May 5, 2008
C3 Consulting Researcher Parmesh Shahani's Gay Bombay

Former C3 Research Manager Parmesh Shahani has recently released his new book, Gay Bombay: Globalization, Love and (Be)longing in Contemporary India, through Sage Publications.

According to the official description:

Using a combination of multi-sited ethnography, textual analysis, historical documentation analysis, and memoir writing, the author provides macro and micro perspectives on what it means to be a gay man located in Gay Bombay at a particular point in time. Specifically, he explores what being gay means to members of Gay Bombay and how they negotiate locality and globalization, their sense of identity as well as a feeling of community within its online/offline world. On a broader level, he critically examines the formulation and reconfiguration of contemporary Indian gayness in the light of its emergent cultural, media, and political alliances.

I had the pleasure of working with Parmesh for a year while he managed the research project and for the past two years as a consulting researcher with the project, and I'm proud to consider him not only a former colleague but a great friend. This has been a project Parmesh has spent several years on now, and I think those of you who know Parmesh will agree that this book combines the same raw honesty and keen insight that helps define Parmesh's approach to research.

  • Offers an exciting path breaking ethnography, which combines a large macro sweep with an intensely personal narrative. The author's memories flow in and out of the main narrative to create a distinct reading experience.
  • Presents a unique and timely look at urban contemporary Indian sexuality
  • Provides an integrated approach that illuminates how new media technologies, the media industry, audiences, and broader socio-historical contexts shape gay identity in contemporary urban India
  • Gives a different perspective on globalization in post-liberalization urban India, as India re-positions itself as a global superpower. How are its minorities being treated? How are they asserting themselves in this new imagination of the nation-state?
  • Weaves in personal experience that helps us understand male same-sex desire in relation to customary experiences in a city like Bombay

As many of you know, Parmesh was a Master's student here at the Program in Comparative Media Studies at MIT before he took the position as C3's research manager. He now works in Bombay for The Mahindra Group.

Henry's comments from the official press for the book sums it up well: "Parmesh Shahani is an original...This book will inspire and provoke many interested in understanding the intersections between sexuality, globalization, and new media."

See a review from here. It says, "Well researched and written in a frank and conversational style, the book manages to bridge the gap between being heavily academic and serious and being frivolous and mushy. The book also represents a coming-to-terms with the self, for its author who is also gay."

See an interview with Parmesh from DailyPioneer.