1. Publicity, Promises & the Public Space in Ahmedabad
Prayas Abhinav, Ahmedabad
This project will conduct research into the practices of public communication, commercial as well as personal, in Ahmedabad and thereby document the broken links between the "promises and commitments" made by these practices and their delivery.
This could go on to suggest reasons why and how the dreams, desires, needs of citizens become habituated to remain unfulfilled. This would also explain how these dreams, desires and needs increasingly become space- and freedom- oriented, and how the pressure of existence (which exhibits in both working and personal lives) manifests.
2. The Culture of Business : The Informal Sector and Finance Business in Vijaywada
S. Ananth, Vijaywada
This project will look at the phenomenon of globalisation as it manifests itself at the local level and in day-to-day economic practices. The primary objective of the study is to demonstrate the manner in which the culture of business at the local level is impacted by the phenomenon of globalisation. The study will look at the finance sector in the coastal Andhra Pradesh city of Vijayawada in order to show the changes in business culture with the advent of globalisation. The finance sector in Vijayawada, as in many other parts of India, is characterised by an interesting relationship between the informal and formal business establishments.
The research will analyse the manner in which the two reinforce and complement each other and show how the informal sector has been affected by the changes that have resulted from globalisation and also the structural adjustment of the Indian economy. The study is inter-disciplinary in nature and method. First, the study attempts to reinterpret what is generally presumed to be the domain of pure economics in terms of cultural history, and therefore makes a strong argument for the cultural foundations of economic activity. Second, the study employs the methodology of oral history such as structured and unstructured interviews to access material and information related to the field of study.
3. Laghu Patrika Andolan: Abhivyakti ke Naye Aayam: Ek Partal
(Little Magazine Movement: New Dimensions of Expression)
This work will address the world of expansive world of Hindi 'little magazines' - its history, its sociology, politics but most importantly, its economics. What still makes it an attractive idea? Why do magazines die? What is the average reach of a magazine? What are the networks of production and distribution? What are the special publication strategies that make one magazine look different from others? Why do we see so many special issues with guest editors? These are some of the questions that will be asked at the outset.
4. The Shrine as an Anodyne in Strife-Torn Kashmir
Hilal Bhat, Srinagar
The researcher intends to work on changing environs of shrines in conflict-devastated Kashmir, where thousands of devotees take refuge in the absence of modern alternatives for dealing with the stress. In the wake of chaos and mayhem in Kashmir, a shrine remains the sole place where the victims of violence have a chance of getting rejuvenated.
Minds exposed to a continual violence need to either come to terms with or transcend the violent event. This process can be arrived at with the help of a facilitator. In many modern societies, the facilitator might be a psychiatrist. In a cultural milieu where spirituality is more pervasive, the figure of the saint lends itself to the role of a psychic facilitator.
The shrine, not only in its spirituality but also in its aesthetic, evokes a sense of serenity. The aesthetic of the shrines in Kashmir couples their architecture and layouts with a supremely appropriate sense of site. Combined, these factors produce an effect that is spectacular. This research will attempt to track the motivations that make people turn to these places for peace of mind and also gain an idea of how intimately the spiritual and the aesthetic flow into each other. The researcher will delve into an appreciation of shrines in Srinagar as a spiritual, aesthetic, social environments and consider the manner in which these significations provide a therapeutic space.
5. The Relationship Between the Production and Consumption of Thumri and Allied Forms:
The Female Impersonator Bal Gandharva
Urmila Bhirdikar, Pune
This project investigates the relationship between the production-consumption of the North Indian musical genre of thumri (and other allied forms) through gramophone records and the fashioning of the songs of the female characters in Marathi Sangeet Natak tradition, with special emphasis on the female impersonator actor Bal Gandharva.
Though the tradition of stage music in Maharashtra is long, it is not a single tradition, but shaped periodically by musical genres outside this commercial theatre in the late-19th and early-20th century. The nexus between the musical genres and their adoption in theatre reveal the composite nature of this theatre, which drew from the current musical (as well as other artistic) practices.
The emphasis of this project is on the beginning of the second decade of the twentieth century, when the north Indian genres of thumri and other "semi-classical" forms were thought to be suitable for representing the "respectable" woman in through theatre. This adoption reveals an interesting relation between the conventional understanding of the thumri genre with kachcha gaana (which also implies less respectable) and the newly emerging discourse of respectability in Marathi theatre. Further, the presentation of the Marathi songs (natya pada) itself seems to have been influenced by the way in which the baijis presented their music through the medium of gramophone records of the 78 rpm era, inviting attention to the shaping of music in the gramophone record format.
