We may think of our lives as a series of movements across space and time – here, there, now, then. But movement is not just about getting from here to there, or from now to then. Our journey through life is movement; as are the explorations of our internal and external worlds, of our connectedness to people and the environment, and of the intersections of all that we engage with. At the same time, the liberty to move unrestrainedly through all of these domains is influenced (often, dictated) by borders, boundaries, socio-cultural norms, law and our own inhibitions and fears. This issue of In Plainspeak while inviting us to embrace the joys and pleasure in movement, also questions the ways in which movements are facilitated or obstructed, visibilised or invisibilised, and the spaces that we must envision to find freedom in/to movement.
Re-imagining our conceptualisation of ‘movement’, Shikha Aleya fascinatingly weaves together the complexities in which movement and sexuality are interconnected. In expanding our understanding of movement to consider mindset, emotion, spirit, collective action and resistance, questions of disability and accessibility, Shikha also questions what kind of movement is required in order to create safe, inclusive and self-affirming spaces.
Further expanding – and exploring – the relation between movement and sexuality, award-winning poet and writer, dancer and performance artiste Tishani Doshi, in an interview with Shikha Aleya, speaks about her life that has always been in motion, even in stillness. In movement (and in stillness), Tishani sees ways to resist, to fight for our rights, to be visible and to occupy spaces, to decentre locations of power, and to find freedom and connections.
Taniya Mondal writes about how her movement has been influenced by societal gender norms, subjection to the male gaze, and ideals of beauty. In owning her movement, she finds the freedom to express herself authentically. Srishti Gupta reviews the Hindi-language film Dedh Ishqiya (2014) and connects the ways in which the motif of movement weaves through the narrative, choreography and cinematography to explore themes of desire, feminism and queer-positivity.
We feature two poetry submissions in our Fiction & Poetry section. Carol D’Souza, in her poems, traverses distances in love, desire, connections and time. Prithvijeet Sinha takes us to the realm that may lie beyond the movements of bodies in desire and pleasure.
In the Navintam section, we have a translation of Meghna Bohidar’s discussion on young bodies, which asks why people are threatened by adolescent sexuality. In exploring schools as spaces where the body is taught lessons on convention and shame, Meghna dwells upon discourses of shame that extend to the changes we experience as young people.
In the Video section, watch Tishani Doshi’s riveting performance of her haunting poem Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods – a powerful call to protest against and resist violence against girls.
In the ‘Did You Know?’ Corner, we link you to this article by The Print about a study that suggests that people in same-sex relationships choose greener forms of transportation.
We have pared down our mid-month issue on the theme of Movement and Sexuality – we will soon tell you why, after we tell you about what this mid-month issue contains.
We bring to you the Hindi translations of two previously published articles. In the first one, Japleen Pasricha tells us about travelling solo in India and around the world. While she recognises the privilege one needs to have in order to be able to travel, especially as a woman solo traveller, Japleen finds that the freedom to travel makes her feel empowered, courageous and determined. In the second article, Arpita Bohra writes about how dance movement therapy (DMT) opens up the possibility of freedom by letting the body move without any restrictions in order to express our emotions, to connect with our soul, to heal, and to resist.
We have curated two articles in the Blog Roll section that consider the various ways in which movement provides freedom. The first article, published in Feminism in India, is a comparative analysis of Rashid Jahan’s Urdu short story A Tour of Delhi (1932) and the Bollywood film Dolly Kitty Aur Woh Chamakte Sitare (2020). The article explores how depictions of women’s negotiation of movement, agency and freedom have changed over the decades. The second article, published in GenderIT.org, chronicles the author’s movements through digital and non-digital spaces that eventually set her off on the journey to become a feminist human rights lawyer working on the rights of LGBTIQ persons in Kenya.
In our Humour Corner, we bring you this fun and vibrant map by Agents of Ishq that provides a visual representation of words for ‘sauntering’ in various Indian regional languages.
Now, why have we pared down this mid-month issue? Quite simply because after publishing 102 issues of In Plainspeak we need a break! We will put out a Call for Submissions on our social media accounts once we are back.
Meanwhile, we would love to receive feedback about In Plainspeak from you, dear readers and contributors. Please do fill out this survey that will help us to enhance your experience of the magazine!
Do also delve into older In Plainspeak articles that you may have read or would like to read again.
Until we meet again, stay well and find joy!