KOLKATA - A Colonial Broth

KOLKATA - A Colonial Broth

Author: oeendrila lahiri Write To Author

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KOLKATA - A Colonial Broth - Kindle eBook by Oeendrila Lahiri
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Oeendrila Lahiri


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This eBook attempts to look into the production of the idea of Kolkata (Calcutta) through Bengali middle-class literary writings, especially nakshas which remain quite neglected as historical material. I am interested in satire as a trope of resistance to and protest of colonial modernity, the element of risk and conformity of bhadralok authors who mostly penned these extant nakshas, and the politics of canonization. Colonial modernity enforced a project of imagining a collectivity primarily through printing and literature. As a distinctive urban narrative genre, the naksha's historical competency directly inscribes itself on the very territoriality of Calcutta. In the urban discourse on self of both progressive and conservative Hindu males, the city came to occupy an uncanny locum for this desired oppositional self vis-à-vis a colonizing other.


Furthermore, the self and the city were emplaced in a desired commensurability which remained partial. This paper explores the signposts of the Bengali Renaissance man’s consciousness and the structures and aspects of Calcutta that received pre-eminence in literary undertakings. The objective here is to underscore the overlaps in the responses of Bengali intellectual figures of the 19th century to the city – an enquiry into the topical in their works. It must be clarified at the very outset that this chapter and the concomitant history of Bengal embedded within it refer mainly to upper-caste Hindu male constructions of the city.  In connection to this, I must also declare that at no point is the term Indian or indigenous deployed as a congealed unproblematic category but is an operative shorthand for my present purpose.


OEENDRILA LAHIRI is on the Cultural Studies Research Training Program, Centre for Studies in the Social Sciences, CalcuttaShe obtained M.Phil in Cultural Studies/English Literature, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. This paper is based on her dissertation: Calcutta: Travelling through its Texts and Time. M.A. in English Literature, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. B.A. Hons in English Literature, Presidency College, Calcutta University, Calcutta.



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