NEW DELHI: It’s pretty fanciful to know that the man who is considered to be the progenitor of modern day computer, a mojo which everyone owns and swears by some of these decades, fell to one of the most ridiculous and antiquated follies of the lawmakers---the buggery law.

Alan Turing, the champion Morse code breaker, was a homosexual and had been given the choice between imprisonment and probation, he chose the latter. The probation came with a condition that he must go through chemical castration, which he duly and disgracefully did go for.

One of the most celebrated movie of the year, and the ‘apple’ of every critic’s eye, is one ‘Imitation Games’, a biopic based on Turing’s fables deciphering of German messages, which shortened the bloody war by whole two years. Although this writer has not seen the film yet, one feels compelled to write about the grotesque episode which cast an ominous shadow on a career which otherwise would have remained blindingly resplendent.

Turing was incriminated under Section 11 of the ‘Criminal Law Amendment Act,1885’ for keeping homosexual liaison with a 19 year old unemployed man Arnold Murray. He pleaded guilty to the crime and was subjected to the injection of oestrogen, which rendered him impotent.

“No doubt I shall emerge from it all a different man, but quite who I’ve not found out”, were the words Turing uttered after the treatment, which lie somewhere between the barren stretch of desperation and sunlit garden of hope.

Turing was convicted in 1952, and was given an official pardon from Queen only in 2014, for the “gross indecencies” he had committed 62 year back. He committed suicide two year after his conviction by ingesting cyanide, a half-bitten apple found by his bedside, which, it is believed was spiked by the poison.

Steve Jobs once admitted that logo of his company, a slightly bitten apple, is a homage to the genius. But, the story of the apple logo may be just as made up as the story of ‘bunny’ logo of Playboy magazine, which was grounded in the sentimental attachment for a bunny pillow Hefner had in childhood, which got burned. Not incredible, but hard to believe.

Oscar Wilde, known more for his decadent novel Picture of Dorian Gray than his Happy Prince, a kids’ story, was also imprisoned for the same depraved act in the year 1895.

But quite unlike Turing, and quite like his mien, Wilde didn’t go down without a fight. He obfuscated the issue with his eloquent parries as long as could, so much so, it is said that as he earned more laughs in the court-room, and the prosecutor earned more legal points.

When asked by the Prosecutor that what’s that love that dare not speak its name, Wilde rebutted in a disarming loquaciousness that "The love that dare not speak its name" in this century is such a great affection of an elder for a younger man as there was between David and Jonathan, such as Plato made the very basis of his philosophy, and such as you find in the sonnets of Michelangelo and Shakespeare.

It is that deep spiritual affection that is as pure as it is perfect. It dictates and pervades great works of art, like those of Shakespeare and Michelangelo, and those two letters of mine, such as they are.

It is in this century misunderstood, so much misunderstood that it may be described as "the love that dare not speak its name," and on that account of it I am placed where I am now. It is beautiful, it is fine, it is the noblest form of affection.

There is nothing unnatural about it. It is intellectual, and it repeatedly exists between an older and a younger man, when the older man has intellect, and the younger man has all the joy, hope and glamour of life before him. That it should be so, the world does not understand. The world mocks at it, and sometimes puts one in the pillory for it”.

Turing and Wilde, one with a genius for numbers and other for words, were impaled on the twin-prong pike of stupidity and intolerance, for a crime which in our times is way less despicable than it was in their times. The Act which was invoked in both the cases for their indictment, scrapped in 1967, but the history of these instances of rank voyeurism on the part of the State still hold anecdotal qualities.

Though we have come a long way from last century’s medievalism, law and society still have to make many more amends to embrace those who prefer the ‘depraved’ and ‘bestial’ way of life, so that another brilliant something doesn’t fall from the ranks into the abyss of disrepute.