Presentation on theme: "LM/37 LINGUE E LETTERATURE EUROAMERICANE Curriculum: Culture e letterature dei paesi di lingua inglese L-LIN/10 LETTERATURE DEI PAESI di LINGUA INGLESE."— Presentation transcript:
LM/37 LINGUE E LETTERATURE EUROAMERICANE Curriculum: Culture e letterature dei paesi di lingua inglese L-LIN/10 LETTERATURE DEI PAESI di LINGUA INGLESE I 1 CORSO (CFU 8) Prof. Rossella Ciocca
LIndia metropolitana: Mumbai tra letteratura e cinema Il corso si propone di introdurre gli studenti alla letteratura indiana di lingua inglese. Dopo aver affrontato il tema dellorigine e del consolidamento di una letteratura anglofona nel subcontinente, il corso dedicherà particolare attenzione allimmaginario metropolitano indiano con particolare riferimento alla città di Mumbai.
Primary texts Aravind Adiga, Last Man in Tower, London, Atlantic Books, 2011 Salman Rushdie, The Moors Last Sigh, London, Vintage, 1996 Suketu Mehta, Maximum City. Bombay Lost and Found, London, Review, 2004 (part I Power, part II Pleasure)
criticism Priyamvada Gopal, The Indian English Novel. Nation, History, and Narration, Oxford and New York, Oxford U. P., 2009 (fotocopies) B. D. Metcalf and T. R. Metcalf, A Concise History of India, Cambridge, Cambridge U. P., 2002 A. Appadurai, Modernity at Large, Minneapolis and London, Minnesota U. P., 1996 (Chapters 2, 3) Rossella Ciocca, Mother India and Paradise Lost: myth, history, and fiction in the city of Mumbai in Indiascapes. Images and words from globalized India (UNO, /2)
Filmografia Salaam Bombay by Mira Nair, 1988 Maqbool by Vishal Bardwaj, 2004 Slumdog Millionaire by Danny Boyle, 2008
INDIA: MOSAIC OF IDENTITIES LINGUISTIC VARIETY Indian languages, 2 main families: Indo-European (Hindi, Urdu, Hindustani, Punjabi, Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati, Assamese, Kashmiri, Sindhi etc.) and Dravidian (Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam et al.) RELIGIOUS PLURALITY Hinduism, Islamism, Christian creeds, Sikkism, Jainism, Buddhism, Animism, Parseeism (Zoroastrianism)
Indian religions distribution
Indo-Arian and Dravidian
PLURAL but RIGID SOCIAL STRUCTURE Caste: endogamous group or collection of groups bearing a common name and having the same traditional occupation, sharing the tradition of a common origin and common tutelary deities. BRAHMANA (priests; today intellectuals and managers) mouth KSHATRYA (warriors and kings) arms VAISYA (land owners, traders) legs SHUDRA (hand workers, peasants, servants,) feet Outcast people: dalit (broken, oppressed) Harijan (Gods son) introduced by Gandhi
The division of society into four colours or castes (Varna) was developed in the Vedic period. (described in Manus code).The God Brahma created the primeval man from clay. The 4 varna derived from his limbs.
Origins of the system of castes Main literary works of the Vedic period (ancient age, c B.C.) Rig-Veda (hymns, prayers and spells) Upanishads (explanatory comments on sacred texts) Mahabharata and Puranas (epic narrations)
The main story of Mahabharata deals with a conflict several generations long over dynastic succession in the Bharata family that is told in about stanzas. The epic in its textual form contains numerous interpolated commentaries on matters of religion and philosophy, genealogy, history, folklore, and myth that quadruple its length to about stanzas. Through oral transmission the epic saw an almost never-ending accretion.
