• Episode 27 with artist Jyoti Singh

    "Candles are my claim, hula hoop, my release"

    Known for her handmade aromatic candles, Jyoti Singh shares what it means to tell a story with wax and dry flowers. This story is also informed by her belief in anti-caste politics and social and political justice. She also tells me how trauma changed her body's relationship with dance. This prompted her to seek refuge in the hula hoop.

    Editor: Shubang Gautam

    47m | Apr 18, 2023
  • Episode 26 with poet and teacher Debolina Dey

    Dey shares their standpoint on queer politics and why "queer" as an adjective matters more to them. We speak about poetry, queer pedagogy, intimacy, and identity politics. Dey also reflects on belongingness and exile, about living in Delhi and being brought up in Siliguri. She asks, "Can Bengalis imagine having a Nepali CM?"

    Editor: Shubang Gautam

    1h 6m | Mar 4, 2023
  • Episode 25 with feminist Minakshi Sanyal (Malobika di)

    I spoke to Minakshi Sanyal aka Malobikadi about her co-edited anthology, Monologue: Lesbian Narrative of Bangladesh and West Bengal, and her journey in relation to Sappho for Equality. We reflect on the distinctions between "bari" and flat and what it means to be at home. She shares her experiences of collaborating with Anindya Hazra on the Dialogues: Calcutta International LGBTQIA+ Film and Video Festival. Working across movements and organizations is key to her feminist vision. Malobika di also expresses her disappointment and anger at being excluded from intra-community events and initiatives that were led and dominated by cis-gay men.

    1h 31m | Feb 3, 2023
  • Episode 24 with poet and researcher Anil Pradhan

    In his interview which was conducted in October 2022, Pradhan shares how he negotiates different places of belonging and what that means for his queerness in a globalized world. We discuss his forthcoming anthology and the process of writing and performing for digital platforms. In response to a question, Pradhan also shares some critiques of Kaustav Chakraborty's book which tries to "queer" tribal folktales.

    *Audio editor: Shubang Gautam*

    1h 5m | Jan 9, 2023
  • Episode 23 with writer and gender rights activist Santa Khurai

    Santa Khurai who is a Manipuri indigenous Nupi Maanbi shares her insights on the challenges of doing activism in the region. She takes a strong stand against racism and colonialism which impacts how mainland India treats people from the Northeast. A poet and an artist, she wants to be recognized as a writer, rather than a trans writer.

    53m | Nov 16, 2022
  • Episode 22 with transgender rights activist & digital content creator Rachana Mudraboyina

    Mudraboyina, the co-founder of Telangana Hijra Transgender Intersex Samiti and TransVision discusses how religion can be a site of negotiation for trans people. She explains what respect means for trans sex workers and what are the challenges of archiving the contribution of trans people to the Telangana movement.

    1h 0m | Nov 3, 2022
  • Episode 21 with CPI(M) member and theatre activist Gourab Ghosh

    Currently teaching in Mumbai, Gourab Ghosh is the "first openly gay candidate to contest a university election." He believes that a Queer-Left alliance is the need of the hour. Ghosh shares the processes of filming for Debalina Majumder's Gay Matrimony and the importance of law in the life of LGBTQ+ people.

    1h 7m | Oct 12, 2022
  • Episode 20 with academic and writer Ruth Vanita

    Professor Vanita explains the processes that went into the making of Same-Sex Love in India. She emphasizes the need to make academic scholarship more accessible to the general reader. Vanita also shares her thoughts on the legalization of gay marriages and what that would mean for Indian gay and lesbian subjects.

    39m | Sep 29, 2022
  • Episode 19 with poet and writer Hoshang Merchant

    I interviewed Hoshang at his Hyderabad apartment while he was still recovering from the flu. He had just returned from an event in Shimla. We spoke about the afterlives of his edited anthology, Yaraana: Gay Writing from India (1999), and non-fiction publications such as Gay Icons of India (2019) and All My Masters: An East-West Encounter (2021). The poet-writer remains unapologetic about his choices even as he calls out fellow LGBTQ+ writers for being egoistic or staying in the closet. Hoshang also revisits his relationship with his father and emphasizes the need for care and intimacy during the COVID pandemic.

    35m | Sep 23, 2022
  • Episode 18 with editor and labor activist, Ashwini Sukthankar

    "artifacts have a place in the archive"

    Ashwini Sukthankar recollects the processes that went into the making of the anthology, Facing the Mirror: Lesbian Writing from India (1999). She also shares her thoughts on the 2019 edition's book cover and the institution of gay marriage. Sukthankar also believes that transnational labor movements can make strong alliances possible.