The analysis will take into consideration not only the historical and cultural aspects of this phenomenon, but also the musicological aspects of producing and consuming music through gramophone records. Additionally I also propose to look at the apathetic reception of Bal Gandharva's music when rendered by a "real" woman, Goharbai Karnataki, with reference to the debate on the entry of women into theatre in the 1930s.
6. Of Riots and Ruins : Space and Violence in Vatva, Ahmedabad
Moyukh Chatterjee and Swara Bhaskar, Delhi
Our proposed area of study is a conglomeration of colonies inhabited by Muslims, Hindus and Dalits, located in Vatva, an industrial (previously agrarian) area on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. It was a site of violence during the 2002 carnage and is now informed by post-violence "compromised" peace. We wish to map on this spatial-geographic entity the processes by which contesting discourses of ethnicity, communal identity and multiple explanations for communalisation of "everyday" life are (re) produced. The communalisation of space or alternatively the construction of communal identity with the aid of spatial technologies -- like 'ghetto-isation' and communal coding of built structures -- is a pan-Ahmedabad phenomenon; however, local versions of this pathology manifesting in Vatva are a subject of our study. Other questions of hegemonic discourse formation and the processes of crystallisation of religious identity form the subtext of our project. We hope also to examine both the space occupied by the Dalits as a minority in a majority-minority area (Muslims a minority in Ahmedabad, are the majority in Vatva); as also the unstable position different communities have occupied in terms of social power before, during and after the riots.
7. Children's Friendship with Place:
Investigating Environmental Child- Friendliness for Children in New Delhi
Sudeshna Chatterjee, Delhi
Despite considerable global attention on making cities child-friendly, specifically through the two prominent global efforts in contexts of low-resources and rapid urbanisation (UNESCO's Growing Up in Cities (GUIC) projects in 1970s and late 1990s, and the UN Child Friendly Cities (CFC) global initiatives in the 1990s), there does not exist any empirically grounded understanding of the construct of environmental child friendliness. An established body of theoretical literature in environmental psychology, geography, planning and design, however, has proposed that children develop feelings and emotions about their everyday environments which induce powerful, positive or negative images. This literature also emphasises the role of affect in not only explaining how children learn about places, but also, in pointing out what sorts of environments children find most satisfying. This study proposes place friendship as a valid form of affective place relationship in childhood that is different from the more widely studied construct of place attachment. Studying children's place friendship will allow us to empirically investigate the meaning of child friendly places for children in cities. Such investigations will be especially meaningful in contexts that have large youthful populations such as in Indian cities, in understanding the implications of fast urbanisation and environmental change for the lives of children.
8. Beeti Vibhavari Jaag Ri: Dilli ke City-scape mein Dik wa Kaal
(Time and Space in the Cityscape of Delhi)
Vijender Singh Chauhan, Delhi
This multimedia work will record sound and image and suppplement them with texts and personal prose. The idea is to capture different shades and textures the city inhabits in different time zones and across seasons. The cityscapes selected include Rajpath, AIIMS Crossing, Chandni Chowk, Moolchand flyover, Connaught Place and the Old Yamuna Bridge.
9. Tapping In: Urban Water Conflicts as Citizenship Claims in Chennai
Karen Coelho, Chennai
This project proposes to explore collective, contentious and transgressive practices of urban citizenship as articulated in claims to water in the city of Chennai. It uses multi-media techniques to interrogate the narratives of order purveyed by the reforming state, from the vantage point of its margins. Municipal water reforms outline a technocratic discourse in which universal service is guaranteed through rational improvement. But the underground grid, the embodiment of this sovereign order, is, as everybody knows, punctured and intersected by bypass connections and illegal taps that reveal the contentious and compromised order of a ground-level service. The project would explore these challenges to the myth of orderly service from the perspective of citizens struggling for access to water. These challenges take a range of everyday forms, from informal arrangements governing access to public fountains and water tanks, to mariyals and illegal taps. These challenges are modes through which the urban public, lacking access to private property in water, assert the sovereignty of a basic need. The points of leakage in the urban order of the grid may constitute sites in which local claims to citizenship are being asserted, challenging liberal (and neo-liberal) norms of individual-based citizenship.
10. Protest Through Music :
A Documentation and Analysis of the Structure, Content and Context of the Musical Tradition of the IPTA
Sumangala Damodaran, Delhi
The protest music tradition in India is largely undocumented in any systematic manner. The formation of the Indian People's Theatre Association in the 1930s marked a formal adoption of the idea that music and theatre would be used for the conscious articulation of protest. The essential purpose of this project is to begin a process of documentation and analysis of protest music as embodied in the tradition of the IPTA in Hindi and Bengali. In addition, the research will also attempt a preliminary analysis of the structure of the music. The public presentation of the project will involve a presentation of the archival material, interviews and recordings and an analysis of the structure of the music that has been collected. The research also proposes to demonstrate some of the findings of the research through performance.