Has Amrita University hostels

In the never-ending work of translation, an impossible map takes shape. The other one who walks next to us is drafted.

04 2007

Anna Nadotti

Translated by Klaus Neundlinger

"Not being a scholar, only an observer of life [...] so this is a personal view." [1] I adopt these words from Nayantara Saghal to anticipate that I will take a very subjective point of view, that I will in a way have already crossed the line.


A preliminary remark

Through my work as a translator, I have got used to staying on a fine border whose fragility, fortunately for me, is not due to arbitrariness and violence, but to the peaceful coexistence of languages, their work of mutual reflection and mutual addition or hollowing out meaning. Hence, from the disenchantment and at the same time fascinating democracy of languages, as well as from the regular visits to the Indian subcontinent, I believe my need to look at maps with great care.

“It's not the geography that counts, but the way in which the maps are laid over the territory. All maps are flat, but not everything that is flat is a map. ”This subtle comment was made by Sanjay Chaturvedi, a professor and program director at the Center for Geopolitical Studies at the University of Chandigarh (the city that Nehru for after the partition of India for wanted to compensate for the loss of Lahore and the planning he commissioned Le Corbusier [2]) during a seminar at the University of Paris VIII. [3] In English, Chaturvedi's sentence has a strangely onomatopoeic sound: “It isn't geography that counts, but how meaning maps have been overlapped to the territory. All the maps are flat, but not all flatness is a map. ”You almost have the impression that you can hear the sound of the large sheets of graph paper spread across the floor, the rustling of the tracing paper with the lines drawn in black ink who overlay and share what was homogeneous, uniform and common. Unless these fragile cards of meaning are later picked up again and the boundaries are shifted with their bloody bundle of invented traditions.

“Cartography is a European science whose purpose is control (divide et impera ... and leave it behind) and which serves to exercise power. Our geography is symbolic; H. Proximity and distance are relative. But we don't get lost because of that, ”Krishna Menon, co-founder and director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Architecture in Delhi once told me. He smiled and turned off one of the great streets of New Delhi, the capital of the British Raj, onto a narrow street that leads into the labyrinth of alleys of an old Muslim enclave. Finally we came to the lawn that surrounds one of the most beautiful buildings in the city, the Khirkhi Masjid, the window mosque (1380), a distillate of harmony that consists of solid walls - which complete the building, but it is on the second floor open to the outside with an unusual, precious row of windows.

Amitav Ghosh writes in the introduction to his book Dancing in Cambodia,At Large in Burma: “The maps that we have in our heads only roughly correspond to the atlases we looked at when we were at school. They take shape in the secrecy of our memories and follow lines that are dictated by overheard conversations, old photos and books that we remember more poorly than well. ”[4] I have to deal with these identities when I translate or read, with their conscious positioning of subjects deterritorialized, sometimes by compulsion, sometimes by free decision. Expanded, overlapping identities, the result of a multitude of affiliations, a derivative of a complex and recognized historical stratification, which also includes the colonial era. But there is something else. In this country, where every step is a moral dilemma, there is one crucial language issue to be considered, insofar as in India "language is of course necessary translation" [5].

“If the Bible had been written in India, history would have been different. It is enough to look at the three of us here at home, everyone speaks a different language! And yet there is no chaos, we elegantly circumvented the problem by speaking English. That's nice for me too. It prevents too much intimacy and guarantees that our relationship is characterized by formal courtesy. […] On the other hand, she abandons English, switches to Kannada or Hindi and mixes the languages, she penetrates into areas unknown to her without being aware of the risks, "writes Shashi Deshpande in one of her last novels ]

The following passage from an essay by C. S. Lakshmi sounds almost like an echo: “I write in Tamil, live in Bombay, grew up in Bangalore, studied in Delhi and married a man from Rajastan. So I am a real Indian. And although I write in Tamil, all other languages ​​of experience flow into my language. "[7]

