Shalmalee Palekar, 39
Professor Of Post-Colonial Studies, University Of Western Australia (Perth)
By Shonali Ghosal
CHITRA PALEKAR’S 21-year-old daughter Shalmalee, just out of college, came up to her one afternoon, and came out. It was her own ignorance that caught Chitra by surprise rather than her daughter’s homosexuality. “Though we call ourselves liberal and progressive, it made me think. If I don’t understand this world, it’ll create a barrier between me and her.” She took it upon herself to understand homosexuality, through books like Different Daughters and Facing the Mirror that Shalmalee gifted her. She asked questions, met her friends and explored homosexuality through the familiar media of theatre and cinema. “For me, this is a minority issue except there’s no religion. Theoretically, she had no legal rights; she was a criminal, which I take strong objection to.” The parents’ petition was a way to voice her protest.
Shonali Ghosal is a Correspondent with Tehelka.