Nishit Saran

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Nishit Saran
Born 21 May 1976[1]
New Delhi, India[2]
Died April 23, 2002(2002-04-23) (aged 25)[1]
New Delhi, India[2]
Nationality Indian
Other names Nish Saran
Occupation Filmmaker, gay rights activist
Known for Summer in my veins

Nishit "Nish" Saran (21 May 1976 – 23 April 2002) was an Indian gay activist and filmmaker.[1] He is best known for the 1999 documentary film Summer in My Veins which screened at a number of film festivals.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Saran was born and raised in New Delhi to Lieutenant Colonel Raj Saran and Minna (a.k.a. Mina) Saran.[2][4] He completed his education at Army Public School, Dhaula Kuan and scored first on India's Senior Secondary Examination.[2] He had a brother, Mohit.[4]

In 1994 he enrolled to study filmmaking at Harvard University, having received a full scholarship.[5] He was active in Harvard’s Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender and Supporters’ Alliance.[2] In 1996 he was one of 123 sophomores awarded a Detur Book Prize,[6] Harvard's oldest academic honor presented to sophomores for receiving the highest grades during their first year. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa academic honors society.[7] Before Saran graduated summa cum laude in 1998,[5] he also was a teaching fellow for an intermediate film class.[2]

Career[edit]

Saran was both an essayist and an activist. In India he campaigned for gay rights, lecturing at colleges and contributing news articles, reviews, and essays to a number of Indian newspapers. His writing included the 8 February 2000 Indian Express piece "My sexuality is your business" attacking Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. Section 377 then included a provision criminalizing same-sex sexual activity which was stricken down in 2009.[8]

His best-known work was his film Summer in my veins, in which he captured his coming out to his mother on film.[9]

Personal life and demise[edit]

Saran resided in Noida.[4]

Saran was killed in a 2002 morning car accident caused by a drunk truck driver[10] (a hit-and-run incident[4]) at Lodhi Road in New Delhi near Connaught Place.[10] A total of five people were killed,[4] including Channel V video jockey Pooja Mukherjee.[11][10] He was 25 years old.

Following his death, his mother Minna Saran established the Nishit Saran Foundation.[8] She campaigned for the decriminalization of homosexuality in India, becoming a prominent gay rights activist.

Filmography[edit]

  • Project Flower : A short documentary commissioned by the Centre for AIDS Prevention Studies in San Francisco, about street children in the Nizamuddin area of Delhi.[12][13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Nish Saran at the Internet Movie Database
  2. ^ a b c d e f Pasternack, Alex L. (30 April 2002). "Graduate Known For Activist Films Dies". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved 19 July 2014. 
  3. ^ Release info for Summer in My Veins at the Internet Movie Database
  4. ^ a b c d e TNN (25 April 2002). "No more perfect days now". The Times of India. 
  5. ^ a b "Biography". The Nishit Saran Foundation. Archived from the original on 14 July 2011. Retrieved 13 November 2014. 
  6. ^ Grenade, Matthew W. (22 January 1996). "Sophomores Awarded Detur Book Prizes". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved 13 November 2014. 
  7. ^ "Harvard College Phi Beta Kappa". 
  8. ^ a b "Parents say 377 destroys families". Our Voices The Orinam Blog. 7 February 2011. 
  9. ^ "Out, Into The Spotlight". Indian Express. 16 July 1999. Retrieved 2008-09-05. 
  10. ^ a b c "SUMMER in my VEINS- 1999 Documentary short about a Gay Indian coming out to his mother on camera by Nishit Saran", Remains of the Desi blog, wordpress.com, 9 June 2007.
  11. ^ "'I want to celebrate her life'". The Times of India. 25 April 2003. Retrieved 2008-09-05. 
  12. ^ Court Document
  13. ^ Digital Talkies Film Festival, Zee Cinema