The 1st Queer candidate to contest JNU elections

Saradha Natarajan

Gourab Ghosh is the first Queer candidate to take part in JNU elections. Ghosh was pursuing his Master’s degree in English in the University in the year of 2006-2009. When Ghosh joined JNU, there were no separate washrooms or hostels in the university for the LGBTQ+, but a lot has changed in these years. 7 years later after Gourab joined the college, he became the first homosexual candidate to contest in elections in the university in 2013. Gourab was the first openly Gay candidate to contest the elections in a university.
Gourab Ghosh
Ghosh’s idea of standing in the election was to create a safe space for the entire LGBTQ+ community in the university. But unfortunately, Gourab did not win the elections that year. Though he did not become the student union president, Gourab continued to be a queer activist. As a theatre artist he used the medium to fight for LGBT rights. Gourab is currently pursuing his Ph.D in the university and will continue fighting for LGBTQ+ inclusiveness in the university.
In an interview, Gourab said that the queer politics has changed in his university. He said, “In 2005, a queer collective was formed in the university named Anjuman but at the time I joined I was still exploring my sexuality but did not have the time because the club had died by then.”  Gourab Ghosh in the year of 2008, organized a screening that involved a lot of movies from queer artists and activists.


Hasratein – the 3rd queer collective in JNU was very successful. The university was then mobilized to the idea of homosexuality, Ghosh said, “If it is not institutionalized or accepted then to nurture the queer collective will become difficult in the institution.” Ghosh said that his idea was to instill the sense and culture of the LGBT community in the campus. During the time of his election in 2013, Gourab campaigned that if the students voted for him (i.e.) a gay man, he will be able to initiate several programs regarding queer issues on campus. Though he lost the elections, Ghosh continued to work for the LGBT community in the university. He mentioned that the campus Queer collective was not only for students but it should also be opened to the staffs and teachers. In 2015, a rainbow walk in the campus was inspired by Ghosh and it became a symbol of the university.


Ghosh while speaking about the importance of queer politics said, “I do not think India has something called a queer struggle movement. Every struggle that the LGBT community goes through is the struggle of queer rights in India.” He said that the queer rights are a part of political rights and everyone has to create a solidarity to fight for queer rights and inclusiveness.


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