From the MIT Technology Review’s alumni notes comes this piece on Parmesh Shahani, CMS master’s class of 2005, a Financial Times “25 Indians to Watch” and author of the CMS thesis Disco Jalebi: An Ethnographic Exploration of Gay Bombay:
Mumbai is Shahani’s hometown and inspiration. He earned his first degree from Bombay University in finance in 1996, then a postgraduate diploma in film and television from the Xavier Institute of Communication in the same city. He reported news for the Bombay Times; founded FreshLimeSoda.com, India’s first online youth magazine; and worked in business development at Sony Entertainment Television. He got another degree, in education, in 2003, and won an award for promising teachers. And that was all before coming to MIT to pursue comparative media studies.
One topic that remains close to his heart is the issue of gay rights. During his stay in Boston, where he was openly gay for the first time in his life, Massachusetts became the first U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage. Inspired, he made homosexuality the subject of his graduate thesis. He returned to India and wrote Gay Bombay: Globalization, Love and (Be)Longing in Contemporary India. In 2009, India decriminalized homosexuality. Since then, Shahani has advocated for corporate diversity policies that specifically prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. He often speaks on LGBT-related issues at corporations including Google’s India office.
You can learn more about Shahani in his article Why Gay Employees Need to Come Out and his 2011 appearance at our Futures of Entertainment conference, where he spoke on a panel about “Cities and the Future of Entertainment”: