The month gone by was not just when India observed its 70th Independence Day, but also when the Honourable Supreme Court of India delivered a hat-trick of judgments that befitted this milestone. The court upheld the right to privacy as a Fundamental Right, outlawed instant triple talaq and punished a rapist god man.
Looking back, one can’t help but feel a moment of pride that the Varta webzine completed four years in this very month (on August 1). And towards the very end of the month, on August 28, I witnessed two events in Kolkata that underscored the essence of independence that much more.
Pictures can speak for themselves. All that I will share is that the main photograph captures Civilian Welfare Foundation’s annual walk in Kolkata to celebrate the cause of the Paralympics. This year’s walk in South Kolkata attracted nearly 300 participants, including a number of para-athletes who won medals for India in the Paralympics held last year in Rio de Janeiro. Photo credit: Pawan Dhall
The second shot (courtesy Samanwoy Photography) is a moment from Sapphire Creations Dance Company’s ballet Alien Flowers, which was staged at Madhusudan Mancha. This ballet is a reincarnation of The Alien Flower, reputed to be India’s first contemporary dance creation to depict same-sex love. Sapphire Creations first performed the ballet way back in 1996 in Kolkata.
The performance that I saw this year was ever more evocative and representative of the spectrum of genders and sexualities. It was also a heady dose of nostalgia – memories of how the ballet added spark to the early years of queer activism in Kolkata. Recounting that experience will be another story.