The different languages ​​are not responsible for the chaos, because chaos can break out even where everyone is using the same words. It couldn't be otherwise in a country in which the diversity of languages ​​a) historically does not coincide with breaks, but with a thousand-year-old sedimentation of cultures; b) opposes the colonial system and also uses its language, which, however, is absorbed, appropriated and excellently played according to another score; c) triggers shifts that tend to encompass every area of ​​intellectual life and cultural production. [8]


An impossible card

I would like to start designing an impossible map in the extraordinary research and documentation work on censorship and self-censorship carried out by a group of Indian researchers and writers and published in three extremely interesting volumes: The Guarded Tongue. Women’s Writing & Censorship in India, WORLD / Asmita Project 2001; The Tongue Set Free, Women Writers Speak about Censorship, WORLD / Asmita Project 2002; Speaking in tongues. Gender, Censorship & Voice in Hindi, WORLD / Asmita Project 2002.

This work took three years, and researchers and writers from all Indian states were involved. In order to describe the atmosphere and the richness of these meetings, I leave the floor to the participants: “In the suburbs of Hyderabad, far from the hustle and bustle, an unusual gathering of women took place. The interactions at this meeting can only be compared to Babel: 65 women writers from different parts of India spoke in more than eleven languages. And yet they were able to make each other and everyone who enjoyed the privilege of listening to this unique literary event, a national colloquium of female authors in India, understandable […]. ”[9]

From this potential, but ultimately highly rational Babel, in which all the women present showed their respect for the other by listening to one another, three volumes in English have emerged, the merit of which it is, a broader, more complete and, if I may say so, one to provide a more fascinating picture of literary production in the many languages ​​of the subcontinent.

From my point of view, it is nice that the traces of these initiatives are not lost. There is no constant emergence and fading of initiatives that we have so often addressed in the women's movement. I have the impression that feminism is rooted very differently in India than in Italy. There are roots in the air and roots that penetrate the ground in all directions, sometimes going deep, sometimes snaking along the surface. They appear in the villages and slums of the big cities, absorb air and water, without fear of mixing and hybridization, just like languages. And Who Will Make the Chapatis?[10] Who will prepare the thin bread that is used as a staple food across the country? This question, with which a man in a rural area addressed his wife, who wanted to attend a course in order to be able to take over the administration of the village, finds its first answer in the experiences of some village councils, the panchayatsconsisting only of women working in agriculture. Doctors, engineers, architects, urban planners, economists, scientists, filmmakers and writers contribute to the (technical, administrative, medical) training of these women. The resulting dense network of political and cultural relationships reveals a key to reversing the productive roles in the transfer of the task of baking the chapatis to others, which opens up completely new paths. Suffice it to think of how microcredit is boosting cooperatives and emerging female entrepreneurship, or how women are leading the fight against genetically modified organisms.

“She had in mind to write a book about India, the sight and weave of earth and sky - and all the gradations of the seasons in between. People wrote historical novels, but there was a romantic geography here that was almost too much for a single country. In the far north rose the 60-million-year-old mountain range of the Himalayas, emerging from a vanished sea. In the extreme south and over three quarters of the circumference stretched the immense Indian Ocean. In the middle of the continent the rivers steeped in history, the Ganges and the Brahmaputra, which crossed the many kilometers of plains. Finally the plains themselves, interspersed with contrasts: months of rain in the tropical regions and desert landscapes scorched by the sun. There was also an Indian spring […]. Someone had to describe the rocky plateaus, the spring water of which poured over the slopes in torrents during the meltdown. It was a great, objective inheritance with no beginning or end, with its unchangeable cycles resistant to every renewal. The culture came much later. Nourished by this peninsula that stretched infinitely. Someone had to translate it into language. "[11]

I never had the feeling, as in India, that the object of my observations, my research, could not be captured by given schemes. In the first place this research was undoubtedly literary in nature, but I was soon forced to expand my interest into other areas, in a ceaseless wandering between different disciplines. The “incredible” and often intangible geography of this country seems to define every aspect of his life, and cultural production is no exception.

