Love Is Not a Word: The Culture and Politics of Desire

July 2, 2020

Blurb:

Insightful, informative and entertaining, this is a book that gives a true picture of love and relationships as they exist in India today, and have done over the centuries, from the Kama Sutra to the time of Tinder.
A collection of twelve keen and insightful essays on love and desire. The book gives historical and cultural perspectives on Indian love (swayamvara, arranged marriages, and desi romance); the immortal love of Radha and Krishna that transcends theology; the story of a powerful, sexually desiring and desired courtesan/nagarvadhu. The politics of love is discussed and debated from a variety of angles: from the love jihad campaign against inter-religious marriage, to a critique of the savarna gaze in Indian cultural iconography and its meaning for Dalit women’s bodies and inter-caste love, to India’s legal battle to decriminalize same-sex love, to the subversive threat in single women’s self-love. The book includes intriguing and exquisite portrayals of love in literature, from Urdu shayari and bhasha writing, to the city fictions of love through Rome, Sydney, Buenos Aires, Istanbul, and back to Delhi, the ancient echoing through the modern. With essays from some of the best writers of our times, including Makarand Paranjpe, Alka Pande, Malashri Lal, Rakshanda Jalil, Mehr Farooqi and Zafar Anjum, this delightful volume certainly suggests that love is not just a word.

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