Sexuality and private Citizen’s Engagement with State and Law
Krishna Menon
COURTING DESIRE: LITIGATING FOR LOVE IN NORTH INDIA by Rama Srinivasan Duke to Rutgers, 2020, 216 pp., $ 34.95
September 2021, volume 45, No 9

Courting Desire: Litigating for Love in North India is a book that attempts very successfully to capture the nuances of change and contestations in Haryana through the lens of youthful desire and love that transgresses caste/gotra/religion and courts the legal process to gain societal acceptance and legitimacy.  This process is far from being smooth. Rama Srinivasan in this rich ethnographic study provides us with glimpses of the many challenges, negotiations and limitations of the legal process when it intersects love and desire in an agrarian society that is undergoing rapid social and economic transformation. This book is part of a series that interrogates the politics of marriage and gender, ethnic, national, religious, racial, and class identities in order to map the ways in which the changes in social and political differences, inequalities and conflicts are mapped by various societies.

The politics of marriage (and divorce) is a very effective way to unravel and comprehend the social tensions and conflicts. It is fairly ubiquitous, inter race couples—even the British royalty has been subjected to scrutiny on this count, when Prince Harry married American bi-racial actor Meghan Markle.  The politics of marriage not only amplifies existing social tensions and inequalities, but it also intersects with migration patterns, globalization, human trafficking and other factors. Srinivasan’s book examines the challenges of young men of Haryana being compelled to bring in brides from other parts of India and the resulting social challenges.

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