Swagat M Shah, well known LGBT activist from Surat, Gujarat, died of a heart attack in the morning today. Swagat was the main force behind organising the first gay pride parade in Gujarat at Surat last year, and could also be seen taking active part in pride marches and other pride events in various cities, including Mumbai and Kolkata.
As news of his death spread, friends and activists from all over the country started pouring in their condolence messages and expressing their shock at the sudden and sad demise. Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival remembered him in a post that they put up on their page, “We are deeply saddened by the sudden demise of Swagat M Shah – he was such a gentle wonderful person, always with a smile and a helping hand. He also mobilized the LGBT community in Gujarat to hold the pride march in Ahmadabad. He was also a great supporter of KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival travelling to the festival every year and also financially contributing to the festival.”
Swagat’s WhatsApp status reads, “My Heart dances like Peacock in rains, 100s feelings therein, spring up like its feathers, my restless mind, looking @skies, searching 4 some1” [sic]. His death leaves a big vacuum and is a huge loss for the LGBT community of Gujarat, and India. He was a guiding light for many in the state, standing by them in the hours of crisis and providing them support.