'Varta' Webzine

Bioscope of your intimate dreams!

  • Insight Sep '16

    Activism cornerstones

    By Mark Heywood, Kaushik Gupta

    Irrespective of context, Mark Heywood’s article Activism and Civil Society: What it is and What it’s Not will serve as a good ‘refresher’ for activists of all hues.

  • Qatha: Recalling dark room discoveries and more (part 2)

    By Pawan Dhall

    Varta brings you the ‘Queer Kolkata Oral History Project’, an initiative to document five decades of queer lives in Kolkata (1960-2000). Our aim in this project is to go back in...

  • Growing up in a ‘mental hospital’

    By Pallav Bonerjee, Subhojit Banerjea

    There used to be a time when I wondered what it would be like to reside in a mental health hospital for a while.

  • A joke

    By Rajib Chakrabarti

    A poet’s rebuff to ableism and homophobia

  • The photograph is of a full moon shining brightly, seen through the branches of a nearly bare tree in the night sky. It occupies the centre of the frame with the broad and thinner branches of the tree forming a mesh across the sky. But none cross the image of the moon, which lies intact within an irregular pentagon formed by the branches. The thinner branches growing off the main ones have scanty leaves on them. Even though the sides of the picture have a black tinge, the light of the moon illuminates the centre of the photograph creating a serene environment. Photo credit: Vahista Dastoor
    Vartanama Aug '16

    Welcome to the new Varta website!

    By Pawan Dhall, Vahista Dastoor

    Hasn’t the subject of gender and sexuality been done to death? Isn’t it all over the media in ever more tantalizing formats?

  • This photograph is symbolic in relation to the article to which it is associated. It shows the light of the sun, occupying the centre of the top half of the photograph, spread across the horizon past a hill. The sunlight dazzles through a break in dark clouds spread across the sky. Two persons (gender indeterminate) to the right side of the picture climb the hill, one behind the other, while a third person (gender indeterminate again) is on the left, higher up on the hill and much ahead of the other two. The sunlight and the peak of the hill, covered with small shrubs and grasses, seem to collide with each other. One of the persons on the right side, the one climbing ahead of the two, has a white shirt and dark sweater on and carries a long roll of paper in their left hand and a bag slung on their left shoulder. The person behind them wears a chequered shirt and carries a black bag on their left shoulder. A giant red halo formed by the sunlight playing against the camera lens encircles the three individuals in the picture. The photograph seems to convey a sense of an ‘uphill battle’, something that characterizes the struggles of the Indian queer movement as well. The dazzling sun in the horizon, the light of knowledge and liberty, beckons. Photo credit: Hari Chettri

    India’s abdication in UN queer vote

    By Avinaba Dutta, Hari Chettri

    The 70th Independence Day could have had new meaning for queer people in India, but for India’s abstention on a recent UNHRC resolution to protect the rights of queer people....

  • Quote: There was one boy in our locality, one boy he was very interested in sex, and whenever his mother, father was always out on tour, when his mother would go somewhere, he would call all of us, there would be about eight or nine people in the room – there was a room and we used to play dark room.

    Qatha: Recalling dark room discoveries and more (part 1)

    By Pawan Dhall

    Varta brings you the ‘Queer Kolkata Oral History Project’, an initiative to document five decades of queer lives in Kolkata (1960-2000). Our aim in this project is to go back in...

  • Quote: Obviously the best way to deal with your concern is to ask the person directly what they require and how. It is a common misconception that if a person is blind or deaf, they can’t take their own decisions . . . This shows our non-acceptance of the personhood of a disabled person.

    Disability etiquette

    By Shampa Sengupta

    Shampa Sengupta answers a reader query on dos and don'ts in helping people with disabilities

  • This photograph has been taken near the venue of the ‘21st International AIDS Conference’ held at Durban, South Africa from July 18-22, 2016. A large red ribbon, the symbol of HIV and AIDS awareness, stands on a semi-spherical structure under a bright blue sky covered with white clouds. The semi-sphere has colourful engravings of red, blue and green, with much smaller round Braille semi-spheres at various places. Closest to the structure is a park with some visitors sitting on benches; a man in a red shirt can be seen leaning across the red and ochre boundary of the park, while someone wearing a blue shirt and white pants can be seen in a distance to the left. Going further left, a two-storeyed parking enclosed space with red skillion roofs and faded yellow walls with a capital ‘P’ sign can be seen. To the further right of the park, a walkway with a netted roof runs across to the centre supported by thin black pillars at similar intervals. Behind all of these, lie sky-rocketing buildings, five to the left and three to the right. Photo credit: Pawan Dhall
    Clickhappy! Aug '16

    Lens on AIDS 2016

    By Pawan Dhall

    Pawan Dhall does a photo round-up of the ‘21st International AIDS Conference’ held at Durban, South Africa from July 18-22, 2016 The international biennial on HIV (human immuno-deficiency virus) and AIDS...

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