Friends, I’m writing an article on the life stories of individuals who used to live in eastern India in the early 1990s or still do, and were influenced by or engaged in the early queer movements of those years.
The idea is to assess what impact the movements have had on people’s lives nearly 25 years down the line, and if there are any lessons to be drawn for the future. At the very least the article will try to document a few micro stories of queer individuals and their allies for whatever the worth of such narratives.
I started work on the article in August and since then have been interviewing people both in and outside Kolkata. But unfortunately the number of interviews I can conduct can only be so much. So this is where you come in.
Would you like to share a story with me for the article? Personal reflections, third person stories, travellogues, photographs, video clips, any archival material? You can write in with an alias if you don’t want your identity to be revealed. You can write as much or as little as you like. You could have been associated with any queer support group or any social movement at any point of time, or with none at all. You could be queer, a family member or any other ally, or somebody critical of anything ‘queer’. It is not necessary that we would have known each other at any point of time. But what is needed is an eastern India connection!
The article will also include some amount of photo and video documentation, archival research and digitization of queer community archival material.
Where the article will get published is not decided as yet. I will write it in English, try to get it translated into Bengali, Hindi and Odia, and voice recorded in all these languages for as wide a sharing as possible.
If you are interested in sharing a story, please write in to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can discuss the possibilities further. I have time till January 2018 to finish work on the article.
Note: When I say ‘queer movements’, I mean the more contemporary movements that emerged around the early 1990s. But by no means were these the ‘first’ of the queer community efforts at survival with dignity in India, especially if we look at the long histories of Hijra communities, or even what is recorded in some of the archival material on happenings in urban India in the 1950s and 1960s.
I would like to thank and acknowledge the Svran Apeejay Journalism Foundation who have provided me fellowship support for this venture.
For the English voice version of this article, please click here.
The article in question eventually turned into a book titled Out of Line and Offline: Queer Mobilizations in ’90s Eastern India which was published by Seagull Books, Kolkata in November 2019 – Editor.