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Ambedkar: Activitst/Intellectual

Parmesh Shahani Talk Series

Parmesh Shahani’s career spans the fields of academia, media and the corporate world. His first book “Gay Bombay: Globalization, Love and (Be)Longing in Contemporary India” presents a fascinating archive of queer living in the city in the early 2000s. Among his many ventures, Parmesh founded and ran the India Culture Lab, an experimental ideas space, from 2011 to 2021. In his words, the lab was a “unique public space that cross-pollinated people and ideas from across academia, business and the creative industries to explore the textured nature of Indian modernity”. This experience of running the lab, along with his other projects and engagements, produced a set of interesting conceptual frames to think about the question of inclusion of queer persons in Indian corporate spaces, that ultimately became his second book “Queeristan: LGBTQ Inclusion in the Indian Workplace”. Published in 2020, the book received the CK Prahalad Award for Best Business Book of 2021. Alternatively panoramic and intimate, Parmesh distils nearly two decades of work into a powerful portrait of being queer at work in India in the 21st century that doubles as an agenda for the future. In his conversation with the students of Maharashtra National Law University Mumbai, Parmesh spoke about the major themes in Queeristan. A lightly edited transcript of the talk follows:

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