11) G Karunakar, Mumbai
Aim of this project is to localize key components of FLOSS like KDE & GNOME to Hindi, needed to build a fully functional & usable Hindi Desktop. Major work in this area is English to Hindi translation of GUI strings and help documentation. Fellowship support will be used towards supporting fulltime translators and volunteers doing the work.
12) Inderjeet Sharma, New Delhi
Aanadhekrit Shahar Mein Andolan [Hindi]
13) Indira Biswas, Kolkata
Mediation Through Radio: The Calcutta radio station and the changing life of the city (1927 - 1957)
To locate the institutionalization of radio as a media technology in a specific regional context of the Calcutta Radio Station in late colonial and early post independence period (1927 – 1957) in order to explore formation and dissemination of regional culture at various levels as well as nuances in identity formation within a national context. It would also engage with the problem of analyzing the reactions of numerous social groups to a new and developing media culture of the city.
14) Indrani Majumder, Kolkata
Early Cinema and Rise of a New Form of Advertising
I have started collecting and studying the handbills preserved from the period 1900 - 1905 which were definitely the first and most primitive form of film advertisement to appear in those days. The handbills, though visually unattractive, provide a lot of information about early films and the spectators. A handbill is an extension of newspaper advertisement of the same programme often providing a little more information to its reader. The handbills indicate that cinema was predictably presented to the audience as a new form of ‘attraction’ – a visual ‘gimmick’ not to be missed at all. It was almost mandatory for some established commercial theatre to feature ‘bioscope’ along with the main play in the commercial theatres of Calcutta regularly in the first decade of 20th century. Different packages of shorts, mainly documentaries or ‘actualities’ as they were known in those days, were considered as crowd-pullers. Occasional comic films and travelogues were also started appearing soon. After all cinema was a ‘modern scientific marvel’ and many believed that the magic of cinema was a logical extension of stage illusions or ‘special effect’s that was so special to commercial theatre in those days. The first newspaper advertisements and handbill were careful in listing these ‘attractions’ offered by a film programme for the benefit of its potential spectators. In Bengal Hiralal Sen started recording specific scenes from the threatre productions and showed those to the theatre audiences. The rare handbills featuring Hiralal Sen’s ‘Royal Bioscope’ shows begged the audience not to miss these ‘attractions’ and were sometimes quite blatant in praising the quality or standard of the films. One handbill, for example, indicated that the images are not ‘dark’ which was most common ‘fault’ in the early films where exposure control had yet to be perfected. The handbills carried no photographs but used different front sizes to highlight specific ‘attractions’ such as a memorable moment from a theatre or a nationalist meeting which had its obvious theatrical / performative characteristics.
As a new commodity cinema had to appeal to popular sensibilities, to address the public directly and convincingly. It was rather natural for the cinema industry to use all means of communication to intimate the public to come and see a film. Handbills, slides, newspaper advertisements, lobby cards, song books, hoardings, banners, and ‘trailers’, which were so unique to cinema, had created not only a subsidiary industry of its own but also new ways of intimating and addressing the people. The language of the cinema advertisement uses words and images, graphics and designing unlike any other medium. The film advertisement among other things, I believe, is a form of graphical construction of pleasure in and through which both words and images talk to its ‘reader’. Ideology of graphical representation of cinematic pleasure in the form of advertisement in which power of addressing becomes supreme needs to be deconstructed to show how the codes of representation were created and functioned. The handbills from the first decade of 20th Century indicate the beginning of this.
15) Kalpagam Uma Maheswaran, Chennai
Urban Mentalities: Chennai's roadside temples
16) Kalyan Kumar, New Delhi
The Evolution of Jamshedpur
Part I: Spatial evolution of the city in general. Who are the people that inhabit the city? Nature and quantum of the labour force that had its repercussion on the social and cultural built up of the city. How the worker is accommodating within the city space.
Part II: Discourse of planning.
Part III: City interposed in the two frames of state formation and modules of governance. An attempt to contrast the issues that came into existence in pre and post-independent India.
Initially I would explore the origins of the city and its confining boundaries that have been developed around it. It would include the composition of the labour force and gradual evolution of the town area. This initial groundwork would help us in organizing and making fruitful generalizations when we undertake the concluding two issues.
