The Perils of Becoming a Gopī

In November 2005 Indian newspapers and television news channels were dominated by a hitherto unremarkable official, D.K. Panda, an Inspector-General of Police from Uttar Pradesh. What was newsworthy was that Panda had announced himself to be Rādhā and had begun to appear in his office dressed as a woman, not only wearing long skirts and makeup, but also anklets, bangles, and a nose ring. A story emerged that some years ago, Panda had experienced a vision of Kṛṣṇa, who had revealed to the Inspector that he was, in reality, Rādhā. Panda renamed herself Doosri Radha (“Second Radha”), dressed as a woman, and began to worship Kṛṣṇa by dancing and singing.1 Although much of the news coverage of Doo

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