Shiva and Arun – P. Parivaraj

SAAIt is often thought that Hinduism is more tolerant of homosexuality that Christianity and Islam. One even hears of gay weddings conducted in mandirs. However, the law in India dates back to the British Raj and wasn’t repealed until July 2009.

There is a surplus of graduates in India but not enough well-paid work for them so there is little independence. Because most young men live with their extended families, there is little privacy, ‘nowhere to go’ so there is a lot of cruising in parks and only fleeting encounters are possible for most men. Public discussion of homosexuality in India is inhibited because sexuality in any form is rarely discussed openly. In recent years, however, attitudes towards homosexuality have shifted slightly. In particular, there have been more depictions and discussions of homosexuality in the Indian news media and by Hollywood.

It is extremely rare to find a book about this subject from anywhere outside Europe and the States so it’s a bit of a first.

I found it a beautiful book to read, though most of our group disliked it and our convenor of the time threw it down after a few pages and refused to finish it. Our group is very white and Anglo-centric, which is to our loss.

There is a strong sense of smell – jasmine, Ganges flotsam, tannery, ‘morning toilet offerings’

Also plenty of fantasy, for example soaking a tradesman in the shower and being soaped in return.

The sex is very graphic – ‘Abdullah’s throbbing cock’, ‘pulsating ejaculation’, the adolescent curiosity – ‘classic’ pubic hair line, cum not like snot or spit, he knew he was gay from his very first wank.

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