Interview: Dhalla on Lata’s Indelible Influence

Lata Mangeskhar — the saintly lady in white, unmarried, devoted to her art, almost prudish — is an unlikely guiding diva for queers, but in some sense she was like Edith Piaf to French or Barbara Streisand to Americans. Sandip Roy interviews Dhalla for KALW to explore Lata’s indelible influence. Listen HERE

The Indian Express, Free Press Journal name “The Exiles” as one of the must-read books to celebrate Section 377

On Sept 6th, India’s Supreme Court decriminalised homosexuality as it struck down Section 377. India’s leading daily newspapers, The Indian Express and The Free Press Journal both listed Dhalla’s novel “The Exiles” (HarperCollins) as part of their list of must-read books reflecting the LGBTQ journey.

In a response to The Telegraph, another leading paper, Dhalla said, “By making this groundbreaking decision, the Supreme Court has taken an important step in dismantling the “closet” which is destructive not only to LGBTQ people, but equally to heterosexuals. When people are not given the dignity and freedom to live authentically, they create a web of deceit that impacts not only their own lives, but also the lives of other people and the society they inhabit. Cases of partners who feel duped and betrayed when they discover their spouses are gay are not unusual, and often, we blame only the so-called deceitful, closeted individual. But, are we also not to blame as a society for refusing to recognize their right to live freely and proudly, and thereby enforcing the closet?

“Let’s be clear on one thing: Hinduism has never seen homosexuality as a religious sin. The normalcy of same-sex desire, which had always been evident — even celebrated — in Hindu scriptures was perverted only recently by the British, who ironically, have long moved on from their own draconian laws.  It’s about time that India, too, which is doing such a commendable job of recognizing the destruction that colonialism caused, shake off this legacy of human oppression.”

The full list of recommended books on The Indian Express can be found HERE and The Free Press Journal HERE.

Nostalgia and Desire in “Ode to Lata” – LiterAfrica (Spain)

LiterAfrica (Spain) highlights Oda a Lata, the Spanish version of Dhalla’s critically-acclaimed debut novel, Ode to Lata (Baphala Ediciones) in their August 2018 issue.

“Ali (the protagonist) has come a long way from his native Kenya to a hostile Los Angeles. His life is divided between his love for his mother’s curries, his devotion to the filmi music of the great Lata Mangeshkar and his desire to belong to a society that doesn’t seem to notice his presence. The author weaves a story that is torn between the crudest realism and fragments of a quasi-dreamlike nature…nostalgia mingles with the desire for freedom. Ali never finds what he had come for and never gets rid of what he was escaping.” — M.J. Lorenzo

Full Spanish article below:

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