Indian History ANCIENT INDIA Traces of man from early Paleolithic Aryan invasion theory (recently questioned): about the middle of II millennium B.C. India was invaded from northwest by the Aryans who established in the subcontinent a unifying civilization. The gradual change of color from light to dark skin as we move southwards fits in with a pattern of invasion which gradually pushed the previous populations before it. On the other hand modern excavations brought to light the existence of urban civilizations, antedating the Aryan period, extensively devoted to trade with Mesopotamia (about B.C.)
INDUS VALLEY OR HARAPPAN CIVILIZATION
The Aryans original home possibly south Russia pastoral and agricultural people living in villages made no attempt to occupy the cities they overcame inferior in material civilization superior in political and military organization
ARYAN INVASION OF INDIA ARYAN MIGRATIONS
ARYANS AND DRAVIDIANS
The Aryan civilization moved eastward Sanskrit emerged as national language VI century B.C. end of the Vedic period, a new intellectual and spiritual climate see the rise of Buddhism and Jainism B.C. Alexander the Great s invasion in North-west India
ALEXANDER the Greats invasion of India
180 B.C. – 200 A.D. foreign invasions in northern India (Greeks, Parthians, Tukhara) III century classical age of Indian civilization Literature, art, science and philosophy evolved the forms they were to retain in successive years Northern India was reunited under the dynasty of the Guptas.
Guptas dynasties Gupta reignsClassic art
A.D. Dynastic rivalries, northern India was divided into a number of separate states (the Arab conquest of Sind in 712 was merely an episode and it was not until Islam had been firmly established in the area of modern Afghanistan that the Moslem conquest of India became possible)
ISLAMIC INDIA XIII- XVI cent. The Sultanate of Delhi was ruled by 5 successive dynasties (Metcalf, p ) In XIV cent. the sultanate attained its greater extent reaching Kashmir. After that it began to decline and divide into different regional reigns. Incursions led by Tamerlane occurred in 1399.
Sultanate of delhi
Mughal India 1526 beginning of the Mogul Empire Babur descended from Tamerlane and Jenghiz Khan, his ambition was to recover the territories of the vast Mongolian empire. Ousted from central Asia he had to take refuge in Afhganistan from which he attacked India. At his death in 1530 he controlled the greater part of northern India.
Phases of Mughal empires
Akbar ( ) was the greatest Mogul emperor extending his dominions, practising a conciliatory policy towards Hindu subjects
Shah Jahan (reigns , imprisoned by his son ) patronized culture, the arts and architecture Taj mahal, regal tomb and the red fort of Agra
Aurangzeb ( ) is considered the chief cause of the decline of Mogul empire for his political as well as religious intolerance and bigotry. Hindus were excluded from public office, some of their schools and temples were destroyed, the tax on non-Moslems was reintroduced.
The successors were puppets controlled by favourites and court factions, Northern India was invaded by Nadir shah of Persia (Peacock throne and Koh-i-Nor diamond were ransacked). Foreign invasion were not the causes but the symptoms of Mogul decline.
Babur the conqueror and the decadent last emperor
Mughal islamic art miniaturesMosaics, majolica
Mughal Art (refined court life) watercolor
COLONIAL INDIA: european settlements Portoguese India The quest for India was begun by Portugal. In 1498 Vasco da Gama anchored off Calicut, in 1500 Cochin became the first trading headquarters in India, Goa became the capital of Portuguese possessions.
British Raj in XIXth century A mix of direct and indirect rule
The English East India Company was established in In the first half of XVII cent. it obtained various concessions from the Mogul Empire: first trading posts were Surat, Agra, then Calcutta and later on Bombay. The commercial settlements were soon fortified. Rivalry arose with the Portuguese, defeated by the English fleet. In XVIII cent. the European rivals were English, French and Dutch. Gradually the East India company emerged as the dominant authority: it was able to obtain the concession to collect and administer the revenues in Bengal, Bihar and Orissa paying the emperor an annual tribute.
