Indian entrepreneurs chase the ‘pink rupee’

NEW DELHI, May 30, 2010 (AFP) – Sanjay Malhotra, the owner of an Indian travel company, knows his target market — so he seeks out and recruits gay-friendly guides, taxi drivers and hotel managers. “Nobody who works for me laughs or passes a silly remark if two men are obviously partners. They treat gays as anyone else because I have hand-picked these people,” he said.

Malhotra’s company, Indjapink, is a bold venture offering custom-designed travel packages for gay men who are keen to explore India but who are often victims of what he calls “cheap abuse and insults.”

“We identify the needs of gay travellers,” he said. “People who look after our clients are all aware of and respect their sexual preference, ensuring they can travel without fear of discrimination.”

In a landmark ruling by the Delhi High Court last year judges said that a ban on homosexual acts, in place since British colonial times, was discriminatory and unconstitutional.

Gay advocacy and human rights groups were delighted, but homosexuality still carries a massive stigma in India, and the court ruling triggered protests from Hindu, Muslim and Christian groups who denounced same-sex relationships as against divine