Who the movie Lagaan (2001) by Ashutosh Gowariker has certainly noticed how a game of cricket, when captured by the daring yet deliberate use of the hand-held camera - by a hand with a strong historical and geographical awareness - serves not only as a metaphor, but also a description of a historical process becomes an effective condensed representation of the struggle for independence in Technicolor, even the romance between Prime Minister Nehru and Lady Mountbatten. I claim that Gowariker goes even further: the moment he shows the staking out of the improvised cricket field, he transforms the place into a public space in which the colonial subject becomes a social actor, the designer of his own history.

If we stay in the field of productions with a high budget and great media response, I would say that Monsoon Wedding von Mira Nair also reveals a dense network of social and anthropological shades under the surface of the musical staging. [12] However, if we turn away from the few productions that arrive in the West via the big rental companies on the basis of cautious strategies, then we discover independent productions of great interest (which unfortunately only come to us at festivals or in the circles of the No- Global movement gets to see), like for example War and Peace (India 2002): The film has nothing to do with Tolstoy's novel of the same name, but was shot in 2001/2002 by Anand Patwardhan and Simantini Dhuru. The two are not only filmmakers, but also civil rights activists. Her work is a documentary film, a historical essay, a reflection on pacifism, militarism, Hindu nationalism, the castes, the Dalits, but also on the globalized world that is heralding itself in Hiroshima and on the Ground zero reached a climax. [13]

I dwell a little longer on this point because I am convinced that an even if incomplete map of Indian cultural production cannot avoid reflection on cinema and video (from the masterpieces of a Satyajit Ray to today's parallel Bengali, Tamil and Kerala Cinema or the cinema known as Bollywood), both in historical perspective and in terms of current productions. Such a reflection shows what was already evident in the field of literature, namely that anthropological, historical, social scientific research and experimental artistic work overlap and are interwoven, so that it is difficult, for example, to assess the influence of the Postcolonial Studies and the Subaltern Studies to which researchers in this country, whether they live in India or elsewhere, have made significant contributions. I am of course thinking of Gayatri C. Spivak, Arjun Appadurai, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Homi Bhabha, Shahid Amin, Partha Chatterjee; to the literary critical essays by Meenakhsi Mukherjee; but also to an intellectual and publisher like the late Ravi Dayal, a figure who is disappearing more and more in the West due to the concentration processes in the publishing industry. Dayal had the courage to found and maintain major magazines, for example Subaltern Studies and, with different objectives and different topics, Civil Lines.

I am also thinking of avowedly feminist publishers such as Women Unlimited [14] and Zubaan [15] in Delhi or Stree & Samya [16] in Calcutta. I am thinking of Seagull [17], a publishing house also based in Calcutta, which translates the works of Mahasveta Devi. I am thinking of valuable and innovative magazines like Gallery[18] and The Little Magazine[19]. These are just a few examples to refer to the methodological work of dissemination, exchange and cultural fusion that is being done on the subcontinent.

It is likely that language pluralism, along with ancient and modern history, feeds the subcontinent's cultural fervor. It makes you question your own point of view, because you always have to translate it as soon as you present it. Communities that are united by ethnicity and religious affiliation but separated by language have, in order to survive, necessarily acquired an adaptability which, although not able to eliminate the injustices of the caste system and to resolve the dramatic conflicts between the individual communities, which, however, helps to research and understand, and helps to create a dense network of initiatives, a close connection between political activism and intellectual engagement.

In this regard, two works seem exemplary and extremely coherent, which were exhibited at Documenta11 in Kassel 2002 and which I would like to briefly describe below.

