ISBN 0.3043.3452.9

Giti Thadani


Lesbian Desire in Ancient and Modern India

Cassell, 1996.

Half a Book is Better than None

In the author’s own words, the publishers took out about half the book. It was too dense. They also cut out some of the notes and commentaries. Also the Shakta section which reinterprets the older cosmology found in the Rig Veda was cut out. The reason was it would not be readable and therefore salable.

What remained, however, is still a unique and interesting small work reviewing Indian history and religion and how it dealt (and deals) with lesbian lifestyles and sexuality. The book is based on source material ranging from Sanskrit texts and ancient temple art to contemporary newspapers, lesbian newsletters and reports. It provides a unique insight into Indian life; before, during and after colonization.

Different from most Western countries, where lesbian women were often less heavily prosecuted than gay men, Thadani shows that India took the opposite approach - where penalties included loosing two fingers and being trotted around town.

See here for a unique myth and its visualization

Review: RCC
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