Perhaps the best session in the recent Kala Ghoda festival was “ Queering the pitch”, a discussion about gay and lesbian literature in
Maya Sharma is a feminist, a lesbian, and is an activist in the Indian Women’s Movement.
The panelists were articulate, came from different backgrounds, and above all, they didn't have an agenda. In fact, they have gone beyond agendas. Creative people, each one of them, they went about their chosen jobs as you are I would, teaching, writing, making films, whatever.Moderator Vikram Doctor kept the conversational ball rolling
Raja Rao emphasized the need to look at gay literature as literature, and not a propaganda. It has to pass all the tests of a good story or a poem. He will never sacrifice the quality of writing for an agenda. Sachin agreed with him. He also mentioned that unlike straight literature, the gay characters in gay lit. remain unrepentant and happy till the end, without any feeling of guilt, or a desire to change. The songs of friendship always had gay overtones according to Prof. R.Raja Rao. " Yeh dosti, hum nahin chhodenge" according to him sounds like gay love, and it got a strong reaction from the audience which was quite amusing.
The most interesting aspect of this evening were the audience. For some reason they felt compelled to disclose their sexual orientation. “Hello, I am Rahul, I am straight…Hi, I am Nisha. I am straight but I have many gay friends …” etc, which sounded queerer that the queers sitting on the stage. And yes! That’s what they like to be called, and not the politically correct Gay. Its not a derogatory term anymore. According to Maya Sharma, what’s wrong with being queer? She likes being quirky!
I completely agree with Maya.