Indian Mutiny 1857 the great revolt of the Bengal native army led to transference of government to the crown. Due to many causes it was accompanied by rebellion of the population and some of chieftains. The pretext for revolt was the introduction of a new rifle whose cartridges, lubricated with pigs and cows grease, had to have their ends bitten off by the sepoys. Indian Mutiny Or Indian Rebellion
1858 Government of India act 1876 Victoria Empress of India The British empire Culture education politics society economy Pros? Unification of the country Codification of laws Use of English as vehicular language Cultural vitality of anglicised élites Technological development (trains, telegraph, mail service) Social reforms (age of consent bill, abolition of sati) Unified Educational system Paternalism Racism (town conception, admission to civil service) Militarism, authoritarianism (Amritsar massacre) Exploitation (colonial economy) Reinforcement of caste system and religious divisions (divide et impera) Against
Bharatmata, Mother India
Towards independence: Gandhian non violent movement II world war The Congress and the Muslim League India Pakistan and civil war
In 1946 after a series of violent riots and fights between Hindu –Sikhs and Muslims, the Congress Party decided to accept the request of the Muslim League for a separate and independent Muslim state. The British authorities were informed and in three months Sir Cyril Radcliffe drew Wagah (successively sadly known as the line of hatred)
The narration of the nation: Gandhi and Nehru, the noble fathers of the nation 1947 Nehru A Tryst with Destiny
The narration of the nation India The bright side: Independence celebrations The dark side: Partition and civil war
We crossed the border at Wagah. I dont know what I had been expecting. Blue rivers and green plains, tigers and elephants, forest- covered mountains. All the wonders we had been promised about the Indian side. But the landscape didnt change. It had the same scrub and wild brush, the same dirt and heat. (Manil Suri, The Age of Shiva)
Muslims said the Hindus had planned and started the killing. According to the Hindus, the Muslims were to blame. The fact is, both sides killed. Both shot and stabbed and speared and clubbed. Both tortured. Both raped. (K. Singh, Train to Pakistan) The territorial wound
INDEPENDENT INDIA 1948 Gandhi murdered by a Hindu fundamentalist Nehru and the new Indian order, Zamindari abolition (V. Seth, A Suitable Boy) Gandhis Dynasty Indira Gandhi (remove poverty campaign) Emergency
Sanjay Gandhis child birth control (Rohinton Mistry, A Fine Balance) Communalist policy, The golden temple of Amritsar assassination by Sikh bodyguard Rajiv Gandhis economic liberalism, communalist policy and assassination by Tamil terrorist
CONTEMPORARY INDIA Vivacity and contrasts Liberalism in economy, technological innovation, cultural globalization, backward castes policy, religious tensions, nuclear weapons, Kashmir unsolved question, female emancipation and persecution (S. Rusdie, Indias 50 th anniversary)
THE ENGLISH NOVEL IN INDIA Thomas Macaulay, A minute on Indian Education, 1835 English Education act, 1835 G. Viswanathan, The Beginnings of English Literary Study in British India
THEORETICAL ANALYTICALPERSPECTIVES Gramsci, Foucault, Bhabha 1)Gramscian persuasion about primacy of culture in the exercise of power The supremacy of a social group manifests itself in two ways: as domination and as intellectual and moral leadership. … It seems clear that there can, and indeed must be hegemonic activity even before the rise of power, and that one should not count only on the material force which power gives in order to exercise an effective leadership (Prison Notebooks) (British books constituted about 95 % of book imports in India between 1850 and 1900)
2) Multi-focal multi-centred nature of Power relationships M. Foucault, La volontà di sapere, pp. 82-6; 3) Overcoming binary representation of the relation Colonizer/colonized H. Bhabha, The Location of Culture The language of critique is effective not because it keeps forever separate the terms of the master and the slave, … but to the extent to which it overcomes the given grounds of opposition and opens up a space of translation: a political object that is new, neither the one nor the other, properly alienates our political expectations, and changes, as it must, the very forms of our recognition of the moment of politics.
