This book is about home, and I have many people to thank for making
me feel at home both intellectually and emotionally in disparate loca-
tions, across many coasts and continents. The beginnings of this project date
back to the early days of South Asian progressive activism in New York City in
the late 1980s and 1990s. I feel privileged to have been part of a community
of scholars, activists, and artists that made queer/progressive South Asian cul-
ture and politics coalesce during those years. Among them are Ayisha Abra-
ham, Haresh Advani, Faraz Ahmed, Radhika Balakrishnan, Vivek Bald, Ta-
mina Davar, Sharmila Desai, David Kalal, Anita Nayar, and Saeed Rahman.
Rekha Malhotra and Geeta Javeri generously shared their passion for and
encyclopedic knowledge of South Asian popular music with me. I have bene-
fited from Javid Syed’s brilliance as both an activist and scholar; much of my
thinking on queer representation in popular Indian cinema is indebted to our
joint clip show and lecture presentation, ‘‘Desi Dykes and Divas: Alternative
Sexualities in Popular Indian Cinema,’’ originally commissioned by the 1997
Lesbian and Gay Film Festival in New York City. Chandan Reddy’s friendship
and intellectual generosity have greatly enhanced the quality of both my life
and work.
Ann Wightman and Indira Karamcheti at Wesleyan University provided me
early on with a model of impassioned and committed pedagogy that has stayed
with me to this day. As a graduate student at Columbia University, I was
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