Women in Love in Bangladesh
Lipika Pelham investigates a marriage between two Bengali women, and asks what this extraordinary love story says about attitudes to sexuality in this conservative nation.
Sanjida, a 20-year-old Muslim student was hired as a tutor for Puja, a 16-year-old Hindu girl in a sleepy town in south-west Bangladesh. To the horror of Puja’s parents the girls fell in love, eloped and got married outside a Hindu temple by exchanging garlands of flowers.
Shortly after that the police tracked them down and the officer in charge said he was “stunned to discover this was a lesbian case.” Sanjida was arrested and she spent several months in police custody charged with kidnapping. Lipika Pelham investigates this lesbian love story and asks what it says about attitudes to sexuality in this conservative majority Muslim South Asian nation.
(Photo: The lovehouse where Sanjida and Puja started out their married lives together)