The queer movement in India has been adept at documenting itself. A succession of anthologies compiled by leading voices from within the movement has made available to a wider reading public the lives and longings of many of its diverse participants (Sukthankar 1999; Bhattacharyya and Bose 2005; Narrain and Bhan 2006; Narrain and Gupta 2011). Naisargi Dave’s book on queer activism in India offers something new and valuable. A book-length account of the queer political landscape with a focus on lesbian activism, this study is distinctive both for its longer temporal view and for the productively ambivalent positionality of its author. Based in Toronto where she teaches anthropology, Dave presents herself in her writing as both insider and outsider, as both participant in the groups and movements she writes about and critical observer of their everyday activity; sometimes she is neither, inhabiting the liminal position of the diasporic Indian. “Insiders” will read with amusement of her self-avowedly clumsy discovery that “lesbian sexual encounters were there to be had, often in the most unexpected of places” (50), but will also be enlightened by this nuanced cultural history of their own subjectivities. “Outsiders” will find in this book a model of an intimate ethnography by someone who does not pretend to belong.
"Queer Activism in India: A Story in the Anthropology of Ethics,"
International Dialogue: Vol. 3, Article 15.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.unomaha.edu/id-journal/vol3/iss1/15