Saturday, May 28, 2016

Queer readings to remember Rituparno Ghosh

Happenings (Preview), May '16
Varta previews an upcoming event in homage to the late Rituparno Ghosh

Kolkata, May 28, 2016: Three days from today – on May 31, 2016 – art personality Sujoy Prosad Chatterjee will pay homage to Rituparno Ghosh, a queer icon in the world of cinema, through dramatized readings of queer writings from across the globe. The event will take place at the Ahuja Museum for Arts, Lee Road, Bhawanipur, from 7.30-8.30 pm.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Of unusual love angles (and pickles)

Vartanama, May '16
By Pawan Dhall

Photo and artwork credit: Pawan Dhall
Labels and identities have a habit of getting in the way. So if I were to put the word ‘polyamory’ in the title of this article, many readers may conclude that it is about what Wikipedia explains as the “practice of, or desire for, intimate relationships involving more than two people, with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved”.

Wikipedia goes on to further say that polyamory is “consensual, ethical, and responsible non-monogamy”. So that should clarify that polyamory is not quite the same as polygamy (the practice of having more than one spouse at the same time, many times without the knowledge of the spouses involved, or even with the knowledge but not consent based on equal terms).

Pehchān conundrum

Insight, May '16
Pehchān, an ambitious civil society-government partnership to provide sexual and reproductive health, HIV, legal aid and social security services to nearly 4,50,000 sexual and gender minority people in India, has drawn to a close. Its scale and implementation attracted both praise and criticism, but the completion of its term will leave behind a vacuum feel Anupam Hazra and Souvik Ghosh of SAATHII, a national NGO that implemented the programme in eastern India

Solidarity event organized by Dinajpur Notun Aalo Society at
Jibonmore, Islampur in Uttar Dinajpur district
Kolkata, May 2016: Even as we write this, West Bengal is counting votes cast for a Legislative Assembly election, and by the end of this month a ‘new’ state government may well be in place. But what will be new about it from the public health perspective? Will the five-year cycle of polls yield fresh hope for some of the most marginalized communities like transgender women, Hijras and men who have sex with men (MSM)? Barring one or two political parties, none seem to have included their socio-economic and associated concerns in the election manifestos. One party fielded two transgender women as candidates from prominent seats in Kolkata, but how respectful was such inclusion is open to debate (the candidates withdrew from the contest in protest against what they felt was tokenism and a publicity stunt).

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Church coalition mulls rainbow inclusion

Happenings, May '16
Pawan Dhall participated in a meeting on gender and sexuality diversity called by the National Council of Churches in India, a forum of Protestant and Orthodox Churches in India

Dr. George Zachariah, Akkai Padmashali and Fr. Philip Kuruvilla
at the launch of Disruptive Faith, Inclusive Communities:
Church and Homophobia. 
Photo credit: Pawan Dhall
Bangalore, April 20, 2016: “’I hope you never worship a God who makes you feel that He hates the person you have become. May you never grow up denying every feeling that comes from your heart. May you be able to visit your place of worship without fear that you will be rejected, judged, or have to listen to teachings that call your life wrong. I hope that nobody ever uses the name of their God to let you know that the world's salvation depends on whether you follow a loosely interpreted book or your evil desires’. These lines reflect the pain of the Key Affected People, and their struggle to find fellowship and solidarity within the church.  Constructing people as ‘other’ who refuse to submit their lives to the dominant Christian norms of what it means to be human is the approach of almost all Christian communities. We are gathered here in the true spirit of repentance and conversion to realize our sin of self-righteousness and to dream together the birthing of a Church – an inclusive community of hospitality, fellowship, and solidarity.”

Does disability need divinity?

Happenings, May '16
Shampa Sengupta reports on a consultation titled ‘From Handicapped to Divyang: Politics of Identity’ held at Jadavpur University, Kolkata earlier this year

Consultation at Jadavpur University. Photo credit: Sruti Disability Rights Centre

Kolkata, March 16, 2016: In December last year, in a radio show named Mann Ki Baat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi referred to persons with disabilities as ‘divyang’ (divine body). This generated much debate in the country, and in light of this, the School of Media, Communication and Culture, Jadavpur University and Sruti Disability Rights Centre teamed up today to organize a consultation on the ‘politics of naming’ persons with disabilities.

‘Man-ghat’ ahead! Cover your eyes

Clickhappy! May '16
Suchandra Das was candid behind the camera at Dashashwamedh Ghat in Varanasi – perhaps to compensate for the shame felt by the women, or compliment the candidness among the men