An effortless combination of empathy, moral conviction and deep cultural sensitivity’-Ashis Nandy
Long before the debate on marriage equality began, young, non-English speaking, low-income female couples all over India got married by religious rites or committed joint suicide, which they considered being ‘married in death’. These women had no contact with any movement and had never heard words like ‘lesbian’ or ‘gay’. While many families, in collusion with police, violently separated the couples, several families also supported their daughters.
Love’s Rite, first published in 2005, is the first and still the only book-length study of these unions, starting with one reported in 1980. The book argues that the couples asserted-and today still assert-their right to be together, using an age-old language of love understood by Indians. Vanita explores Indian religious, legal and literary traditions that provide spaces for same-sex and other socially disapproved unions.
While many recent high-profile Indian weddings have been reported as the ‘first’ of their kind, Love’s Rite celebrates the unsung pioneers and martyrs of the struggle for marriage equality.