Love's Rite: Same-Sex Marriages in Modern India (Paperback)

Love's Rite: Same-Sex Marriages in Modern India By Vanita Ruth Cover Image
Available via Warehouse (7-10 Days)


Long before the debate on marriage equality began, young, non-English speaking, low-income female couples all over India got married by religious rites or committed joint suicide, which they considered being 'married in death.' These women had no contact with any movement and had never heard words like 'lesbian' or 'gay.' While many families, in collusion with police, violently separated the couples, several families also supported their daughters.

Love's Rite, first published in 2005, is the first and still the only book-length study of these unions, starting with one reported in 1980. The book argues that the couples asserted—and today still assert—their right to be together, using an age-old language of love understood by Indians. Vanita explores Indian religious, legal, and literary traditions that provide spaces for same-sex and other socially disapproved unions.

While many recent high-profile Indian weddings have been reported as the 'first' of their kind, Love's Rite celebrates the unsung pioneers and martyrs of the struggle for marriage equality.

About the Author

Ruth Vanita taught at Delhi University for twenty years and is now professor at the University of Montana. She was founding co-editor of Manushi 1978-90. She is the author of several books, including Sappho and the Virgin Mary: Same-Sex Love and the English Literary Imagination (1996); Gandhi's Tiger and Sita's Smile: Essays on Gender, Sexuality and Culture (2005), Gender, Sex and the City: Urdu Rekhti Poetry in India 1780-1870 (2012); Dancing with the Nation: Courtesans in Bombay Cinema (2017). (2017). She co-edited the pioneering Same-Sex Love in India: A Literary History (2000; updated edition 2020). Her first novel, Memory of Light, appeared in 2020.

She is the author of over sixty articles on British and Indian literature, and has translated many works of fiction and poetry from Hindi and Urdu to English, most notably Chocolate: Stories on Male-Male Desire by Pandey Bechan Sharma 'Ugra' (2008). She divides her time between Missoula, Montana and Gurgaon.

Praise For…

"Vanita offers a marvelously global perspective on our own 'gay marriage' debates - one characterized by profound historical understanding, impeccable scholarship, and a rare and delightful precision of feeling." —Terry Castle, editor of The Literature of Lesbianism: A Historical Anthology from Ariosto to Stonewall

"Read and be enlightened. Be enlightened and be educated about a great tradition that presents itself as an equal contributor of modern civilization. I urge you to read and keep this book carefully for it offers you a useful foundation to build a happier life. A life that knows its past can offer you a more secure future." —Ashok Row Kavi, gay activist and founder of Bombay Dost

"Ruth Vanita brings to same-sex love not clenched-teeth ideology, aggressive self-assertion hiding deeper insecurities, or the anguish of marginalization, but an effortless combination of empathy, moral conviction, and deep cultural sensitivity. This is an excellent work of scholarship that also makes delightful reading." —Ashis Nandy, Director, Center for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi, and author of The Intimate Enemy: Loss and Recovery of Self Under Colonialism

Product Details
ISBN: 9780144000593
ISBN-10: 0144000598
Publisher: India Penguin
Publication Date: August 1st, 2021
Pages: 280
Language: English