Friday, March 4, 2011

Review of Intimate Others in The Telegraph

Intimate others: marriage and sexualities in India(Stree, Rs 450) edited by Samita Sen, Ranjita Biswas and Nandita Dhawan brings the institution of marriage within the purview of the social sciences. This collection of essays also takes into account factors that have challenged the “hegemonic status” of this institution in Indian society. The traditional image of the ‘Indian family’ has been disrupted by the growing influence of globalization and information technology, as well as by the increased “social visibility” of homosexual relationships and other forms of intimacy. The institution of marriage has also acquired explosive political significance in recent years: civil society in West Bengal was convulsed by the murder of Rizwanur Rehman, khap panchayats have been known to order the killing of young couples who married without the consent of the community, and public protests broke out when the tennis player, Sania Mirza, got engaged to Shoaib Malik, a Pakistani cricketer. Starting with a history of marriage in the 19th and early 20th centuries, this collection offers legal, cultural and psychological perspectives on marriage and the way in which it interacts with contemporary contexts.