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Untitled, originally uploaded by javeja.

These really friendly and nice strangers asked me to take a picture of them at the Dargah last Thursday during the Sufi singing 🙂

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finally it is done. after six months of work and 140 written pages, i have finished my master thesis paper in cultural anthropology on the indian queer community, the political queer movement and the role of the internet within the community as part of my M.A. at the University of Munich. I would love to get feedback on it, if anybody is interested in reading it. It is written in German (mostly) and not yet available in English.

… and here it is:

Master thesis paper Queer in Indien

please cite as following: Geist, Janina. 2008. Queer in Indien. Selbst- und Fremdkonstruktionen indischer Queers in Politik, Gesellschaft und Medien unter besonderer BerĂŒcksichtigung des Internets. Magisterarbeit am Institut fĂŒr Ethnologie und Afrikanistik der LMU MĂŒnchen. MĂŒnchen. Elektronisches Dokument. [Abruf: x.x. 2xxx]. URI: <https://javeja.wordpress.com/2008/10/20/master-thesis-paper/>   MĂŒnchen, Oktober 2008.

this morning i went again to watch some movie at the verzaubert queer film festival. it was called out at the wedding, by lee friedlander. I have to say that it has been a long time since i have seen such a funny movie where I couldn’t stop laughing because of all the never ending twists in the story line. I think it is great when you can leave the cinema with a fuzzy warm feeling in your stomach… simply delightful. will post more about this move soon…. now I gotta go again and watch another movie…

Right now we have the queer film festival running in Munich and I went to watch some films and documentaries. Yesterday I saw a documentary called “Gay… So what? (2007, France)” which dealt with the questions how contemporary queer communities across the world are made up:  One question was what will happen in countries where being gay or being queer has been accepted fully by society and equal rights are given to queer people… for instance in New York in some areas people talk about being post-gay, or post-queer… one women stated her concern with the whole idea of a constructed separate identity of queer community because that in itself would highlight the difference towards the rest of the society (the straight (not necessarily meaning: heterosexual) people)… what is there to fight for if legally, socially and politically same things are possible for all… why then form a separate identity, since in the post-gay area… gay people don’t necessarily define themselves only over/just by their sexual identity, but also issues of race, class, social background etc. can be as equally important to one’s sense of identity. Plus they are people of the community who reject any labeling of themselves at all.

Then in the film it was very interesting to see 2 gay men tell about their experiences of being gay in China where homosexuality is not openly discussed or in any open discourse. There are no official public spaces for gay people in China. Only in the cities some nightclubs have opened up where people can come and meet. A lot is happening under the surface… But also the film talked about that steady a gay movement is forming in China in the last couple of years. Things are changing slowly… So for areas where the queer community has not the same rights, visibility… or in a sense an implicitness of existing… labels still are more important to get people together under a common umbrella community so to speak.

After watching this movie I am left wondering if a post-gay phase will be something that will eventually exist in the whole world… if the certain requirements for entering such a phase will be set… or will it always be different… homogeneous… while some people will reject a labeling just because of their sexual identity, others will still find it important for them to define themselves over that construction.  I tend towards the last thought… anyway will post more after the film festival is over…

Die boomende Studenten- und IT-stadt Bangalore ist bekannt fĂŒr ihre sehr differenziertes und schillerndes Nachtleben mit Pubs, Discotheken und Nachtclubs. Seit 01.01.2008 erhielt ein großer Anteil der Bangalore Nachtclubszene allerdings erneut einen DĂ€mpfer. WĂ€hrend Pubs mit Alkohollizenz weiterhin bis 23:30 Uhr geöffent haben dĂŒrfen, wurde Tanzen schlichtweg in allen Nachtclubs und Discotheken verboten. In dem beliebten Nachtclub Taika wurden an einem Abend ĂŒber 60 Menschen festgenommen, die sich ĂŒber das Verbot hinweg gesetzt hatten. Darauf hin musste Taika auf unbestimme Zeit hin schliessen. Auch andere TanzflĂ€chen in Nachtclubs und Discotheken blieben dicht, wĂ€hrend die Pubs ihre Einnahmen steigern konnten. Dadurch entstand grosse Spannungen zwischen den beiden Lagern. Das Tanzverbot durch die  Polizei Karnatakas geht auf mehrere UmstĂ€nde zurĂŒck: Aufgrund von mehreren Vergewaltigungen sollen laut der Polizei Frauen nicht mehr an Orten tanzen, wo auch Alkohol ausgeschenkt wird. Mehre Gesetze wurden diesbezĂŒglich auch auf bundesstaatlicher Ebene beschlossen. Die Behörden berufen sich aktuell auf ein Gesetz von 1967, um Menschen davon abzuhalten in Clubs zu tanzen, die Alkohol ausschenken. (Vgl. Johnson 2008; Vgl. o.A. 2008a). Es gab bereits in der Vergangenheit EinschrĂ€nkungen auf das Nachtclubleben in Bangalore, als im Juni 2005 ein Gesetz erlassen wurde, dass eigentlich nur das uneingeschrĂ€nkte Wachstum sog. erotischer „Tanzbars“ einschrĂ€nken sollte, jedoch auf alle Arten des Tanzens in öffentlichen Orten wie z.B. Clubs ausgeweitet wurde. Desweiteren wurde die sog. Sperrstunde gesetzlich von 3 Uhr morgens auf 23:30 Uhr vorverlegt. FĂŒr Monate konnte nicht getanzt werden, bis im Dezember 2005 aufgrund eines Gerichtsurteils des Supreme Courts Tanzen in Einrichtungen wieder legalisiert wurde, in denen nicht Prostitution oder unzĂŒchtige Shows zu sehen sind. So erlaubte die Polizei erneut Tanzen in Pubs, Restaurants, Nachtclubs und Discotheken und ging nur gezielt gegen Tanzbars vor (Vgl. Johnson 2008, Vgl. Thomas 2006, Vgl. Thomas 2005).