My illustration attempts to display the importance of the hybrid moment of political change: Here the transformational value of change lies in rearticulation, or translation, of elements, that are neither the One … nor the Other … but something else besides, which contests the terms and territories of both. Cultures are never unitary in themselves, nor simply dualistic in the relation of Self to Other…
The reason a cultural text or system of meaning cannot be sufficient unto itself is that the act of cultural enunciation – the place of utterance – is crossed by the différance of writing. … The production of meaning requires that these two spaces be mobilised in the passage through a third space …[which] constitutes the discursive conditions of enunciation that ensure that the meaning and symbols of culture have no primordial unity or fixity; that even the same signs can be appropriated, translated, rehistoricised and read anew. … agency is the activity of the contingent. … agency is realized outside the author.
Indigenization of the novel … a transaction between two unequal, and unequally motivated, sides in an encounter that, despite its unevenness, was still characterized by exchange of some sort. (P. Joshi) …Indian readers then writers transmuted an imported and alien form into local needs that inspired and sustained them across many decades. (P. Joshi)
Cultural colonization English Literature of serious standard was introduced to educate colonized people. British books constituted 95% of book imports into India between 1850 and 1900 and were present in equivalent percentages among Indian library holdings.
Consumption practices Numerous public and circulating libraries emerged to provide books at small expense or for free. While fiction constituted about a third of the total holdings of a library it was requested up to three times more often than the other forms. Indians preferred popular fiction: romance and melodrama resonated with the circularity and intricacy of the epic plot of, for example, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana full of interconnections and coincidences.
Reading public The reading public included: civil servants, university and school teachers, students, minor ranks of the aristocracy, merchants, clerks. It was predominantly male and metropolitan. A greater majority read English novels translated into regional language.
The novel as a site of agency The novel acquired a social agency that was peculiarly Indian. It became a new form involved in inventing and representing the self; it provided its readers with a new language for figuring out the emerging social relations associated with modernity. In many cases the novel with its populistic and sentimentalist overtones became one of the most powerful vehicles for anti-colonial feelings.
Locations of agency The majority of literary English production entered India through the ports of Calcutta and Bombay. These two capitals were more open to Western cultural influence and at the same time gave life to the most powerful anti-colonial movements (The Great Mutiny and the Swadeshi movement emerged in Bengal, Gandhi from Bombay Presidency)
From reading to producing Sometimes Indian authors gave up English and retained the novel form Bankim Chandra Chatterjee wrote in Bengali; although he was also an essayist, historian, philosopher and social thinker his fame rested on his novels: he was called Scott of Bengal. Anandamath, 1882, a historical novel is his most widely known work: the setting is XVIII century rural Bengal, a time of famine during which a local insurgency seeks to overthrow a cruel and unjust political order of weak and decadent Muslim rulers and British tax collectors.
The mystic leader of the rebellion recurs to the figure of Mother India ravaged by occupiers. The historical dislocation served as a device to host contemporary political feelings. A past in which Indians are present as actors and not as passive and defeated people. As the novel passed from serialised to book form it underwent a progressive softening of its anti-colonial tones, often replacing the term English with Muslim.
Various editions of the novel The movie released in 1952
In writers published in Urdu a collection of innovative short stories Angarey (Burning Embers) characterized by frank depiction of sex and a general irreverence towards religion. (ex: a wet dream during a nap with the head on an open Koran) The book was condemned from Mosques pulpits as un-Muslim; the British government for fear of public riots banned the book.
