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Contents – Travel: Cities, Places, People (Issue 45)

Contents – Travel: Cities, Places, People (Issue 45)

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Contributors

Contributors

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Guest-Editorial – Travel: Cities, Places, People

By Nishi Pulugurtha
Travel is about negotiating with the known and the unknown, the familiar and the unfamiliar. It brings in ideas of negotiation, urban planning, history, architecture, space, food, memory, exile, emigration, and colonialism. As a free, voluntary, spontaneous movement, travel could be contrasted to ideas of displacement. This brings into contention as to who can and who cannot travel, an important idea in today’s world, where violence has caused forced displacement of people.

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From the Womb of Wien

By Srirupa Dhar
Close to the cathedral is perhaps the most remarkable of places – the Mozarthaus. Even after seven years, I feel the surreal feel of walking into the domestic life of one of the greatest human minds. This Mozarthaus located at 5, Domgasse was the maestro’s rented home (on the first floor) and has seen some of the most celebratory phases of his life from 1784 to 1787.

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A Bibliophile’s Sauntering in and around London

By Nabanita Sengupta
I could visualise the grand ball dances being organised there with the entire beaux and belles of the town. I visualized the maidens and their suitors - Jane and Bingley, Emma and Knightly. Elizabeth and Darcy were not dancing, I visualized them sitting across each other, trying to outdo one another in haughtiness. What a treat to the eyes it was! Even when I returned home, I remained star-struck.

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Here and There: My experiences with food

By Usha Banerjee
What is ‘Dev Bhoomi-Uttarakhand’ to tourists from all across the planet is home to me now. While tourists flock to these pleasant valleys for some calm, peace, and serenity, I run to board flights that land in crowded bustling noisy streets of Calcutta, the place I call home. Long working days with busy chores pass away easily, when I begin to calculate the number of days remaining for vacations that take me home – my City of Joy – Calcutta for me, Kolkata for others.

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Celebration of Everywoman

By Ilakshee Bhuyan Nath
Chugging my way across the Brahmaputra on a country boat to Dhemaji, I look into its waters, which also carry the sediments and the waters of its many tributaries, I wonder if there ever was an art-piece to celebrate the lives of these women weavers, what would their hearts be filled with? Perhaps if their meditations on the loom travelled, they would receive the same love across time and space. An art to celebrate the life of everywoman. 

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In Search of the Lost Travellers: Tradition of Travel in the Bengali Milieu

By Sayan Aich Bhowmik
This passion for travelling in the community's gene may, in my opinion, be traced back to two things – a literary repertoire of narratives in which either the central characters are weaving tales of their travels or are actually travellers themselves, and the second being a Wordsworthian idea of nature being a nurse or a healer, embalming the tired soul, weary of the clash and din of city life.

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A Journey to Santa Barbara: A Land of Dreams

By Ketaki Datta
As the cab revved up and I was waving at the person standing in front of Centennial Plaza, I thought I left a slice of my heart there, with Andersen and the Danes, who came to scoop a little of America, to settle. As the tall colonnades of trees bobbed up in front of my eyes, I asked myself, “Hey, Where was the Prince of Denmark’s Museum? Hamlet’s?”

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Journey’s Mercies Please!: The Female Traveller in Perspective

By Debasri Basu
In the context of a country like India where millions still languish below the poverty-line, criminal acts resulting in financial profit viz. stealing, robbing, and bamboozling tourists could be cited to establish this link. However, when it comes to sexual crimes, one needs to delve deeper into the prevalent societal conditions to understand the causes for such delinquent behaviour.

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Travelling with Vulnerability and the Baggage of Fear

By Sohini Chatterjee
The questions were inexorable. Did I need to be afraid? After all nothing happened. Do I need to be a stronger person? And then I realized the shame that was accompanying these questions was not mine and I would not acquiesce to its unjustified demand of silence. I will acknowledge all my fears, foreboding, unease because they travel with me wherever I go and have been validated by violence in the past.

