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Contents: Masculinities in Urban India (Issue 35)

Contents: Masculinities in Urban India (Issue 35)

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Contributors

Contributors

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Guest-Editorial: Masculinities in Urban India: Of contradictions, dilemmas and uncertainties

By Madhura Lohokare
Almost three decades after liberalisation of the Indian economy, its cities also manifest this contradictory mix of entrenched inequalities and the possibility of creative contestations of the same. This issue of Café Dissensus hopes to turn our attention to the ways in which the city is relevant to how men’s gendered identities are imagined, performed, and disrupted.

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Anxieties of “Dabanggai”: Tales from Delhi’s Urban Villages

By Sushmita Pati
Baithaks have been an extremely important social marker for the Jat patriarch, signifying the luxury of not having to be employed for their sustenance. The ‘office’ was a poor replacement of that. I realised soon, that I, as an urban-looking woman researcher, could only be an uncomfortable presence in their offices; all discussions would automatically stop as I walked into many of these offices, and would not resume as long as I was in the room.

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Reclaiming “Manliness”: Reflections on growing up in Delhi

By Soheb Niazi
While an elite school in Delhi could not always foster a dynamic subversion of gender norms, my middle class Muslim upbringing had its own nuanced set of engagements with them. At home, I was always my mother’s boy, nurtured with love and adoration into being an obedient and sensitive boy.

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Smuggler City to Smart City: Masculine City-Making on the Urban Periphery

By Lalitha Kamath and Radhika Raj
By 2009, the transformation of both Thakur and Vasai Virar was rendered complete by the formation of the democratically elected Vasai Virar Municipal Corporation. With this, the former don became the business tycoon cum ruling patriarch and Vasai Virar was projected as the next “smart city”.

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Exclusionary Masculinities: Exploring caste, class, and gender bias in urban Indian gay men

By Vishal Tondon
In this essay, I discuss how upper and middle class urban gay masculinities in India are constructed on a model of homonormativity (modelling of gay masculinities on traditionally accepted male gender expressions), thus consolidating a certain hegemonic idea of masculinity, which suppresses masculinities and gender non-conforming identities from lower castes.

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‘Tis Not Just a Laughing Matter: A Conversation with Chris M. Kurian

By Madhura Lohokare
As the stand-up comedy scene has literally exploded in the last few years, several male stand-up comedians have emerged as icons, which prodded our curiosity of who these men are and what kind of changes do they represent in middle class masculinity.

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There are Stories and then there are Stories

By By Nina Koshy and Ayona Dasgupta
For me, the most enduring image of our edit meetings every day is that of a room with glass doors with seven-eight men deciding what should go on what page. I often wonder may be this is why a story of malnourishment is often rejected for a story on prison break. A male editor once told me, “Give me crime and kuppai (garbage) and I can print your city pages.

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Working with Paradoxes: A critical feminist engagement with men’s rights groups

By Ridhima Sharma
In a moderately-sized hall in a three-star hotel on the outskirts of Mumbai, a “counter-revolution” was brewing. This was a conference by, of, and for the 200 odd Men’s Rights Activists (henceforth, MRAs) from various NGOs across the country, all of which are part of the umbrella group, ‘Save Indian Family’ (SIF). The occasion was the 7th National SIF Meet. The choice of date was not accidental – it symbolized the resolve of the MRAs to free themselves from the clutches of “autocratic feminist rule”.

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Narrating Men, Narrating the City: An interview with Kanu Behl

By Madhura Lohokare
Titli has won several awards including a nomination in the Un Certain Regard category at Cannes. In this interview, Behl revisits his characters and their spaces and the ways in which his own narrative as a man is enmeshed with the shaping of his characters.

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Manhood in the Age of Hindutva: Notes from the challis of industrial Ahmedabad

By Rubina Jasani
In the context of Ahmedabad, research has demonstrated how collective violence brings together the nation, the neighbourhood, and the bodies of participants and how public spaces are being expansively appropriated by the Hindu right to display violent rewriting of the mainstream city’s landscape as a sacred, national, and Hindu space. This essay attempts to locate Dalit men within this narrative of the city, in order to understand their relationship to the Hindutva ideology.

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Duped by the God-Trick: How feminism changed the way I look at body-image research

By Paras Sharma
It was in the second semester of my Master’s Degree in Counselling Psychology, when the idea of studying how people are treated differently on the basis of their looks, and the impact that has on them, came to me as a potential focus area for my Master’s Dissertation. As I went on to read more about the issue, I realized that our perceptions of the way others may view our physical appearance influence the way we view our bodies tremendously. This, I learned, was called ‘Body Image’.

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Loafers, Punters, and Romeos: Reading Bhau Padhye’s “Vasunaaka” and “Raada”

By Madhura Lohokare
Although by no means a review of his oeuvre, this essay is an attempt to introduce Padhye specifically as a chronicler of men in the city (and as shaped by the city) by presenting a few vignettes from his writings.

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