The first work is a documentary by Amar Kanwar, A season outside. The director examines the way in which the identities in Wagha, a place on the Indian-Pakistani border, are staged and constructed. A kind of ceremony takes place there every day: lattice gates are opened and closed again, between one and the other an “inside” is created, which in reality is a no mans land which is divided into two parts by a thin white line on the floor.The two communities that history has made enemies thus find themselves in the situation of attending the ceremony "from outside" while the military perform their double performance in that no man's land: on the one hand, they confirm a border in the name of their own nation, and on the other hand, they stage the “masculinity” that the nation and families impose on them. The same image of masculinity on both sides of the white line: the uniform overloaded with badges, the theatrical rigidity of the movements that the lens captures from close up and that appears even more intense in front of the camera movement, expose and elevate a masculinity that pretends to be warlike the moment of travesty emerges. The film turns the ceremony into a grotesque pantomime, which is watched by a mass of mild eyes, the owners of which are crowded behind the barred gates, ie “outside the location of the staging”. Kanwar underscores the absurdity of the border by depicting the absurdity of masculinity charged with drawing and defending it. A short time later, the director takes us to a different kind of border, namely to the largest Tibetan refugee camp on Indian territory in Delhi. It forces us to deal with a different tradition, with different modes of behavior, a masculinity that does not bow to violence, but does not practice it either.

The work of Kanwar is characterized by its intellectual claim, the coherence and delicacy, in its focus are also all major topics that concern India today: borders, castes, the rights of the tribals and the Dalits, the conflicts among the communities, the Destruction of the territory: The Many Faces of Madness (1998). The madness is documented not only in Kanwar's works, but also in those of other politically active filmmakers such as Rakesh Sharma (Aftershocks - The Rough Guide to Democracy, 2002), Sanjay Kak (Words on Water, 2002), Aradhana Seth and Arundhati Roy (Dam / Age, 2002).[20]

28°28’N / 77 ° 15’ E: 2001-2002 (An Installation on the Co-ordinates of Everyday Life in Delhi) is the title of a complex installation that was also exhibited at Documenta11 by RAQS MEDIA COLLECTIVE, a group of media artists from Delhi. Your installation allows many possibilities for interpreting the experience of urban space. She observes the rise and fall of urban territories. The work, which is accessible on the Internet, is intended to provide an opportunity for interactive design in which the individual citizen modifies the coordinates of the use of the city by changing or changing the observation point, a traffic sign, the time of observation, the means of transport. The coordinates of use are “the urban fabric, which is characterized by innumerable social, political and environmental forms of abuse”. Two examples from the installation that lead me back to a reflection on the instability of borders and their different symbolic and narrative uses:

- the inner wall of a demolished house, which therefore becomes the outer wall. What was part of the decoration inside the house becomes graffito when viewed from the outside, it changes its meaning, presents itself as a space for a different kind of communication.

- the terraces, a private, secret, albeit open-air space (a topos often used in Indian literature; one could devote an entire book to the life that takes place in these spaces; sometimes these are small and improvised, sometimes huge, strictly designed facilities of wealthy owners; however, the residents always spend a lot of time there). In the installation these terraces are shown from above, i.e. H. they are released to the outside world. Explored by the eye of the camera in an inadmissible manner, this private space becomes public. It loses its original function and becomes a place from which one has to flee in order to lock oneself in the security of the interior. This time, however, the interior turns out to be a trap. I think it is no coincidence that the figure who first puzzles, then reacts anxiously to the unexpected eye that first grasps it from above and then comes closer, fixates and presses it that this figure is a woman who is Sees deprived of a single space that is not strictly regulated by domestic customs. It retreats to the coordinates 0 ° N / 0 ° E: outside of time?

Three different types of narration (that of Kanwar, that of the RAQS collective, and that of Patwardhan and Duhru), all three through images, which ask essential questions about our perception of space, the way in which it is designed and / or its disappearance interfere with identity and narrative.

Persistently moving on this non-canonical path, I would like to invite you to share with me the pleasure of two surprising lessons: a lecture on cinema will be given by Amartya Sen, Nobel Laureate in Economics, and a lecture by PK Nair, a historian who specializes in silent films and who was formerly the director of the Pune Film Library.

