Lives Worth Grieving for: Representation of Lesbian Suicides in Print and Cinema in India | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online


One of the ways in which lesbian sexuality found coverage in the media in the mid-1990s was through the phenomenon of ‘lesbian suicides’ in states like Kerala and Kolkata in India. ‘Lesbian Suicides’ became one of the pivotal issues through which sexuality became a political matter in the public sphere of these two states, which further encouraged the formation of ‘the lesbian’ as a political subject. Since the mid-1990s, several newspaper reports expressed their concern over reports of women who die together. A selected list of lesbian suicides reported in the print media in India between the 1980s to early 2000s, compiled by Alternative Law Forum (an organisation in Bangalore), includes thirteen cases, and all of them are from Kerala. This paper tries to observe a pattern in which investigative reports on these suicides represented the figure of ‘the lesbian’. I will analyse selected documentary and fictional narratives of lesbian suicides, as well as the representation of these cases in myriad newspapers and magazines to examine how these stories are articulated in the public sphere and contribute to the formation of the "lesbian political subject" in 1990s Kerala and Calcutta. The case studies also include cinematic representations such as Debalina’s Ebang Bewarish (the unclaimed...). Through analysis of the newspaper coverage of the lesbian suicides and rereading of the cinematic representations, I will counter the general trend in the media where a lesbian life is reported as an isolated spectacle that, as scholar Ashwini Sukthankar has noted, consumes itself in its own sensationalism and leaves no traces of the life that was its context.


Article metrics loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error