28 February, 2021

Passion And Precedent

Passion And Precedent

I must confess...I thought I'd have something with a female when the opportunity arises and to be quite frank I myself thought that Marie Louise was such an abnormal type of woman.—a letter from Amrita Shergil, circa February 1934, to her mother. (Shergil allegedly had affairs with Gogi, a female cousin, and friend Helen Chamanlal apart from Marie Louise, all of whom she also painted. 'Two Women' is said to represent Louise and Shergil.)

FROM the Kalitantra to the Radhavall-abhi to the Radhakali tradition that Indologists like H.H. Wilson and C.M. Brown have documented, to pre-Vaishnav Assamese and Jaminiya Brahmin texts of 2,000-year vintage, lesbianism has been a recurrent motif in Indian sacred and folk loric texts. Sub-textual resonances, references, underpinnings, the gamut of Sufi poetry, are a whole different world of study and academic discourse.

In the '60s, Rajasthani writer Vijay Dan Detha wrote Teejan Beejan, a tale of two women who live as a couple. The play, directed by Deepak Kejariwal, starring film actress Deepa Sahi,...

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