For passionate moviegoers like me, what Amartya Sen has to tell us is really extraordinary (and in this case the English word brings lecture better than the Italian word lezione to express that this is a Reading acts, an interpretation that is communicated to others in a loud voice, so to speak). The researcher and economist looks at Calcutta, he reads the city as shown in the films of Satyajit Ray. He adds his gaze to that of the great director, without overlaying it, and tells the city in which the two were born and raised, examining it in that black and white that is more characteristic of the city than any other color. He opens up a wealth of meanings and implicit prerequisites for us that a purely cinematic analysis could not offer. Sen becomes a spectator in order to reassemble one's own view, which has been fragmented by the various discipline-specific approaches, and finds the city in its entirety, as a geographical location and historical-social unit, as the cradle of culture and art. [21] P. K. Nair, on the other hand, in his important essay "The Caste Factor in Indian Cinema" provides what I believe is an exemplary interpretation of the sometimes realistic, sometimes metaphorical or symbolic modes of representation of the Indian caste system:

“The religious roots of Indian cinema go back to its origins. Shortly after the Lumière brothers unveiled their new invention, the recording device, on July 7, 1886 at the Watson Hotel in Bombay, many theater directors who owned such a machine began capturing the reality around them on celluloid. Their perception was completely different from that of their foreign colleagues, who let themselves be captivated by the exotic and mystical aspects of the country in their first productions - and perhaps also afterwards. It was only natural that Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, better known by the name Dadasaheb Phalke, a pioneer of Indian film, the material for the first Indian story to hit the silver screen (King Harischandra, 1913), from the inexhaustible fund of Indian mythology, while his famous American colleague D. W. Griffith for his masterpiece The Birth of a Nation (1914) filmed American history and the Civil War. […] For Phalke, the “mythological” was not a simple vehicle to take a naive audience into a fantasy world populated by gods and goddesses, demons and heavenly princesses, but a way to sharpen their awareness of daily problems and To provide means to address these problems. In this sense, the mythological heritage in India has the same meaning as the neorealist films for the West. ”[22]

By breaking away from the exoticism of the Western perspective, placing the castes in a precise historical, religious and cultural-historical context and opening up a possibility of comparison with the masters of American and European cinema, Nair poses a methodological question and forces us to consider to take a stand on an interpretative limit, both in terms of forms and content of the enormous, more than 100-year history of Indian film production. This point of view should lead us to watch the feature films and documentaries with greater attention and critical caution that are finally coming to us from the subcontinent in greater numbers.

I will close this subjective and, without a doubt, incomplete map with a topic that actually needs a separate treatise. In the half century after the Second World War, a period that we in Europe used to view as the “era of peace” up to the Balkan Wars in the 1990s, terrible wars were waged on the other continents. The wars of the national liberation movements have sparked extremely violent ethnic and / or religious conflicts, many of which have become endemic. The many coups have contributed to the perpetuation of the violence. Even if a summary listing of the horrors would be endless, the list is getting longer every day: names, places, pictures rise from every corner of my memory ...

A common element of all conflicts are nationalist demands that are carried out on the bodies of women in the name of ethnicity or religion or both. Every invented tradition sinks its roots in a double physical overwhelming place, the place of which is the body of the other, more often the body the Others, while arbitrary boundaries are drawn on the ground.

In India and Pakistan, feminist researchers have been working for years on historical reconstruction, documentation and the collection of testimonies from women who were victims of violence among the various communities. [23] But it is tantamount to a euphemism to use the past tense here after massacres and acts of violence took place in Gujarat only recently, in the spring of 2002. [24] The aim of this research is to make a gender-specific memory of the division (due to the split-off of Pakistan) and its aftermaths visible, a memory that was silenced for a long time and was in danger of being erased. It turns out that this memory bears astonishing resemblance to that of women victims of other wars and divisions in the recent past. [25] In this respect, it is significant in two ways: the women who were victims of violence were denied the role of historical subjects, both widows and orphans and abducted women.abducted“: Here the Latin etymology of the word is more explicit, since it describes well the act of“ carrying away ”the female body, the aim of which is to deprive them of their reproductive role in their own community and to impose on them the reproductive role in the hostile community ). After the partition, women will become objects of programs in both India and Pakistan social reconstruction, to objects of concern of a state, which is the guardian and the father familias swings up.