In response the 4 writers wrote a manifesto which was to become the first document of the All-India Progressive Writers Association The movement was equally directed against internal orthodoxy and ignorance as well as foreign domination One of the 4 was Ahmed Ali, Twilight in Delhi (1940)
From Urdu to English …Alis use of English is partly to reach the widest possible audience both in India and abroad. However… Ali imports into his English novel Urdu forms borrowed from poetry and ghazals that are themselves the product of borrowings from Arabic, Persian, and Hindustani…(P. Joshi)
Twilight in Delhi records the effects of cultural and social decay on a Delhi Muslim family; in particular the patriarch Mir Nihal has a sensitive awareness of past greatness but little comprehension of the ongoing demise. The action takes place between 1911(coronation in Delhi of George V) and 1919 (Rowlatt Bills which allowed British judges to try cases without juries)
From English to the Indian novel in Indian- English: the revolution of S. Rushdie A fiction written in a robustly vernacular English, manifestly hybrid, mixing the novel with diverse narrative forms both of the modern languages of cinema, television, journalism etc. and of old traditional Indian genres such as the oral epic
The watershed: Midnights Children I became a writer at the moment I found a narrative voice for Midnights Children and that was finding a literary equivalent of that oral narrative from India that had kept the audience rapt for thousands of years
Oral tradition While Bankims narrator took its cue from the serious and judgemental narrator of the written epic, Rushdies clearly comes from the jesting, jocular figure of the oral tradition whose fallacy inspired the unreliable narrator in M.C., Saleem Sinai
All-comprehensiveness of M.C. Saleem Sinai states that an entire universe can be understood from his life; his personal story reflecting Indias history. (a commonplace for an audience raised on the Mahabharata: Whatever is in the Mahabharata can be found elsewhere; but what isnt in it can be found nowhere.
Midnights Children Multiplying Meaning Whereas Bankims narrator helped stabilize meaning, Rushdies, taking his inspiration from the circular structure of the oral epic and the tendency to change and adjust while repeating…, multiplies meaning. History History in M.C. is not so much rendered fantasy, as fantasy and fabulation are rendered possible and even respectable forms of acquiring historical knowledge.
The novels agency In the hands of Rushdie the novel becomes a means to address issues surrounding modernity such as citizenship, subjectivity, identity, community and communalism, religion and politics, nation and nationalism besides aesthetical concerns about meta- fiction, inter- textual play, the role of the narrator, narrative perspectivism etc.
The novels agency: nation and narration Rushdie creates a curious myth of the nation: instead of celebrating its moment of glorious birth after a heroic liberation struggle, he interrogates its unglamorous middle age tainted by communal unrest and the threat of separatist violence.
The novels agency But in seizing the authority to tell their own versions of history, sociology, politics, his novels vindicate the right to master their own fantasies and world pictures. The fact that these novels exist marks the liberation of an Indian voice from the official and objective reality answering the mandate of imperialist culture. They articulate versions of Indian history and identity rendering them plural, just legends that make up reality, revealing in a post-modernistic way the fictional nature of reality itself.
The contemporary Indian novel in English In 1980 S. Rushdies Midnights Children transformed the Indian novel in English in an international phenomenon opening the way to dozens of ensuing literary cases.
Indian writers in English before Rushdie: Mulk Raj Anand, Raja Rao, R. K. Narayan, Khushwant Singh, V. S. Naipaul, Kamala Markandaya, Anita Desai (she already wrote but declared a debt to Rushdie) et al. after Rushdie: Shashi Deshpande, Shashi Tharoor, Amitav Ghosh, Vikram Seth, Arundhati Roy, Vikram Chandra, Rukun Advani, Upamanyu Chatterjee, Anita Nair, Manju Kapur, Vikas Swarup, Kiran Desai,, Kamala Das, Aravind Adiga
Diasporic voices V. S. Naipaul, Hanif Kureishi, Monica Ali, Nadeem Aslam, Jhumpa Lahiri, Rohinton Mistry, Bapsi Sidhwa, Amid Chauduri, Chitra Divakaruni, Ardashir Vakil, et al. Indian Diaspora Before Partition: towards the empire (Mauritius, Fiji, Tanzania, Kenia, South Africa, Trinidad as indentured labourers) After Partition: GB, USA, Canada as emigrants
Priyamvada Gopal, The Indian English Novel. Nation, History, and Narration, Oxford and New York, O. U. P., 2009 Introduction Chapter 1 Making English India Chapter 5 Midnights Legacies Chapter 6 Bombay and the novel Chapter 8 The Literature of Migration Conclusions
works Grimus Midnights Children Shame The Satanic Verses Haroun and the Sea of Stories East, West (short stories) The Moors Last Sigh The Ground beneath her Feet Fury Shalimar the Clown The Enchantress of Florence Joseph Anton (autobiography)
Hibridity in the plot of The Moor's Last Sigh The novel tells the family history of Moraes Zogoiby, known as "the Moor." He descends from the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama (ca ), who sailed to India in search of spice and whose offspring grew rich in shipping it to the West. Among his ancestors, Moraes also numbers Boabdil ( ), the last Muslim king in Spain, forced in 1492 to surrender his city to Ferdinand and Isabella. The spot from which Boabdil gazed for the last time at Granada is today a tourist attraction, known as 'The Last Sigh of the Moor.' His descendents took as their family name his nickname "Zogoiby" - "The Unfortunate." Another branch of the family descended from Black Jews who immigrated to Cochin, India, and built a synagogue in 1568.