    1h 1m | Sep 19, 2022
  • Episode 17 with social worker সিন্টু বাগুই (Sintu Bagui)

    সিন্টু বাগুই পশ্চিমবঙ্গের শেওড়াফুলিতে অবস্থিত একজন ট্রান্স অ্যাক্টিভিস্ট এবং সমাজকর্মী। তিনি পশ্চিমবঙ্গ রাজ্যে লোক আদালতের বিচারক হওয়া দ্বিতীয় ট্রান্স মহিলা। এই সাক্ষাত্কারে (বাংলা/বাংলায় পরিচালিত) সিন্টু ট্রান্স সম্প্রদায়ের মৌলিক চাহিদা পূরণে রাজ্য প্রশাসনের ব্যর্থতার কথা পুনর্ব্যক্ত করেছেন, যেমন ট্রান্সজেন্ডার সার্টিফিকেট প্রদান। তিনি COVID মহামারীর তিনটি পর্যায়ে তহবিল সংগ্রহকারীদের রাজনীতির ব্যাখ্যাও দেন এবং LGBTQ+ চেনাশোনা জুড়ে সংহতি এবং একচেটিয়া উভয়ের উদাহরণ স্মরণ করেন।

    (অডিওটিতে স্ট্যাটিক রয়েছে যা সরানো যায়নি।)

    Sintu Bagui is a trans activist and social worker based out of Sheoraphuli, West Bengal. She is the second transwoman to become the judge of a Lok Adalat (People's Court) in the state of West Bengal. In this interview (conducted in Bangla/Bengali) Sintu reiterates the failures of the state administration to fulfill the basic needs of the trans community, such as the issuing of transgender certificates. She also explains the politics of fundraisers during the three stages of the COVID pandemic and recollects instances of both solidarity and exclusivity across LGBTQ+ circles.

    (The audio contains static that couldn't be removed.)

    41m | Sep 11, 2022
  • Episode 16 with journalist Premankur Biswas

    Premankur and I discuss our critiques of Bollywood and the representation of LGBTQ+ people in news media. He shares his opinions about companionship and the institution of marriage.

    P.S. Do check out the new intro voiceover, and let me know how it sounds

    32m | Aug 26, 2022
  • Episode 15 with queer feminist and peer counsellor, Rituparna Borah

    Rituparna shares her experiences within the queer activist circles in Delhi. She emphasizes the lack of conversations on race and indigeneity and her changing perceptions of marriage and companionship.

    48m | Aug 18, 2022
  • Episode 14 with novelist and journalist Sandip Roy

    Sandip Roy discusses his writing process and the way in which a story need not conform to expectations of political correctness. He answers specific questions related to the plot of Don't Let Him Know. Sandip also shares some tips on how to make a good podcast!

    49m | Aug 7, 2022
  • Episode 13 with curator and ethnographer Kumam Davidson Singh

    Kumam recollects the conversations that led to the formation of the Chinki Homo Project. We discuss issues of language, region, ethnicity, and livelihood. Kumam also comments on the political power of anthologies.

    1h 2m | Jul 23, 2022
  • Episode 12 with writer and queer feminist Shals Mahajan

    Mahajan discusses the importance of care and negotiation in the relationships between children and adults in their books. They also reflect on the making of the anthology, "Facing the Mirror: Lesbian Writing from India," (edited by Ashwini Sukthankar) and unpack the distinctions between liberal thought and economic liberalization.

    1h 2m | Jul 14, 2022
  • Episode 11 with researcher Maitree Devi

    Maitree Devi shares her insights on the treatment of minorities in India and Bangladesh, particularly the role of personal laws in the lives of minority women. She also discusses the evolution of queer spaces in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and the importance of community formation.

    59m | Jul 8, 2022
  • Episode 10 with activist and archivist, Pawan Dhall

    Pawan Dhall shares his insights about the importance of remembering the past. He also acknowledges the shortcomings and the possibilities of pride marches across India.

    1h 5m | Jul 2, 2022
  • Episode 9 with digital storyteller and queer feminist, Pavel Sagolsem

    The co-founder of Chinki Homo Project shares their experiences of being a "vagabond." They also hope that movements will make room for mistakes, rather than only insisting on political correctness.

    40m | Jun 22, 2022
  • Episode 8 with Master's student and heritage walk leader, Tanu Dabral

    Tanu shares the challenges of creating queer spaces on the campus. She also comments on the current heritage walk practices.

    36m | Jun 7, 2022
Queerness and Storytelling in India