We’re all aware of how powerful words are, now let’s see how powerful critique is.
Queer Ink is starting a book club, which will take books, stories, poetry, and pretty much any written word that catches our fancy and infuse it with meaning that’s alternative and queer.
We’re planning to start on the first Sunday of March, and meet every alternative Sunday following that, over chai, pakoras and a good book.
And, as is befitting, we’ll start with The Quilt.
Ismat Chugtai’s short story Lihaaf has been called many things, including obscene and scandalous, and the author very nearly went to jail for it. It’s even been called a negative lesbian short story, by some. Lihaaf tells the story of an eight year old girl sent to spend her vacations with Begum, her mother’s friend.
Begum, a nawab’s wife, stays in purdah, and is permitted to be seen by only a few women. One of them is Rabbu, her help, who massages Begum by day, and as we learn much to the narrator’s consternation, by night as well.
A master of understatement, Chugtai offers a biting indictment of a culture that seeks to invisibilise a woman’s sexuality.
Years later, Parvati Sharma, re-wrote Lihaaf. In this reworking, Sharma tells us what exactly goes on under the covers.
We’ll start with Chugtai’s story in our first meeting. If you don’t have a copy, drop by and pick it up from Queer Ink, or order it online from our website. We’ll tackle Parvati Sharma’s story in our second meeting. Her short story is in a collection of erotica called Electric Feather, and the author, whose prose is as taut as it is sensuous, is happy to chat with us and answer our questions over Skype.
Spread the word.
Date : 4th March, 2012
Time : 11AM-1PM
Venue : ‘firstname.lastname@example.org‘ or 9821.730721 for queries
Dates of publication
Electric Feather: 2008
Language of Book club and books: English, unless facilitator wants another language.