“To bring back 'their' women, if not their country, was a powerful affirmation of Hindu masculinity. [...] None of this happened when Hindu women were robbed by Hindu men or when Muslim women were robbed by Muslim men. This leads us to the conclusion that in such cases no insult to the community or religion was committed, so that no one 'honor' was compromised. "[26]

So they were neither full members of the community nor individuals, only female bodies who, once "saved", faced the fate of difficult survival. They had fled to their homeland or were often robbed twice and forced into humiliating conversion rituals. Therefore, these women have retained memories that must lead to significant changes in the writing of history.

What I would like to emphasize in this context is that a reflection on the relationship between territory and the determination of identity cannot do without a look at the order of the sexes. The evidence gathered so far in India and Pakistan (and ongoing research shows that the same applies to the Balkans, Rwanda, Chechnya) compel us to tell a different story and to look at the reintegration programs through the eyes of those who are about to Objects of these measures were. It is necessary to reassess the way in which the programs were implemented and what contradictions they unleashed. It should be noted once again that an exhaustive narrative of this division is only now in the process of being written. [27] Literature can also help shed light on that past. By like Bapsi Sidhwa in the novel Ice-Candy-Man[28] Telling stories that shame has banished into the realm of the unspeakable, literature can create knowledge and retrospectively restart the historical discourse, which was interrupted due to the lack of sources or never started so as not to question the patriarchal order to deliver. Anyone who translates these voices and the narrative forms that emerge from them must necessarily respect the words and the silence, the stammering and the screams. How else could the translation be a house of peaceful coexistence, a "hostel in the distance" in the sense of Antoine Berman? [29] In this way, narrative and translation could lead us back to a more peaceful geography.

"What is the home? The place where I was born? Where I grew up? Where do I live and work as an adult? Where do I find my community, [...] my people? Who are my people Is the home a geographical place, a historical space, an emotional space, a place for the senses? The home is always important for immigrants and migrants [...]. I am convinced that this question - how someone understands and defines home - is a deeply political one. Political solidarity and a sense of family could create a strategic space that I could call 'home'. ”[30]

“People in exile feel that the state of exile has the structure of a dream. Suddenly, as if in a dream, faces appear that he had forgotten, that he may never have seen before, or rooms that he is sure to see for the first time, but for some reason he has the impression that he knows them. The dream is a magnetic field that attracts images from the past, present and future. When people in exile are awake, faces, events and images that come from the dream field suddenly appear. Suddenly it seems to him that his biography was written long before it actually happened. Exile therefore does not appear to be the result of external circumstances or the result of one's free choice, but it seems as if one follows a coordinate that fate has long since determined for one. Captivated by this sweet and passionate thought, man in exile begins to decipher and unravel those incoherent signals, crosses and knots, and suddenly it seems to him that he can read a secret harmony out of it all, the circular logic of symbols. "[31]

The positions of Chandra Mohanty and Dubravka Ugrešić are reflected in each other, both in a poetic and a political sense. As a translator, I would like to put the readers of this essay in front of such a double mirror, because if you imperceptibly turn your gaze, you get a view that opens up almost the entire space to you. You get a Dickinson circle, a wide horizon, which dismantles all commonplaces and forces you to make room for the other in order to create a common space and, as a result, to search for your own place in this space do. This place is not just the fleeting space occupied by the shadow. Anyone who translates necessarily thinks the relationships between languages, he / she cannot ignore the relationships between those who speak these languages, he / she has to grasp the confusion, the breaks, the sudden silence.He / she has to ask what the reasons are that caused these blends and ruptures, and cannot be deaf to the whispering in the background. The explosions destroy the bodies and erase the shadows. And since "words can cost people their lives, it is only fair that those who work with the words pay the utmost attention to what they say" [32].

