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Free but not free (July 15, 2022)

Editor’s Note: In 2018, India decriminalised same-sex relationships. It was a radical move in a country otherwise riddled by patriarchy and bigotry, but has it really meant freedom? On June 23, a man in Ayodhya got beaten up for kissing his wife in public. Given this degree of regression, it’s no surprise the gay community continues to be abused, tortured, and blackmailed. Outside Pride marches and Twitter timelines, they must still keep their sexuality secret. But regression is in the air. As I type this, the US Supreme Court has overturned Roe vs Wade, thus removing the right to abortion. Queers, women, Dalits, the list of marginalised communities whose bodies patriarchy wants to control is long. The fight for freedom will be as long. But there are wins too. And films, books, and music. In this issue, Frontline acknowledges the struggles and celebrates the victories. Vaishna Roy


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How visible is the cultural footprint of India’s queer community?

Lead Story
The queer community has expanded its cultural footprint phenomenally in recent times, through art exhibitions, cinema, literature, entrepreneurship, a

Queer connections: How has the dating scene changed for the LGBTQIA+ community?

Lead Story
Apps may have revolutionised the dating scene, but extortion, blackmail, and the difficulty in finding real companionship continues to haunt the commu

Has ‘Agnipath’ opened a Pandora’s box for the Narendra Modi government?

The Agnipath policy, which has resulted in widespread and violent protests, is rationalised as being driven by financial imperatives, with the governm

The Maldives: Not entirely idyllic

World Affairs
The Maldives presents unique governance problems as it is not a contiguous territorial nation state.

“What’s your pronoun?”

Lead Story
From the first openly gay erstwhile royal to the first openly gay politician, Indians in same-sex relationships are slowly feeling confident enough to
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Parmesh Shahani: ‘We are still not equal today’

Lead Story
Interview with Parmesh Shahani, author, culture curator, and inclusion advocate.
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Trans-formation on the big screen: Queer themes in Indian cinema

Lead Story
The trajectory of queer-themed films in Indian cinema can be traced from the banal in the early years to queerbaiting—which suggests but does not de

ED’s questioning of Rahul Gandhi becomes rallying point for Congress workers

Across the country, Congress workers took to the streets in large numbers to protest the Enforcement Directorate’s prolonged questioning of Rahul an

Using the loopholes: Delhi HC disallows filing of FIRs against BJP leaders

A Delhi High Court bench has disallowed the filing of FIRs against two BJP leaders who allegedly made hate speeches during the anti-CAA protests at Sh

Gayfest: Cinema guide

Lead Story
Movies that started conversations.

Gayfest: Book guide

Lead Story
A few books that enable a deeper understanding of difference and diversity in India.
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A Ray hero looks back

A new book throws light on various aspects of Satyajit Ray’s life and works and never-heard-before anecdotes.

How is Assam faring on the TB eradication front?

Government and non-governmental organisations in Assam are attempting to accelerate the State’s TB eradication programme through community engagemen
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‘Hindu radicalisation the lethal challenge’

Social Issues
Interview with Irfan Ahmad, political anthropologist.

Is Latin America witnessing a return of the ‘Pink Tide’?

World Affairs
After Peru, Chile and Honduras, Colombia elects a left-wing President, a result that is all the more significant in a country where right-wing regimes

Are the Madhya Pradesh local body polls a one-horse race?

The Congress in Madhya Pradesh appears to be in no position to challenge the BJP in the municipal elections slated for July.
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Targeted demolitions: Uttar Pradesh back to bulldozer tactics yet again

The Uttar Pradesh government resorts to bulldozer tactics yet again, this time to terrorise Muslims in Aligarh, but the Supreme Court’s timely inter

Why have West Bengal’s Bills on new Chancellor of State universities triggered an outcry?

West Bengal’s Bills to replace the Governor with the Chief Minister as Chancellor of State universities triggers an outcry from the opposition as al

A queer history of literature and science

Data Stories
Literature and science are full of brilliant queer men and women who were hounded for their sexuality in their lifetime.

Has India weathered the desert storm over remarks against the Prophet?

World Affairs
India appears to have weathered the storm in Islamic nations over the remarks against the Prophet made by BJP members.

How are Chhattisgarh’s tribals fighting back miners in central India’s densest forest?

Indigenous communities in Chhattisgarh’s Hasdeo Arand forests are fighting back mining activity, an incursion that is rife with allegations of wrong

Kuttanad: The next vanishing wetland?

Kuttanad in Kerala, a unique wetland under threat from extreme climate events and ecological destruction, urgently needs a long-term strategy.

Has COVID truly exposed the broken global order?

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic being a severe and truly global crisis, developed countries continue to act in the interests of Big Pharma instead of fo

When visuals speak: How the best critiques bring art to life

The publication of a new book of essays on art history inspires, in turn, this insightful piece that shows how the best art criticism makes a work of

Postcards from Khasi hills: How the people made Christianity their own

Images that mix politics, history and discomfort to document how the Khasi people made Christianity, a “foreign faith”, their own.

Did LDF’s gamble go awry in the Thrikkakara bypolls?

The ruling LDF’s gamble on the May 31 byelection in Kerala’s Thrikkakkara Assembly seat backfired; the Congress retained its stronghold.
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Carlo Ancelotti: Champion coach

Four Champions League titles and the only man to win all five of Europe’s “big five” leagues, Carlo Ancelotti represents perhaps the essence of

Are Hindi films problematising history?

After Padmaavat, the Hindu historical tasted blood and sharpened its fangs, but the recent Samrat Prithviraj is a weak offspring of the genre, neither
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Reforms in limbo

The story of former IPS officer Prakash Singh’s litigation that resulted in the 2006 judgment on police reforms, and the subsequent struggle to get
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Verdicts of empathy

An excerpt from “Pride versus Prejudice: The Struggle against Section 377” by Saurabh Kirpal. It details the four judgments passed in Navtej Singh