Sakhiyani: Lesbian Desire in Ancient and Modern India

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Bloomsbury Publishing, Oct 6, 2016 - Political Science - 160 pages
The product of many years of research, this unique book presents fascinating perspectives on contemporary lesbian life in India and unravels some of the history of lesbian desire from centuries past.
Through detailed examination of mythology, cosmology, ancient art and artefacts and her exegesis of ancient Sanskrit texts, Thadani constructs a tapestry of feminine kinship, genealogy and sexual or erotic bonding between women (sakhiyani) in ancient India. The author offers an historical perspective on the effect of colonization upon lesbian identities in India, showing how women were viewed by Western imperialists either as soft victims or as sexually dangerous, possessing an overgrown clitoris and in need of heterosexual domestication.
The second half of the book focuses on contemporary lesbian realities and issues, including lesbian marriages, suicide pacts, forging lesbian space, lesbian human rights, lesbophobia, sexual exile and the different construction of gender, family and possible kinship alliances.
 

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Contents

1 Lesbian Invisibility
1
2 The Dual Feminine
16
3 The Myths of Usha and Urvashi
33
4 The Control of Lesbian Sexuality
51
5 Legacies of Colonialism
67
6 Westernization
87
7 Love and Death
101
8 Lesbian Identities
114
Bibliography
124
Index
128
Copyright

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About the author (2016)

Giti Thadani is a founder member of the Sakhi collective and journal of contemporary and historical lesbian life in India.

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