The Moor as S. Rushdie/ The Moor as India/ The Moor as Bombay (between metaphor and allegory) The Moor is doomed to go through his life at double speed (fatwa/Bombay). Aged 36, but with the physique of a 72, he narrates the fantastic story of his life within his family saga (plurality of India). He, imprisoned in a fake Alhambra built by a mad artist in Andalusia (fatwa), looks back at the end of his life upon his brilliant, ruined family and on the India he knew as a young man, a lost paradise (Bombay) of possibilities which has been dilapidated through the sins of hatred, factionalism, and ethnic and religious intolerance. The watershed events of modern India history regularly protrude into his story: independence, partition, emergency, Hindu fundamentalism (India and Bombay)
symbolism The deformed, club-handed Moraes is an emblem of India in the same way that Gunter Grasss Oskar in The Tin Drum stands in his deformity for the paradoxes of nazi and post-war Germany. The double-speed which characterizes his life recalls the sense of urgency experimented by the death-sentenced author who was afraid of not having as much time as he had thought before the fatwa and at the same time it stands for a widespread sense of acceleration in life and change. It also is a metaphor of the urban explosion of post-war Bombay.
Symbolism 141-3, 145-7, 161-2, 184, 188, 197, , 221, 223, 225, India=Spain 1492, from tolerance and plurality of creeds to communalist violence, from multiculturalism to expulsion of Jews and Muslims Mother = Aurora, Indira, Bombay, India: ambivalence of a relationship made of love/hatred, care/violence, belonging/refusal Indias plurality 31, 62, 70-1, hybridity 82, 226-7, 398, 408, love as hybridity 289, 433 broken hopes 33, 51, 129 Mother India 59-61, 137, 203-4, 288, Bombay 350, 372, 376
The Moors Last Sigh Title Novel as a form of agency 219 Autobiography 55, 130, 152-3, 163-4, 221, 286-7, 290, 371, 388, 414, 430, 434
HISTORY colonial history 4, 19, 87 art history 16, art and colonial history 17 modern age contemporary hist. 118, 309, 335, communalism 295, 262, 299, 338-9, 363, 365, independence emergency 209, 234, social history 306, womens place in society 183,
Language: 179 Most people in India are multilingual, and if you listen to the urban speech patterns there youll find its quite characteristic that a sentence will begin in one language, go through a second language and end in a third. Its very playful.(S. Rushdie) languages 278-9, 322, 413
ARAVIND ADIGAs works Three stories of violence and murder in a grotesque style The White Tiger: the servant kills his master and the reasons why … Between the Assassinations: collection of short stories (unequivocal title) Last Man in Tower: how good and friendly people can become murderes
Literary genre: Realism and Satire The author expresses his indignation and his pessimism by means of social critique and psychological satire (the apparently good people such as Ibrahim Kudwa and Mrs Puri are the most ferocious, the apparently more cynical such as Ramesh Ajwani prove the less murderous). The murderers are not punished. There is no social justice and no happy ending. The stories are not tragic in tone but grotesque: ironical distance between style and content.
