Asian & Pacific Islander American Studies
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In November 2020, Indian celebrity Milind Soman posted a picture of himself on social media, which showed him running naked on a beach. He was charged with obscenity. This article considers the time and place of Soman’s act over the alleged impropriety. The photograph was taken on a beach in Goa, the tropical setting serving as a pleasure periphery to India which annexed the region in 1961. Accordingly, a longer history of states of undress in Indian advertising, filmmaking, and tourism are considered here to apprehend how Goa has been posited in the Indian imagination as a destination for wanton self-gratification while local realities are undermined. The article thus interrogates what it means for Goa, whose economy is overly dependent on tourism, to serve as a vacation spot during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially when, in 2020, it had among the highest number of virus-related deaths in the country (Dias, 2020, par. 4). Using the metaphor of the celebrity who has no qualms about running naked and unmasked in Goa, this article enquires into what such events leave unrevealed in the economic requirement that some locales function as holiday destinations, even in the midst of a pandemic.
Ferrão, R. Benedito, Running Naked and Unmasked in Goa: Pleasure in the Pandemic (2021). eTropic, 20(1), 134-156.