, is still struggling to get used to the notion of people marrying spouses of their own choosing, let alone same-sex partners. Indeed, not only is homophobia a fact of life in many Asian communities, but I have heard it claimed that homosexuality doesn’t even exist in Indian culture.
It doesn’t surprise me that Shrien Dewani kept his bisexuality hidden from his family — until he was facing a murder charge. By outing himself on the first day of his trial in South Africa, he pre-empted the prosecution’s case that he murdered because he felt trapped in his marriage…
Of the ten or so gay British Asians I know, all of them successful professionals, only one is fully “out”. Most have only come out to select trusted relatives or remain firmly in the closet. One of my oldest friends recently came out to his relatively liberal mother at the age of 39. She responded: “So what? It does not mean you cannot marry someone anyway, hunna?” He’ll be at a gay club on a Saturday night and on Sunday afternoon will be sitting in the living room at his parents’ home being introduced to yet another prospective bride over tea.
The focus is all on gay men. Who’d dare to be a lesbian?
Sanghera is shioning a light on a cultural corner. But lt’s repear the fact: Shrien Dewani is innocent.
Within this context it is not difficult to understand how and why Asian men and women can eventually struggle. Earlier this year bank worker Jasvir Ram Ginday, a 29-year-old British Punjabi from my part of the Midlands, was jailed for life for murdering his wife in a bid to stop her revealing his homosexuality. He attacked Varkha Rani, whom he married in India in a lavish ceremony attended by as many as 700 guests, in their home with a metal pipe from a vacuum cleaner, strangled her then burnt her body in a garden incinerator.
Just last week an inquest heard that Dr Nazim Mahmood, a Harley Street doctor, killed himself by jumping naked from his penthouse apartment after his Muslim mother asked him to seek “a cure” for being gay. St Pancras Coroner’s Court heard that Mahmood had told his mother he was gay and was in a 13-year relationship with his fiancée Matthew Ogston just days before his death. Apparently his mother had told him he needed to see a psychiatrist.
This is not a unquely Asian thing. Horror stories abound.