That seems to me to be the task of the translator today. "The translation is nothing more than an opening of meaning, never a promise to be exhaustive," wrote Rada Iveković a long time ago. [33] Anyone who, like me, translates writers from overseas countries often makes long stays in the other language, between languages, in search of a connection, one linkwhich is not always linguistic or semantic in nature. This connection concerns, in a precise and legitimate way, respecting a story and recreating a diverse imaginary. Incidentally, if you read the story of this little word - link - traced back, a sort of Ariel of the Oxford Dictionary, and even picks out a few meanings it has taken on over time, you discover something worth telling because it could in some way represent the epitome of translation. During a link in Old English was "a gently undulating sandy ground near a seashore", the word was later used over two centuries (1500-1700) to mean "wick" (wick) and subsequently as "ring, a part of chain "As well as" a mean of travel or transport between two places ". Isn't it the case that a translator moves on sandy, uneven terrain near a beach and tries to find her way around with the weak light of a wick, knowing full well that she is a link in the chain and a vehicle of which not only depends on the credibility, i.e. the reception of a text and the pleasure it reads, but life itself? Anyone who translates is a citizen of this world and must strictly adhere to forms of movement that are based on the mild ethics of those who not only connect, but deliberately leave the door ajar.



An earlier version of this essay appeared under the title “Fuori canone. Letterature, cinema, video nell’India contemporanea: una mappa impossibile ”in: Emanuela Casti e Mario Corona (eds.),
Luoghi e identità. Geography e letterature a confronto, Bergamo University Press, 2004.



[1] Cf. Nayantara Saghal, “India as Fiction: A Personal View”, contribution of the author to the conference “India. Nationalism, Democracy, Development, Interculturalism “, University of Bologna, 27.-29. November 1997, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Indian independence.

Much has been written about the design and architecture of Chandigarh. My reflections on the use and redefinition of indoor and outdoor spaces in a city that has become the contradicting symbol of modern India were particularly influenced by a photo exhibition I saw a few years ago. See Piergiorgio Sclarandis, Chandigarh. Le Corbusier in India, Fabriano: Cartiere Miliani 1993.

[3] I am referring to the "Seminar on Divisions" organized by Rada Iveković, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Paris VIII, in the 2001/2002 academic year.

[4] Cf. Amitav Ghosh, Dancing in Cambodia,At Large in Burma, Delhi: Ravi Dayal 1998.

[5] From a conversation with Ritu Menon, researcher and publisher. This position is reinforced by a statement Etienne Balibar made recently with reference to the European context: “The true language of Europe cannot be equated with a particular language. The language of Europe is translation, understood as a paradigm for the clash of different languages ​​and cultures, as an active practice of multiculturalism and interculturality. ”(School of Senigallia: Inauguration of the“ building sites of democracy ”.)

[6] Cf. Shashi Deshpande, Small remedies, Dehli: Penguin 2000.

[7] Cf. The Tongue Set Free, Women Writers Speak about Censorship, WORLD / Asmita Project 2002.

[8] Regarding the relationship between the English and Indian languages ​​during the colonial period (when the rise of the nationalist movement and the development of the novel in the local languages ​​went hand in hand) and in the post-colonial period (when the English language novel developed) see the essay by Meenakshi Mukherjee, “La narrativa indiana tra epica e romanzo”, in: Franco Moretti (ed.), Il romanzo, Vol. II, Torino: Einaudi 2002, pp. 502f.

[9] Cf. the introduction to the first of the volumes cited above.

[10] Cf. Bishakha Datta (ed.), And Who Will Make the Chapatis? A Study of All-Women Panchayats in Maharashtra, Calcutta: Stree 1998; Anita Agnihotri, Forest Interludes. A Collection of Journals & Fictions, transl. from the Bengali by Kalpana Bardhan, Delhi: Kali for Women 2001.

[11] Cf. Nayantara Sahgal, The Day in Shadow, Delhi: Vikas 1971.

