Bhupen Khakhar: A Story (Gujarati)

  • Saleem Kidwai


Internationally renowned painter Bhupen Khakhar was born in 1934. He is also a gifted writer of Gujarati fiction and drama. One of the few Indian celebrities to have spoken openly to the press about his homosexuality and the homoerotic themes in his work, he explains how when he was younger he kept his homosexuality a secret from friends and family: “I was very much ashamed of my sexuality. … Up to 1975 I felt that if my friends knew I am gay, I was prepared to commit suicide. … After my visit to England in 1979, I saw that homosexuality was accepted.”1 His increasingly stable attachment to his friend Vallavbhai also encouraged him to speak openly, and the death of his mother in 1980, itself a severe blow, allowed him a new freedom of public action. The untitled story translated here was first published in Kriti magazine in April 1968 and is typical in its understated depiction of a lower-middle-class man’s ease with his bisexuality, double life, and liaison with a peon. It is remarkable too for its exposure of how alternative familial arrangements are often masked as conventional ones.


Married Life Lotus Leaf Stable Attachment Double Life Severe Blow 
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  1. 1.
    Timothy Hyman, Bhupen Khakhar (Bombay: Chemould, 1998), 68.Google Scholar

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© Ruth Vanita and Saleem Kidwai 2000

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  • Saleem Kidwai

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