Symbolism and metaphors: Vishram society like Nerhuvian India, politically secularist, religiously multiconfessional, culturally multilingual. Masterji embodies the values and hopes of the post-independence nation-state. Mumbai and its turbulent advance represents Globalization and the economical drives of neo-liberism.
VIOLENCE IN INDIA Castal violence, social unjustice, political corruption, religious fanaticism (traditional evils of Indian society)are investigated as sources of rebellion in the first two works of Adiga. The culprits are not punished (Balram, the murderer had been previously pursued for a crime he had not committed) In his third work the source of violence is greed conceived as a social force connected to the new economy of late capitalism. Money is stronger than any other value (friendship, honesty, loyalty)
I. Chambers, Borders and Beyond If the market was once apparently subservient and subject to the political and social demands imposed by the state, today, it is the state and its politics that is increasingly shaped and disciplined by the requirements of the market. So changes, and rather sharp ones, do occur. The political economy that sustains the reasons of the market is itself the result of certain political and cultural conceptions being transformed into practice and achieving a hegemonic hold on public understanding.
Mumbai as setting/setting as protagonist The story of Last Man in Tower is located in Mumbai, the biggest Indian city and one of the biggest megalopolises of the world. Mumbai is the commercial and entertainment capital of India, it is also one of the world's top 10 centres of commerce in terms of global financial flow, accounting for 25% of industrial output, 70% of maritime trade in India and 70% of capital transactions to India's economy
MUMBAI Population growth in the City district o Island City (South Mumbai) ,970, ,243, ,925, ,914, ,478,447 In the Suburban district today there are about 20,000,000 inhabitants
URBAN GROWTH PEOPLE PER HOUR
...a new kind of world place is heralded, one that condenses all the contradictions of postmodernity and late-capitalism – the global city. Rashmi Varma The Postcolonial City and its Subjects. (2012)
Rashmi Varma, The Postcolonial City and its Subjects. London, Nairobi, Bombay The postcolonial city confronts the contradictions of postcolonial state-making, late-capitalist development, and the polarizing effects of their discrepant diffusions and distribution. Consequently, the postcolonial city is where some of the most concentrated asymmetries of power exist; it is also the space where new political subjectivities are created through the very processes of marginalization and peripheralization…
Mumbai, global city Indias cities house the entire historical compass of human labour, from the crudest stone-breaking to the most sophisticated financial transactions. Success and failure, marble and mud, are intimately and abruptly pressed against one another, and this has made the cities vibrate with agitated experience. (Sunil Khilnani, in The Idea of India, 109)
Global city as Contact zone The spatial and temporal co-presence of subjects previously separated by geographic and historical disjunctures, and whose trajectories now intersect (M. L. Pratt)
SUKETU MEHTA, MAXIMUM CITY
GENRE Maximum City mixes the languages of Essay Journalism Autobiography It is a mix of social investigation and analysis of cultural aspects and customs It exploits the technique of narrative fiction It can be defined as a sort of personal docu- fiction
MAXIMUM CITY Part I: Power (see students power point) Part II: Pleasure: Sex, Cinema and Crime:THE ROLE OF IMAGINATION Imagination as social structure: Appadurai, Modernity at Large Cultural Dimensions of Globalization (1996), p
Mumbai : A city for Fiction (R. Ciocca) Compared to Chicago in the 1920s and New York post September 11, 2001, it is the capital of modernizing India, the sum of its contradictions, the dream of its potential, the nightmare of its delusions. It is not only a capital of the industry of images but is itself a very source of fiction: an aestheticized metropolitan scene inspiring stories and lifestyles. It is a fundamental hub in the financial world network but at the same time has a massive concentration of abject poverty …Mumbai, … is a city of multiple aliases, like gangsters and whores(Mehta,15).
