Religion and Sexuality: A Study of Select Indian English Poets

Parveen, Rasheda (2018) Religion and Sexuality: A Study of Select Indian English Poets. PhD thesis.

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Religion and sexuality are closely related subjects and Indian English poets write on the backdrop of these issues to perform their identity and to project their political views. The present study investigates that religious boundaries are also sexual boundaries and simultaneously sexual boundaries relate religious discourses emphatically. The close association of these subjects set a background to many Indian poets who perform their alternative identity categories.

This project maps the work of select Indian English poets—Kamala Das (1934-2009), Agha Shahid Ali (1949-2001) and Hoshang Merchant (1947-Present)—who portray religion and sexuality in their volumes of poetry. The task of the project is two-fold: first, it examines the historical context by which sexual categories are structured into religious discourses and second it explores how within the framework of religion, sexuality and societal discourses, the poets structure an alternative canon in poetry.

Attributing a chapter to each of the three poets under study, the thesis further includes an introductory and a concluding chapter along with a comparative chapter that serves as a platform to analyse an integration of their performative existence both in life and art. Interpreting and comparing primary texts of the poets, the thesis incorporates historical and biographical materials and texts relating to critical, theological and philosophical theories to articulate the systemic responses of the minority poets to the atrocities of the heterosexist patriarchal society. In short, in Kamala Das the heterosexual patriarchal bond is broken in life and art to perform a sexuality or religion of her choice; the secret / private world in textuality finds an experimentation in Agha Shahid Ali’s ‘closeted’ writing where reminiscing the martyrs within oppressive and hegemonic rule encourages creation of a minority Sufi history; and in Hoshang Merchant it leads to an open sexual rebellion against the established religious, historical and literary boundaries to force upon an alternative home / homeland that is queer in its culture, ideology and practice. Presenting social and political interface through religion and sexuality within multiple poetic forms the poets voice their concerns against law, militant/military practices and philosophy of materialistic and power savvy patriarchy. In short, the study emphasizes upon the poets’ portrayal of their personal loses associating with racial, cultural and historical loses. And that it is their textual world that subsists for a liberated alternative space in parallel with or in competition with the existing patriarchal and subjugating world.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Religion, Sexuality, Indian Poetry, Homeland, Minoritarian Literature, Canon
Subjects:Humanities & Social Sciences > Gender studies
Humanities & Social Sciences > Literary and Cultural studies
Divisions: Social Sciences > Department of Humanities & Social Sciences
ID Code:9458
Deposited By:IR Staff BPCL
Deposited On:01 Oct 2018 10:58
Last Modified:01 Oct 2018 10:58
Supervisor(s):Rath, Akshaya K.

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