Im Januar 2008 folgte nun erneut ein Tanzverbot fĂŒr alle Clubs in Bangalore. Diesmal gehen die Behörden eine Beschwerde nach, die von Betreibern der Tanzbars gegen die Besitzer der Nachtclubs eingereicht wurde, die sich durch das Gerichtsurteil des Supreme Courts ungerecht behandelt fĂŒhlen. Es scheint eine Verwirrung zwischen dem Unterschied des Tanzens in erotischen Tanzbars und dem in Nachtclubs zu geben, welche dazu fĂŒhrt, dass jegliches Tanzen als sexuell von der Norm abweichend und unmoralisch kategorisiert wird. Gegen die erneuten EinschrĂ€nkungen gab es zahlreiche Proteste: Radiostationen und Medien haben eine Kampagne gegen die regressiven Maßnahmen begonnen. Auch der Verband der Nachtclubs in Bangalore kĂŒndigte mit UnterstĂŒtzung großer Teile der Bevölkerungen zahlreiche Demonstrationen und und rief dazu auf, sich dem Verbot aktiv wiedersetzen zu wollen. Viele fĂŒrchten um Bangalore’s Image als moderne Metropole (Vgl. Johnson 2008, Vgl. o.A. 2008c). Mittlerweile wurde das Verbot etwas gelockert, d.h. Tanzen ist von 22 bis 23: 30 Uhr in einigen Discotheken und Nachtclubs wieder erlaubt. Die Behörden weigern sich jedoch bisher das Verbot ganz aufzuheben (Vgl. o.A. 2008b). Solange Tanzen jedoch in sexuellen Kategorien assoziiert wird und durch diverse Verbote zu regulieren versucht wird, wird das Nachtleben in Bangalore auch in Zukunft mit EinschrĂ€nkungen konfrontiert bleiben.

 

Literatur:

 

Johnson, T.A. 2008: Cops enforce deadline, but no one is dancing to their tunes. In: The Indian Express (21.02.2008). Online Edition. Online verfĂŒgbar unter: http://www.indianexpress.com/story/276020.html; zuletzt geprĂŒft am 15.03.2008.

 

o.A. 2008a: Dancing ban: Blame it on the live bands. In: The Times of India (17.02.2008). Online Edition. Online verfĂŒgbar unter: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Dancing_ban_Blame_it_on_live_bands/articleshow/2788616.cms; zuletzt geprĂŒft am 16.03.2008.

 

o.A. 2008b: State in no mood to amend rules. In: The Times of India (19.02.2008). Online Edition. Online verfĂŒgbar unter: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Bangalore/State_in_no_mood_to_amend_rules/articleshow/2793523.cms; zuletzt geprĂŒft am 15.03.2008.

 

o.A. 2008c: Bangaloreans want dance floor back. In: The Times of India (16.02.2008). Online Edition. Online verfĂŒgbar unter: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Bangalore/Bangaloreans_want_dance_floor_back/articleshow/2786759.cms; zuletzt geprĂŒft am 15.03.2008.

 

Thomas, Edison 2005: Rock bottom! In: The Times of India (17.03.2006). Online Edition. Online verfĂŒgbar unter: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/msid-1353313,flstry-1.cms; zuletzt geprĂŒft am 15.03.2008.

 

Thomas, Edison 2006: After the dancing, the music. In: The Times of India (17.03.2006). Online Edition. Online verfĂŒgbar unter: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1454225.cms; zuletzt geprĂŒft am 15.03.2008.

