Same - Sex Love in India  -  A Literary history

Same - Sex Love in India - A Literary history

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Author: Ruth Vanita
Saleem Kidwai/
Translator(s)/ Editors(s): Ruth Vanita/Saleem Kidwai
Publisher: Penguin
Year: 2008
Language: English
Pages: 479
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9780143102069


Same-Sex Love in India offers an eloquent range of writings spanning more than two thousand years of Indian literature. Drawn from Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist and contemporary fictional sources these writings convincingly demonstrate that same-sex love has flourished, evolved and been embraced in various forms since ancient times.

From the Mahabharata to modern writers and artists such as Ismat Chughtai and Bhupen Khakhar, the eclectic and expressive selections in this anthology include excerpts from devotional books, legal and erotic treatises, story cycles, medieval histories and biographies to modern novels, short stories, letters, memoirs, plays and poems. This pioneering book is invaluable for gender studies, for Indian history, and for all readers interested in the fascinating development of homoerotic traditions and writings.


‘This enchanting collection is a tribute to an ancient civilization which has always cherished love defies conventional ideas of sanity and normality’
-Ashis Nandy

The alarm rang. He got out of bed. He wore nothing. I felt his sleepy classic head And long-limbed body stir my quiescent heart. I’d thought that I was free. Wrong from the start. I found I Loved him utterly instead.
-From ‘Guest’ by Vikram Seth

‘Ruth Vanita and Saleem Kidwai have offered readers a vast and sumptuous feast. This rich collection, accompanied by the authors’ informative commentary, is a powerful corrective to the often expressed opinion that the Indian tradition is either unaware of or openly hostile to same-sex love.’
-Robert Goldman, Sarah Kailath Professor of India Studies, University of California at Berkeley

‘This remarkable volume brings together an encyclopedic collection of writings on the subjects of love between women and love between men in India from ancient times to the present. Vanita and Kidwai’s introductory essays to each section are works of outstanding scholarship. This book will long be considered the definitive anthology of documents on same-sex love in India.’
-Lillian Faderman, author of To Believe in Women: What Lesbians Have Done For America –A History

‘This path-breaking volume presents the English-reading public with an imposing array of texts relating to an important but little-studied aspect of Indian life and literature.’
-Sumit Guha, Professor of History, Rutagers University


Preface to the New Edition

1. Introduction: Ancient Indian Materials
2. Vyasa’s Mahabharata: ‘Sikhandin’s Sex Change’ (Sanskrit)
3. Manikantha Jataka (Pali)
4. Vishnu Sharma’s Panchatantra (Sanskrit)
5. Vatsyayana’s Kamasutra (Sanskrit)

6. Introduction: Medieval Materials in the Sanskritic Tradition
7. Bhagvata Purana: The Embrace of Shiva and Vishnu (Sanskrit)
8. Skanda Purana: Sumedha and Somavan (Sanskrit)
9. Shiva Purana: The Birth of Kartikeya (Sanskrit)
10. Shiva Purana: The Birth of Ganesh (Sanskrit)
11. Somadeva Bhatta’s Kathasaritsagara: Kalingasena and Somaprabha (Sanskrit)
12. Padma Purana: Arjuni (Sanskrit
13. Ayyappa and Vavar: celibate Friends
14. Krittivasa Ramayana: The Birth of Bhagiratha (Bengali)
15. Jagannath Das (Oriya)

16. Introduction: Medieval Materials in the Perso-Urdu Tradition
17. Amir Khusro (Persian and Hindvi)
18. Ziauddin Barani: The Khalijis in Love (Persian)
19. The Mirror of Secrets: ‘Akhi’ Jamshed Rajgii (Persian)
20. Baburnama (Turkish)
21. ‘Mutribi’ Samarqandi: The Fair and the Dark Boys (Persian)
22. Haqiqat al-Fuqara: Poetic Biography of ‘Madho Lal’ Hussayn (Persian), with Hussayn’s poems (Punjabi)
23. Sarmad (Persian)
24. Muhammad Akram ‘Ghanimat’ Kanjohi: Love’s Sorcery (Urdu)
25. Najmuddin Shah Mubarak ‘Abru’: Advice to a Beloved (Urdu)
26. Siraj Aurangabadi: The Garden of Delusion (Urdu)
27. Mir Abdul Hai ‘Tiban’: The Lover Who Looked like a Beloved (Urdu)
28. Dargah Quli Khan: Portrait of a City (Persian)
29. Mir Taqi ‘Mir’: Autobiography and Poems (Persian and Urdu)

30. Introduction: Modern Indian Materials
31. Nazir Akbarabadi (Urdu)
32. Rekhti Poetry: Love between Women (Urdu)
33. Shri Ramakrishna Paramahansa (Bengali)
34. Bankim Chandra Chatterjee: Indira (Bengali)
35. The Kamasutra in the Twentieth Century
36. Gopabandhu Das: Poems Written in Prison (Oriya)
37. The New Homophobia: Ugra’s Chocolate (Hindi)
38. M.K. Gandhi: Reply to a Query (English)
39. Amrita Sher-Gil: Letters (English)
40. Hakim Muhammad Yusuf Hasan: Do Shiza (Urdu)
41. ‘Firaq’ Gorakhpuri: Poet vs. ‘Critic’ (Urdu)
42. Sharada: ‘Farewell’ (Hindi)
43. Suryakant Tripathi ‘Nirmala’: Kulli Bhaat (Hindi)
44. Josh Malihabadi: ‘There Will Never be Another Like You’(Urdu)
45. Ismat Chughtai: ‘Terhi Lakeer’ (Urdu)
46. Rajendra Yadav: ‘Waiting’ (Hindi)
47. Bhupen Khakhar: A Story (Gujarati)
48. Kishori Charan Das: ‘Sarama’s Romance’ (Oriya)
49. Crime of Passion (English)
50. Shobhana Siddique: ‘Full to the Brim’ (Hindi)
51. V.T. Nandakumar: Two Girls (Malayalam)
52. Vijay Dan Detha: ‘A Double Life’ (Rajasthani)
53. Vikram Seth: Poems (English)
54. Nirmala Despande: ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’ (Marathi)
55. Vijay Tendulkar: Mitra’s Story (Marathi)
56. Sunil Gangopadhyay: Those Days (Bengali)
57. H.S. Shivaprakash: Shakespeare Dreamship (Kannada)
58. Inez Vere Sullas: Poems (English)
59. Hoshang Merchant: Poems for Vivan (English)
60. Ambai: ‘One Person and Another’ (Tamil)
61. Sukirat: ‘Exile’ (Punjabi)

Translators and Contributors