[12]Lagaan won the audience award at the Locarno Festival in 2001 and was nominated for an Oscar in the category “Best Foreign Film” in 2002. Monsoon Wedding received the Golden Lion at the 2001 Venice Festival.

[13]War and Peace won the jury's special prize at the 2002 Cinemambiente Festival in Turin.

[20] These documentaries were presented as part of the "Global Vision" series at the Cinemambiente Festival in Turin 2002, when the directors and the writer Arundhati Roy were present. They are all part of the Narmada Bachao Andolan: the movement to protect the Narmada River.

[21] See Amartya Sen, “Our Culture, Their Culture. Satyajit Ray and the Art of Universalism ", in: Italo Spinelli (ed.), Indian summer. Films, Filmmakers and Stars Between Raj and Bollywood, 55th Festival Internazionale di Locarno, Milan: Olivares 2002, pp. 15-23.

[22] Cf. P. K. Nair, "The Caste Factor in Indian Cinema", in: ibid., P. 54.

[23]In India, the political use of belonging to an ethnic or religious community or to a caste is called CommunalismThe effects of this fundamentalist manipulation became particularly evident after the destruction of the Ayodhya mosque in December 1992, which sparked a wave of interreligious violence and led to a dramatic expansion of the Hindutva movement, which undermined the superiority of the Hindu people. Culture preaches.

[24] Cf. Amrita Kumar / Prashun Bhaumik (eds.), Read We Forget: Gujarat 2002, Delhi: World Report in Association with Rupa 2002. See also the dossier on the Gujarat massacres in the monthly Biblio, No. 7-8, 2002 (www.biblio.india.com).

[25] Cf. Rada Iveković / Julie Mostov (eds.), From Gender To Nation, Ravenna: Longo 2002.

[26] Ritu Meno, “Do Women Have a Country?” In: Ibid., P. 51.

[27] Cf. Ritu Menon / Kamla Bhasin, Borders and Boundaries. Women in India’s partition, Delhi: Kali for Women 1998; Urvashi Butalia, The Other Side of Silence, Delhi: Penguin India 1998; Sudhir Kakar, The Colors of Violence, Delhi: Penguin India 1996. See also: Transeuropéennes, No. 19/20, Winter 2000/2001, dossier “Divided Countries, Separated Cities”, an indispensable compilation of texts for any reflection on this topic (www.transeuropeennes.org);Leggendaria, No. 26, 2001, “Confini” dossier (www.leggendaria.it).

[28] Bapsi Sidhwa, Ice candyMan, Delhi: Penguin 1989.

[29] Antoine Berman, L’épreuve de l’étranger, Paris: Gallimard 1984.

[30] Chandra Mohanty, “Defining Genealogies. Feminist Reflections on Being South Asian in North America ", in: Women of South Asian Descent Collective (ed.), Our Feet Walk the Sky. Women of the South Asian Diaspora, San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books 1993.

[31] “To a person in exile it seems as if his condition has the structure of a dream. Suddenly, as in a dream, people appear whom he has forgotten and perhaps never met, rooms that he is sure to see for the first time, but thinks he knows from somewhere. The dream is a magnetic field that attracts images from the past, present and future. All of a sudden people, events and images appear to the exile who were attracted by the magnetic field of the dream; Suddenly he feels as if his biography had been written long before it was fulfilled, as if exile were not the result of external circumstances or his choice, but had been predetermined for him by fateful constellations for a long time. Under the spell of this sweet thought, the exile begins to unravel the confused signs, crosses and knots, and suddenly he believes that there is a secret harmony, a round logic of the symbols in all of this. ”(Dubravka Ugrešić, Das Museum der uncondungslos Kapitulation, Frankfurt / M .: Suhrkamp 2000, p. 19.)

[32] See the preface by Amitav Ghosh to his collection of articles Circostanze incendiarie, translated from English by Anna Nadotti, Vicenza: Neri Pozza 2006.