The reading down of Section 377 by the Supreme Court in 2018 has led to a fundamental shift in the rights of India’s LGBTQ citizens and necessitated policy changes across the board—not least in the conservative world of Indian business. In this book, which won the CK Prahalad Best Business Book of the Year award for 2021, I draw from my decade-long journey in the corporate world as an out and proud gay man, to make a cogent case for LGBTQ inclusion and lay down a step-by-step guide to reshaping office culture in India. I talk to inclusion champions and business leaders about how they worked towards change; trace the benefits reaped by industry giants like Godrej, Tata Steel, IBM, Wipro, the Lalit group of hotels and many others who have tapped into the power of diversity; and share the stories of employees whose lives were revolutionised by LGBTQ-friendly workspaces.
Queeristan is both a memoir and a manifesto and I animate the data and strategy in the book with intimate stories of love and family. Even as it becomes a sprawling reference book of history, literature, cinema, movements, institutions and icons of the LGBTQ community, Queeristan drives home a singular point—in diversity and inclusion lies the promise of an equitable and profitable future, for companies, their employees and the society at large.
You can buy Queeristan online here, in hardback, Kindle or Audible formats.
This was the first ethnography of gay life in contemporary India when it was released in 2008. It talked about the early age of the internet in the country and the creation of online-offline gay communities from the mid-1990s to the mid 2000s. Using a combination of multi-sited ethnography, textual analysis, historical documentation analysis, and memoir writing, I tried to provide macro and micro perspectives on what it meant to be a gay man located in the Gay Bombay community group at a particular point in time. Specifically, I explored what being gay meant to members of Gay Bombay and how they negotiated locality and globalization, their sense of identity as well as a feeling of community within its online/offline world. On a broader level, I critically examined the formulation and reconfiguration of Indian gayness in the light of its emergent cultural, media, and political alliances.
The anniversary edition, released in 2020, has chapters from scholars Ulka Anjaria and Kareem Khubchandani about the continuing importance of the book, as well as an updated preface. It has an interview with Professor Dhiren Borisa as an afterword that talks about the path ahead for queer rights in India, in the context of the recent Supreme Court judgement decriminalizing homosexuality.
You can buy Gay Bombay online here, in paperback, or Kindle formats.
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