 

 


today i finally watched om shanti om… i actually really wanted to still watch it while being in delhi but all this while whenever i tried to go it was sold out… so today finally i went… sadly the whole thing was dubbed in german… what the hell… i mean shah rukh sounds so silly 😉 but what to do… i was already there and i really wanted to see it on the big screen. i liked the movie really much… the many references to bollywood characters and films… the 70s vs. now… and the parodising of the bollywood film scene… funny… and the soundtrack was great… i already knew most of the songs from clubs and public places… i really want the soundtrack. while watching i started to miss india so much… all the colors and the noise…. cant wait to come again…

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right after celebrating xmas with an indian friend in bangalore at her parents house i went to gokarna with an overnight bus… i discovered that the single sleeper was the best way to travel til this point i always had unknowingly booked semi-sleeper…  but i have to say you do feel rested much more if you can lay down properly… but anyway, it was also a very nice thing to see how xmas got celebrated here in bangalore in this family of my friend… spicy south indian food including lots of non-veg (fish, pork, beef) and lots of wine… sweet and lulling. xmas carols and songs were played til late at night on the tv… many songs were broadcasted in german, english, tamil, kannada, malayallam and hindi.  the xmas tree was out of green-coloured paper.

when i woke up to the sunrise in the bus on the way to gokarna i got enchanted by the most intriguing landscape and the sunrise turned everything in a golden light. the red earth. the colorful houses… the different shades of green… palm trees… people on the roadside making puja in front of their houses and stores…

i arrived in gokarna which is south of goa in karnataka and took an auto to om beach where 2 of my friends were staying already… om beach is really beautiful… alternative travellers have been slowly abandoning this beach in favour of other and smaller beaches due to the newly built resort.. but still you can find lots of alternative travellers, buget travellers… the accomodation is cheap.. most basic shacks with bed and mosquitonet cost 100 INR. nirvana and namaste also have brick huts with own bathroom and shower for 400 INR… om beach is so beautiful with lots of rocks in the water, a little island in the middle… although i enjoyed being at om beach sometimes it got a bit exhausting (especially over the holidays) when huge groups of male indian tourists took constantly pictures of you or other white women in bikinis… on those busy days i escaped to the other beaches that are more informal and smaller… half-moon, kudle, and my favourite: paradise beach. on paradise beach and kudle lots of people stay long term or sort of drop out for a bit… paradise has the smallest beach but that creates a really secluded and intimate environment… people know each other and so really soon moved to a really basic hut there… you just get a bedroll in your hut and pay 75 INR… new year was totally amazing there… everything got decorated with flavours and colorful ribbons: the hammocks and the whole garden of the shiva moon cafe. people were painting each other with mehendi and colorful body paint… in the evening… people started dancing and drumming and there was also a huge fire… i have to say that the whole evening went by in a state of drug-related slowness yet fastness that makes it difficult to remember details but rather the feelings i felt… it was good way to get into the new year… although it did feel a bit surreal… this party or gettogether seemed like a time travel to a different decade… to the flower-power generation… hippees… those who know me know also my love for certain things of the 60s and 70s and so it felt very much like being at home in that sense that i felt so comfortable with everyone and the kind of people i met there… 

one funny thing on the side maybe… after i crashed in the early morning hours of the new year in a very comfortable hammock i woke up to the sunbeams warming my feet. i looked down on the ground and saw a huge joint, already ready to smoke laying in the sand under my hammock… as i still have not mastered the skill of rolling this seemed to be like a extra special gift to me.. 😉 so my first day in the new year was spent mostly very relaxing in the hammock reading or swimming in the incredible beautiful ocean. i really donÂŽt understand why people make such a fuss about goa which gets so damn expensive during xmas and new year.. for shit accomodation you easily have to pay 2000 INR or more… and gokarna is cheap, quiet, not really busy, beautiful….

gokarna is like a secret tip among a lot of travellers… i donÂŽt know what will happen to it in a couple of years… already modifications has set in through the building of resorts on om and kudle beach…

i also saw two german celebrities there…. georg uecker who plays in the lindenstrasse a weekly soap and another gay famous men which name i have forgotten… tststs… shame on me… id like to think that they picked a really good location to have a private holiday without getting bothered too much.  

but anyway, i really want to visit gokarna again… it was one of the most beautiful places i have been to.  only white haven beach in australia is still my number one.

i sadly have to say… the air in bangalore has become worse than in delhi…. being in a traffic jam in bangalore seems like getting sufficated, one reason might be that all the public transportation in delhi runs on the CNG (gas) and this is not the case in bangalore where you can see dark clouds of dirty smoke polluting the air. but being in a traffic jam here in bangalore just sucks big time… also i personally find delhi much greener than the “garden city”… it would really do some good to plant some more trees here again to fight the pollution in bangalore

this is something i wrote a long time back in the beginning of october… but somehow i forgot to publish it…. so here it goes:

today i had a really good day… i met with an indian filmmaker i have met a couple of weeks ago for some coffee… and i had a really good time…. talking and then we went cruising on his bike through delhi… i love travelling this way… you see the city from a whole different perspective… the city feels differently somehow… i got too see so many things… and also to discover so many parts and aspects of the city and the people when you are in company of a local… unfortunately he will move to mumbai now… so we canÂŽt go on adventurous discovery trips around the city to take photographs and hang out… but maybe i can manage to visit mumbai… he will do a film project there…

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