Thought of the Day: Parmesh Shahani

“The past two decades have seen tremendous progress within the queer rights movement in India. The battle has been fought on several overlapping activist fronts, through organizations such as Sangama (Bangalore), which follows a human rights-based approach, and the Humsafar Trust (Mumbai), which focuses on health-based intervention.

This has run in parallel with the continuing legal struggle for the modification of section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which effectively criminalizes same-sex relationships. Alongside the activism, there has also been a great deal of social change, especially in cities such as Mumbai, New Delhi and Bangalore.

The Gay Bombay parties, Delhi’s Nigah Media Festival and Bangalore’s Gay Running and Breakfast (GRAB) club are just the tip of the iceberg–all big Indian cities today have vibrant, active and diverse queer scenes, the listings for which are easily available on the Web, or in some cases, in the local TimeOut. While developments such as these have taken place at a steady pace over the past two decades, 2008 could be considered the tipping point.” Parmesh Shahani, author of Gay Bombay: Globalization, Love and (Be)Longing in Contemporary India on advances made in India last year on various gay rights fronts.