Danish Sheikh, “Love and Reparation: A Theatrical Response to the Section 377 Litigation in India” (Seagull Books, 2021)

Two plays about the legal battle to decriminalize homosexuality in India.

On September 6, 2018, a decades-long battle to decriminalize queer intimacy in India came to an end. The Supreme Court of India ruled that Section 377, the colonial anti-sodomy law, violated the country’s constitution. “LGBT persons,” the Court said, “deserve to live a life unshackled from the shadow of being ‘unapprehended felons.’” But how definitive was this end? How far does the law’s shadow fall? How clear is the line between the past and the future? What does it mean to live with full sexual citizenship?

In Love and Reparation: A Theatrical Response to the Section 377 Litigation in India (Seagull Books, 2021), Danish Sheikh navigates these questions with a deft interweaving of the legal, the personal, and the poetic. The two plays in this volume leap across court transcripts, affidavits (real and imagined), archival research, and personal memoir. Through his re-staging, Sheikh crafts a genre-bending exploration of a litigation battle, and a celebration of defiant love that burns bright in the shadow of the law.

Saronik Bosu (@SaronikB on Twitter) is a doctoral candidate in English at New York University. He is writing his dissertation on South Asian economic writing. He is coordinator of the Medical Humanities Working Group at NYU, and of the Postcolonial Anthropocene Research Network. He also co-hosts the podcast High Theory.

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