poetics, time, body disruption and marginally queer solutions

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Homosexual victim exposes the Delhi press
Homosexual victim exposes the Delhi press

In the case of a double murder in Delhi, it is the "dark underbelly" of print journalism rather than homosexuality that needs to be examined
Aniruddha Dutta

"Double Murder Outs Delhi's Gay Culture": On 14 August, Pushkin Chandra, the 38-year old son of a retired IAS officer and himself an USAID employee, was found dead along with his friend Kuldip, at the former's residence in Anand Lok, Delhi. They had returned from a party given by Pushkin's friend, Uffe Gartner, along two other men. Pornographic tapes of men engaged in same-sex activity were recovered from the site. Pushkin's car and several other belongings were missing. From then till the suspects were eventually arrested about two weeks later, the spotlight of the media rarely wavered from the case. If this seems astonishing in a city where murders are a dime a dozen - there were several other murders and at least one suicide reported around this period - the reasons are soon evident. The victims of the crime were homosexual. The murders opened up one whole tabooed area to the media, and it was clear that coverage would sell. From that very first day, when few fa! cts were available and the police was still very much in the dark, the media focus was relentlessly on a 'gay culture' which it portrayed as a source of endless sleaze. There was endless speculation regarding not only the sexual lives of the victims but also those of homosexual people in general. So the area of concern seemed not to be the fact that two young men had tragically died - but rather, as the Hindustan Times proclaimed in the headline announcing the crime - that the "double murder" outed "Delhi's gay culture."

What this article seeks to show is that it was not the murders which outed gay culture, but the media which did so - using the pretence of investigative journalism to paint a sordid picture around homosexuality which revealed not the truth but prejudice. The TOI stated, "Investigations into the Pushkin Chandra murder are throwing considerable light on the capital's dark underbelly."


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