I don’t know how things work in India, but I do know that in the United States when groups like the Parents Television Council or Media Research Center attack something in pop culture, it only helps fuel consumption. So I’m curious to see how things play out in the good old Bh?rat Ga?ar?jya, where the 1960s Pakistani pulp fiction title Challawa has been deemed too hot for the Jaipur Literary Festival. Or at least too hot to be read aloud, The Australian reports, because of all the lesbian detective storylines that would, according to the festival’s director, violate the “sensitivities of the audience.” Which is adorable: An eight-year-old book series revolving around a lesbian (and written by a man) is celebrated in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, but it’s too hot for India? What’s all the fuss?


The English extract from the Challawa serial – which remains a household name in Pakistan, albeit one mentioned in abashed tones – is the first glimpse into the lusty world of Pakistani pulp fiction.

In the expurgated passages Khan was to read this week, Bano scans for prey on a schoolbus before settling on a fresh-faced 15-year-old “whose breasts met my preference of size and shape”.

“I casually put my hand on her thigh and asked; ‘Where do you live, baby?’ ”

“Nasirabad,” she responded shyly.

“I liked her shyness. Bold and extroverted girls are usually more delicious in bed, but it’s difficult to get them there. The shy ones are easy to seduce.” And on it goes.

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