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A collection of oral histories
of LGBT persons

9. Hoshang Merchant

Hoshang Merchant Hoshang has always been a rebel, he says, right from his
childhood in Mumbai in a Parsi household. He studied at
Purdue and then traveled extensively teaching and... looking
for life experiences - from US to Iran to Palestine. He returned
back to India but could not get a job. He was rejected by
several colleges and universities because he was openly gay
and unapologetically so. Finally he found his home at the
University Of Hyderabad where he continues to teach English
literature. The anthology he published 'Yaraana' was one of
the first queer writings to come out of India and he has more
than 25 books to his credit - of poems, essays and stories.
He is a rebel with a cause!

Vivek Anand

Concept, Interviews & Direction:
Sridhar Rangayan

project BOLO - vol1

Watch BOLO Video of Hoshang Merchant


Excerpts from BOLO Interview

Hoshang: I was pretending to study. I didn't study. Until I was
beaten up and left for dead one day. Bleeding on the street.
Street walking and then I said to my teacher that I want to
know everything there is to know, because I don't know when
I will die. And he said ok. Do whatever you want to do.
Because he was a clever man. He was in the Navy and he
knew what homosexuality was in the navy. Those war ships
I am told were floating gay brothels because there was
no island, no woman and nothing in sight between Japan
and San Francisco. (laughs) And now those histories are
coming out. Those histories were not written then.

Then I started studying because I knew I could be killed any
time. And my teacher, who knew that I was gay, who knew
about gay people, said, 'look Hoshi, you have to study,
because then you can articulate your angst… you can't
change anything, but you can articulate your angst which
animals and birds can't do and which makes you human…
so once you get your autonomy as a human being, then
the sky is the limit.'


India : Queer Ink
International : Amazon

Supported by
UNDP India
Produced by
The Humsafar Trust

Associate Producer
Solaris Pictures
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Adita BandopadhyayAshok Row KaviBetu SinghBindumadhav KhireDalip DaswaniGauri SawantGeeta KumanaGiti ThadaniHoshang MerchantJehangir Jani
LachiLaxmi Narayan TripathiManvendra Singh GohilNishaParmesh ShahaniR.Raj RaoRuth VanitaSaleem KidwaiShivananda KhanSunil Gupta


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