Siddharth Dube

   
No One Else
A Personal History of Outlawed Love and Sex

No One Else: A Personal History of Outlawed Love and SexA revelatory memoir about sex, oppression, and the universal struggle for justice.

From his time as a child in 1960s India, Siddharth Dube knew that he was different. Reckoning with his femininity and sexuality—and his intellect—would send him on a lifelong journey of discovery: from Harvard classrooms to unsafe cruising sites; from ivory-tower think-tanks to shantytowns; from halls of power at the UN and World Bank to jail cells where sexual outcasts are brutalized.

Coming of age in the earliest days of AIDS, Dube was at the frontlines when that disease made rights for gay men and for sex workers a matter of basic survival, pushing to decriminalize same-sex relations and sex work in India, both similarly outlawed under laws dating back to British colonial rule. He became a trenchant critic of the United States’ imposition of its cruel anti-prostitution policies on developing countries—an effort legitimized by leading American feminists and would-be do-gooders—warning that this was a 21st century replay of the moralistic Victorian-era campaigns that had spawned endless persecution of countless women, men, and trans individuals the world over.

Profound, ferocious, and luminously written, An Indefinite Sentence is both a personal and political journey, weaving Dube’s own quest for love and self-respect with unforgettable portrayals of the struggles of some of the world’s most oppressed people, those reviled and cast out for their sexuality. Informed by a lifetime of scholarship and introspection, it is essential reading on the global debates over sexuality, gender expression, and of securing human rights and social justice in a world distorted by inequality and right-wing ascendancy.

Download full version of author's notes

An expanded international edition will be released January 2019 by Atria/Simon&Schuster with the title An Indefinite Sentence

Shortlisted for the Crossword Jury Award and long-listed for the Tata Book of the Year Award

Excerpts:

An Indefinite Sentence
The Caravan

Are you a pansy?
The Caravan

The importance of being honest
Himal

Love & loathing in the US
DNA

 

Read The Nation essay

Read Times of India op-ed

Read Asian Age op-ed

 

REVIEWS:

"This searing memoir of a gay man from a country that criminalizes homosexuality is intertwined with a first-hand account of the struggle for basic human rights by gays as well as by women sex workers, two groups similarly outlawed in India. Dube unsparingly exposes a complex web of hypocrisy, corruption and brutality in this work of grave, vital importance."
KIRAN DESAI BOOKER PRIZE WINNER FOR THE INHERITANCE OF LOSS

"An extraordinary book that triumphs on many levels, personal and social … Above all, it is a sensual and passionate story about the search for love, the 'endless flowing river in the cave of man', that animates all our lives.”
SUDHIR KAKAR, PSYCHOANALYST

“An unflinchingly honest account of private marginalization that opens up to a bigger world of public and communal discrimination against sexual minorities, Dube’s book is intransigent in its truth-telling, eye-opening in its revelations, and capacious in its compassion.”
NEEL MUKHERJEE, BOOKER PRIZE FINALIST FOR THE LIVES OF OTHERS

"A frank personal memoir of a sex life hedged round with stigma and legal constraint -- in both India and the U. S. -- Siddharth Dube's An Indefinite Sentence is also a much larger book: an outraged story of how law and culture interfere with, but can potentially support, human lives. A globally recognized activist for the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, Dube has channeled his personal struggle into committed advocacy on behalf of others -- not only sexual minorities but also sex workers. Eloquent, fascinating, and profoundly moving."
MARTHA C. NUSSBAUM, PHILOSOPHER

“An Indefinite Sentence bears witness to the long struggle against homophobia; it is also a vital, up to date record of gay rights and AIDS relief activism worldwide. Its rich perspective makes clear that anyone who still thinks criminalising sex work is an effective strategy to uphold human dignity needs to read this moving, impressive and necessary book.”
PRETI TANEJA, DESMOND ELLIOT PRIZE WINNER FOR WE THAT ARE YOUNG

"Journalist-activist Siddharth Dube's memoir…is both a personal and political journey. In recounting his own painful realisation that he is different, he provides a scathing indictment of the education system, particularly the tony Doon School, of the country's policy on AIDS, the political establishment's attitude to homosexuality and the deep-seated hypocrisy surrounding prostitution not just in India but also in the West…His ability to relate to others who are oppressed is moving and memorable."
KAVEREE BAMZAI, INDIA TODAY

"The importance of this work as an authentic, essential record of our lives and times can hardly be overstated....(a) masterful union of memoir and reportage," VIKRAMAJIT RAM, BIBLIO

"A discerning treatment of an otherwise unavailable social history...Dube gives us a full-blooded autobiography, tracing out the development of a coherent personhood and its bearings in the world; life shared as the honing of a perspective. Its structure is consummate." SALIM YUSUFJI, THE BOOK REVIEW

"Rich, thoughtful...exacting and moving in both its personal and political dimensions."
SUPRIYA NAIR, MINT

"Probably one of the most important (books for our times)…Both fierce and tender, it will leave the reader enraged and heartened."
NANDINI NAIR, HINDU BUSINESS LINE

"Deftly merges the personal and political…Alongside the beautifully told stories, often painful, and often uplifting, of his closest friendships and relationships, Dube addresses the hypocrisies of the World Bank and UNAIDS, where he worked, and the brutal way that consensual sex work is criminalised in India."
SHREYA ILA ANASUYA, SCROLL

"The year's best books....journalist Siddharth Dube's brave, sensitively told coming-of-age account as an upper class gay man and the persecution he faced."
SUNIL SETHI, BUSINESS STANDARD

"The reader does not merely get acquainted with an eventful life, but gets a rare insight into wider social, political and historical realities...This is powerful reading, indeed essential reading."
UDAYAN DHAR, PINKPAGES

"A story that spawns decades, that brings together a massive range of actors, and that intersects with the story of other movements...The narrative finally revealed to us is the contemporary history of three major intersecting movements  -- sex worker rights, rights of persons living with HIV/AIDS, and LGBT rights --  as seen through the eyes of the author...both an important chronicle of struggles by sexual outlaws, and an impassioned testament..."
DANISH SHEIKH, SABRANG

"Dube takes a real hard look at our schools, homes and hearts in his candid book."
SAMHITA CHAKRABORTY, THE TELEGRAPH

"Searing prose...Dube’s story goes from being the story of one gay man to become a story about how a 'silent and secretive minority' becomes increasingly vocal and articulate."
ARVIND NARRAIN, INDIAN EXPRESS

"Incisive analysis...fleshed out in vivid detail."
RATNABIR GUHA, TELEGRAPH

"Dube is privileged and a pariah at the same time. It is this insider-outsider perspective, the difficult choices he made, and his deep empathy with those less privileged that gives the 300-plus pages of the book their punch."
PATRALEKHA CHATTERJEE, ASIAN AGE

"This courageous memoir could have been written by no one else."
GEETANJALI KRISHNA, BUSINESS STANDARD

"An intimate account of growing up as a homosexual...But it’s equally a history of the gay, lesbian, transgender and sex workers’ rights movement in India...(and) also an insider report on the global fight against HIV." 
SUCHETA DASGUPTA, VIEWS ON NEWS

"A memoir which is as courageous as it is candid…a powerful testament for anyone who wants to live and love on one's own terms."
KAVAREE BAMZAI, DAILY-O

"More than a memoir of a gay man’s life growing up in India and the United States...a firsthand account of the lives of sexual minorities in these two countries."
ANKUSH ARORA, REUTERS


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