Initial survey of the town struck me that it was a ‘planners paradise’. No less than four plans had been instituted to regulate the spatial and built environment of the city. My idea is to explore the discourse of the idea of planning that was giving shape to this industrial center and its varying impressions on other industrial centers in India. In fact the idea of the town planning can be emancipatory, carrying the possibility of people fashioning their own living environment with will and consciousness. As Jamshedpur represents itself, this seldom happened.
The struggle remained to free ‘the discourse’ from the shackles of economic, technological and ideological domination, to rediscover the ethical and moral questions in the creation of environments. Moreover it should be added at this point that the planning is not inherently correct nor planners. They are the temporary manifestations of historical social processes, constrained by the interests that are dominant in the society at the time.
I also wish to cross the boundary of 1947, which usually suggest a demarcation line for modern Indian history, and analyze the changes that occurred with the coming of the new state structure and governing policies. The second issue can be stretched to this aspect as well. Town and country planning is a part of the administrative system of the modern state; the way the political context shapes the planning system is therefore an important area of theorizing.
Any decent perusal of the historiography on Jamshedpur would give an idea to a historian that it is an area, which is invoked ceremoniously in examining various trends in social sciences. City provided an easy froth for readymade explorations. But quite clearly it was not the ‘city’ that drew attention of historians and anthropologists but the voluminous industrial population that was working there. And not surprisingly the profusion of writing that exists revolves around this industrial workforce. This synopsis attempts to fill this gap in the historiography of Jamshedpur. Trying to locate the town in the center of investigations and then attempt to weave a story around it. In this way the city becomes the entry point for exploring issues that were hitherto been looked from the perspective of ‘labour’ or the ‘company’. In the case of Jamshedpur Company was definitely the prime mover in the city.
17) Ketan Tanna, Mumbai
Internet Censorship in India: Is it necessary and does it work?
18) Lal Bahadur Ojha, New Delhi
Bhojpuri Cinema Ka Vikas: Ek Padratal [Hindi]
The research aims to trace the journey of Bhojpuri cinema since its inception about five decades back. A sample of the Bhojpuri films would be studied to examine the dynamics between these films and the socio-cultural milieu in which they are located. Another perspective that could be of interest to Bhojpuri cinema is its relationship with dominant mainstream Hindi cinema, which has an almost similar background.
19) Lalit Batra, New Delhi
Pani Ki Kahani [Hindi]
The objective of my study is to write a narrative on the relationship the poor in Delhi, mostly migrant workers, have with water and examine popular paradigms surrounding the process of accessing it.
I seek to trace the changes in the way people look at water and the social context in which it is accessed. This I plan to do by approaching people for narratives about their past and present experiences with water. This would be supplemented with dialogues with experts who have worked on water related issues.
I start with the hypothesis that in large parts of rural India, this relationship is negotiated largely through socio-cultural and geographical factors even today, whereas in the context of a city, where water is a commodity to start with, it is based primarily on one’s positioning in the overarching class structure and access to political and administrative power networks. I wish to find out how this change in setting gets reflected in the consciousness of the poor, how they cope with it and what implications does it all have for their sense of collectivity and collective struggles.
20) Madhuja Mukherjee, Kolkata
Looking At The Glasses Darkly: Revisiting Calcutta film studios
A project to retrieve some one thousand ‘lost’ Glass Negatives of the Studio Era of Bengali Cinema and map histories of cinematic practices through the reading of photographs and interrogating the use of glass negatives in mid twentieth century. The aim is to examine the practices and the technology of ‘glass’ for photography and understand the cultural meaning of photography as a method of documentation. The project tries to look into some one thousand ‘photographs’ of the period, which at the moment are in the form of ‘glass negatives’. These dark glasses are almost the symbolic ‘dark holes’ in the memory of Calcutta studios that needs to first scanned, then through a reverse mode – or rather by reverting a historical process as it were – may be turned to positives. The project hopes to identify people, films/projects, studios and the times and categorise those accordingly and thereby probe into the cultural modes, cinematic practices, technical and formal diversities of the era.