The Marriage Issue: Loves, Laws, Lusts

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The Marriage Issue (Vol 28 No 4) Cover

The Marriage Issue (Vol 28 No 4) Cover

(Vol 28 No 4)
The Marriage Issue: Loves, Laws, Lusts

The institution of marriage is a continuous series of negotiations and adjustments – of love and intimacy; of financial transactions between families during weddings; of social obligations and personal space. What might be considered a private relationship between consenting adults is significantly shaped by state laws and social pressures. Families in Southasia who ‘allow’ their children to experience the wider world, will often baulk at the idea of relationships outside the conventional code: the socially-sanctioned monogamous heterosexual union, conforming to specifications of class, caste, religion and ethnicity. The parental admonition to ‘settle down’ – a phrase recognised by the unmarried with dread – echoes from Balochistan to Arakan! Our articles look at the draconian colonial-era law that criminalises homosexuality in many parts of the region, the dangerous business of wedding videography in Kabul, the bogey of ‘Love Jihad’ in Uttar Pradesh and the livelihood of wedding band performers in Kathmandu, among others.

Articles include:

Shootings in Kabul
Life as a wedding videographer in Kabul can be rather risky, writes Taran N Khan, but the ostentatious wedding ceremonies provide vibrant ground for romance to flower

An unjust war
Neha Dixit exposes ‘Love Jihad’, a spurious campaign by rightwing Hindu groups to delegitimise inter-faith marriages between Hindu girls and Muslim men

Common Code, uncommon challenges

Flavia Agnes explores India’s Uniform Civil Code debate, providing a nuanced account of how rights of women can be strengthened within personal laws

Far from truth

Labour migration in Nepal has empowered women, but a culture of policing real and imagined sexual transgressions counteracts these advances, argues Weena Pun

The wedding march

Urban Nepalis embrace India’s colonial legacy of using brass bands in weddings. Paavan Mathema explores the world and livelihood of these performers

Unnatural acts

Danish Sheikh explores how British colonial laws still impact Southasian realities. Despite decolonisation, ‘Section 377’ continues to be used to criminalise so-called ‘unnatural acts’

Where will all the young queers go? 

Never-colonised Nepal has the most progressive legislation on LGBT rights in the region, writes Danny Coyle. However legal reforms, he argues, don’t reflect shifts in conservative values on the ground

A play with the third

The ‘third figure’ is a key source of anxiety around marriage in popular culture. Lora Tomas analyses this theme across three works of literature and film.


Photo essay
Sunil Gupta’s two-part photo essay makes a provocative statement against the criminalisation of queer lives, with a contrasting set of images


‘The alleys of Nakhaasa Bazaar’ by Juanita Kakoty


Aditi Angiras reviews India’s first gay memoir, No one Else: A personal history of outlawed love and sex
Sunalini Kumar reviews Eat Dust: Greed and mining in Goa, an indictment of the industry’s environmental devastation


Battle of Kikrüma by Jelle J P Wouters
Bad trouble man by Onaiza Drabu
Mourning, memory and resistance in Pakistan by Nosheen Ali


Dissident pleasures by Shohini Ghosh
Honeymooning by Aziz Sheikh
Poetry against purdah by Ahmad Salim
Price of honour by Bushra Asif


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