‘A History Of Desire In India’ by Madhavi Menon

Madhavi Menon teaches English literature and queer theory at Ashoka University. For the Sarmaya Talks edition of 27 April, 2019, she dissected ideas of heterosexuality versus desire between Indian men, especially in the context of Lord Ayyappan and his temple in Sabarimala. Prof Menon opened our eyes to the ways in which queer identities and relationships have always been part of the subcontinent’s histories.

Madhavi Menon is Professor of English and Director of the Centre for Studies in Gender and Sexuality at Ashoka University. She teaches classes on queer theory, the politics of desire and identity, literary theory, Renaissance literature, and Shakespeare. She is the author of several monographs on Shakespeare and queer theory; her most recent book is Infinite Variety: A History of Desire in India (Speaking Tiger, 2018), which puts into conversation the major ideas of queer theory with the history of ideas in India.