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Arts

India's drag queens put politics front and center

Their performances carry messages against Hindu nationalism and gender oppression

Performing as Maya the Drag Queen, Bangalore-based Alex Mathew addresses gender equality and transgender empowerment through adaptation of folk tales. (Courtesy of Alex Mathew)

NEW DELHI -- Covering her face in a red gamchha, a piece of cloth used by daily wage workers in India to protect themselves from the tropical summer heat, drag queen S.A.S. sings sadly in the regional Bhojpuri language: "The train takes away my husband, let the city where the train takes him catch fire."

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