The Doubleness of Sexuality

Idioms of Same-Sex Desire in Modern India

Akhil Katyal


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This ground-breaking work argues that 'homosexuality' cannot capture the many intersecting idioms of same-sex desire in India whose breadth and romance extend far beyond the term. Instead, Akhil Katyal argues that 'sexuality' is marked by a 'doubleness', a constant tension between how sexuality is conceptualised and how it is lived out, ensuring that 'gay' or 'lesbian' identities remain open-ended. Studying early to mid-20th century Hindi/Urdu literature and recent Indian 'gay'/'lesbian' writing and activism, Katyal advances his arguments with a vigour and freshness that make for a deeply conceptually rooted yet extraordinarily light text that's a pleasure to read.

Akhil Katyal

Akhil Katyal is a writer, academic, gay activist and translator based in Delhi. He finished his PhD at SOAS and currently teaches literature at Shiv Nadar University. His book of poems Night Charge Extra was short-listed for the Muse India Satish Verma National Award and his second poetry book I See Kashmir from New Delhi at Midnight (forthcoming 2017) won the Editor’s Choice Award from The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective. He was part of the Delhi based queer collective Nigah for several years and continues to write frequently on sexuality and politics.