The gay and lesbian writing in India.

Perhaps the best session in the recent Kala Ghoda festival was “ Queering the pitch”, a discussion about gay and lesbian literature in India. The panelists were Sachin Kundalkar, R Raj Rao, and Maya Sharma.


R RAJ RAO is a professor in the department of English, University of Pune. He is the author of several works including Nissim Ezekiel: The Authorized Biography and Yaraana: Gay Writings from India.

Sachin Kundalkar is a Pune based, really talented young gay writer and film maker, writing in Marathi.

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.


I'm impressed by the fact that Kalaghoda Festival is going from strength to strength each year. I hope to make a trip there next year to coincide with the festival for sure.
- Gopal M S
Banno said…
Looks like you've had an interesting time there. Wish I could have participated more. Well, maybe next year. I think if I were queer, I would like to be called that too, instead of gay. I have no patience with political correctness.
Banno said…
Have tagged you.

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