Sunday, December 27, 2015

Queer reasons for bunking school reunions - a conversation

Vartanama, Dec '15
By Pawan Dhall

Graphic credit: Pawan Dhall
Vidya: Look, your school batch mates are organizing another reunion. There’s a Facebook post. You shouldn’t miss it this year!

Sameer: I’m still not sure I want to attend it. These days, too strong a dose of nostalgia doesn’t quite agree with me.

Vidya: But some of them were your fast friends, and you don’t tire of remembering your teachers.

Sameer: Yes, they were all important people in my life – my best friend from the seventh till the 10th standard who helped me realize I too could be a chatterbox, the guy with whom I got into an ink splattering-fight, the mathematics wizards in class, mates from my neighbourhood who went swimming with me, students who so often denied me the first rank, even those who borrowed my notes and never returned them on time . . .

Common cause, kiss of freedom in Kolkata pride!

Insight, Clickhappy! Dec '15
By Prosenjit Pal and Pawan Dhall

Photo credits: Prosenjit Pal, unless mentioned otherwise

The ‘14th Kolkata Rainbow Pride Walk’ on December 13, 2015 was many things for many people – an expression of not just queer pride but also solidarity with diverse social causes. Demanding intolerance for social exclusion of any kind, it broke new ground with participation by many youth and student groups and a ‘Hok Chumban’ / ‘Kiss of Love’ campaign at the end to protest moral policing anywhere and everywhere. While the walk route took Pawan Dhall down memory lane to 1999 (the year of the ‘1st Kolkata Rainbow Pride Walk’), Prosenjit Pal celebrated his very first queer pride walk in his home town with camera in hand.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Sustainable enough?

Happenings, Policy Matters, Dec '15
Sarika Kar warns that the ambitious Global Goals for Sustainable Development (2016-30) mandated by the United Nations may well miss out on addressing crucial sexual and reproductive health concerns

Kolkata, November 17, 2015: With 2016 knocking on the door, where do we stand as women? Sometimes one feels no less removed in time from that of one’s mother’s. Many women these days are financially independent and may be single, but the world around has not changed much. One is still surrounded by walls of fear and apprehensions – walking alone after 9 pm in most cities is a challenge, uncomfortable questions about one’s single status never seem to end, trying doubly hard to prove our intelligent worth at the workplace – the list is a long one and of course, also includes more direct or physical forms of discrimination and violence – rape, molestation, domestic violence, female foeticide . . . we still need to make advances on a lot many crucial fronts, never mind the technological leaps forward!

Graphic source:

An inferno named desire

Poetry, Dec '15
By owais

Photo credit: Vahista Dastoor

Source: First published in, written June 12, 2008

owais calls himself the ‘sucker for love’ – for knowingly, he not only trusts, but lives on that rainbow which does not actually exist.

Vahista Dastoor wields the camera to get her point across when she is not documenting child rights, mental health or gender related issues.

Taking on Section 377 persecution

Advice - Rights and Laws, Dec '15
By Kaushik Gupta

Reader queries

I’m a writer and need help for an article on legal issues concerning lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. I heard of an incident before 2009, that is, when the legal status of homosexuality was the same as today after the December 11, 2013 verdict of the Supreme Court of India on Section 377, Indian Penal Code. At that time, a young lesbian couple was dragged by their parents to a District Magistrate. The two women, both adults, were living in a flat, away from their parents, and both were pursuing respective jobs. Their parents took the help of cops to catch them and despite their unwillingness, the District Magistrate forced them to return to their parental homes.