Sex, Crime, Cinema Transgression is the subtext of many activities, and crime, in the social imagination, proves a powerhouse of models and myths at least as exciting as those of cinema itself: glamorous, flamboyant lifestyles being the prerogative of gangsters as well as of film stars. Night-life occupies the shared stage in this folly. Bollywoods entanglements with the criminal underworld of Bombay have been repeatedly emphasysed in fictional and journalistic mappings of the town (from Rushdie to Roberts, from Mehta to Chandra)
which have showed by and large how illicit earnings are often laundered in the mega-budget productions of the dream factory. What is more interesting, however, is the contiguity of the two world-pictures and their reciprocal reinforcement in inducing ways of life. Not only do the dons figure as press heroes as much as Bollywood celebrities, but they are also romanticized by the movies as in the gangland glory period of the Chicago prohibition era. A special affinity binds the two worlds, including also spectators in a special complicity which reinforces the pleasure of stepping beyond limits in a projected, and thus safe, world of every possible excess.(Ciocca, See: Mehta p. 380)
Being rooted in the hearts of people as the city of dreams come true, Mumbai has become the destination of massive immigration from the poorest areas of the nation. At least since independence and increasingly after, Bombay has figured in the minds of Indians as the land of wondrous opportunities and terrible temptations, of wealth and corruption, of happiness and disillusionment, of success and downfall. With its emancipatory anonymity in a land of compelling traditions and rigid social constraints, Bombay represented in post-independence India a more fluid receptacle of democratic aspirations. Its gigantic urban cauldron was brimming over with opportunities; its attractions had the giddy effects of feeding hopes about self-made destinies. What lodged this fascination in the popular fantasy was Hindi cinema.(Ciocca)
Today, with the ever-increasing audience of Bollywood, and the worldwide success and the Oscar awards acclamation of Slumdog Millionaire (another fable of social and love dreams fulfilled, set by the English director in contemporary Mumbai), these places are familiar to a globalized public and Mumbai begins to rival more traditional urban cinema sets. Having in the meantime become the world capital of commercial cinema, Mumbai has transformed the ethos of the somehow radical cinema of the 1950s, enlivened by a nationalist vision of an inclusive, secular India, into the mirror-house of capitalist, glossy, sophisticated success. Cinemas are now seen as temples of desires.(Ciocca)
The hold that Bollywoods average product has on Indian imagination, not only in the subcontinent but also overseas, not only on the traditional middle-class audience but also on the hungrily desirous, self- projecting proletariat, is usually that of an affluent, smooth and glossy world of pleasure and self- complacency. If for a mediascape one intends, again with Appadurai, a large and complex repertoire of images and narratives which feed throughout the world a sense of belonging disconnected from territorialization, Mumbai has become for all Indians, in and out of the subcontinent, the quintessential centre of an imaginary Indian landscape or mediascape, created by the intermingled agencies of diasporic memory, desire and the media.
Appadurai lists 5 different but overlapping types of constructed landscapes(global cultural flows of imagination upon which or from which people build their sense of identity) Technoscapes, Financescapes (p.34) Ethnoscapes, Mediascapes, Ideoscapes (Appadurai p.33, 35, 38) MEDIASCAPES
Historical instruments of cultural interactions Warfare and commerce (antiquity and Middle Ages) Products of print capitalism B. Anderson (Early Modernity) Modern forms of transport (industrial revolution) Information and Communication the global village Marshall McLuhan (XXth century) Electronic media now create communities with no sense of place while imagination is a particularly powerful fuel of identification.
Appadurai: Mediascapes The Net ( , e-work, social networks, matrimonial sites, chats, virtual reality, second lives...) Electronic media transform the field of mass mediation because they offer new ways and new languages for the construction of imagined subjectivities and imagined worlds. The Net is a space in which individuals and groups annex the global into their own practices of technological modernity. Vernacular globalization Vs cultural homogenization: Appadurai, p. 10