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How work-travel taught me a thing or two about life

By Amrita Mukherjee
For me, travel is not only about discovering places but it is about discovering people too. Often it is on the official trips, when you are travelling with a diverse group of people, you learn about humanity and society all over again. In a distant place, in a different milieu, people often become themselves shorn of the mask revealing their selfishness or the kindness they are capable of. While travelling for my official assignments, many of which were junkets, I not only ended up learning more about people I also ended up rediscovering myself.

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“The Sun Shines Bright on Loch Lomond”: Geography Meets Politics in the Scottish Highlands

By Sheila T. Cavanagh
When they began this pilgrimage across Boswell’s native territories, Johnson and Boswell were certainly familiar with the issues surrounding the efforts of Bonnie Prince Charlie to become the English monarch, whether or not it spoke to them politically in any serious fashion. They each comment, for example, about their visit with famed Jacobite heroine, Flora McDonald, who was noted for helping the disguised Prince escape the Outer Hebrides island of Benbecula, when he fled there after his defeat at Culloden.

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From Timor to Mauritius: Matthew Flinders’ Island Identity

By Gillian Dooley
Flinders looked forward to a time when he could return to Mauritius, now a British possession. He wrote affectionate letters to his French friends there for the rest of his short life, imagining plans for bringing his wife with him to meet his island companions. But it was not to be. The chore of writing his Voyage ‘grew upon him’, as he phrased it, to such an extent that it used up all the time he had left.

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Nicholas Schmidle’s ‘To Live or To Perish Forever: Two Tumultuous Years in Pakistan’

By Mosarrap H Khan
Schmidle’s self-conscious description of his effort to become like a Pakistani resembles the effort of another traveler in another century: Edward Lane. In Orientalism, Said writes about Lane’s effort to submerge in the Egyptian population in order to give his work a more authentic feel. Said notes how “one portion of Lane’s identity floats easily in the unsuspecting Muslim sea, a submerged part retains its secret European power, to comment on, acquire, possess everything around it.”

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Justin Trudeau’s family trip to India and a new snug diplomacy

By Anagha Babu
Trudeau and his family during their visit to India looked like they were taken right out of a Bollywood movie. This is a mirror to the fact how Trudeau has conceptualised India – Indian attire, cuisine, dancing all assumed as depicted in Indian movies. Amidst all the criticism received for this, it should be considered nothing less than a failure if the efforts to get Indianised by the First Family of Canada goes unnoticed by the Indian diaspora in Canada.

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The Exotic Tropic of William and Thomas Daniell

By Himanshi Sharma
The travel of the Daniells from one exotic location to another to produce exquisite prints as a purely artistic project causes us to break away from the available template of looking at travel in India during British colonial rule as simply an activity of knowledge creation. By emphasising their use of aquatints, the Daniells did not only transport the Indian monuments but also the climate, light, and environment to their English audiences, who all had an uncle in the Orient but not always the ticket to visit them.

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Emily Eden in India: A British Memsahib’s Account of India through Travel and Letters (1837-1841)

By Ankita Das
The Edens reached Calcutta on 3 March, 1836, which incidentally was also Emily Eden’s 39th birthday. She was accompanying her brother, Lord Auckland (Governor General to India), along with her sister, Fanny Eden. On October 1837, they left Calcutta for a two and half year tour across the northern provinces of India, with an entourage of twelve thousand people, eight hundred and fifty camels, one hundred forty elephants, and sixty horses. Their journey route was from Calcutta to Simla via Benaras, Simla to Lahore, Lahore to Simla, and finally back to Calcutta.

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Travelling Memory: A Study of Qurratulain Hyder’s ‘River of Fire’

By Nishat Haider
If historical memories travel around our Indian cultural landscape, I see their confluence in River of Fire as a dynamic site. In fact, memory is not a phenomenon that is fixed in time and space. In River of Fire, Hyder shows that memories travel in multidimensional motion and that our national memoryscape reflects the routes of memories in the itineraries of war, colonialism, and nationhood.

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Re-mapping a Small Place: Jamaica Kincaid’s ‘A Small Place’

By Arundhati Sethi
At first sight, A Small Place, written by Antiguan-American writer, Jamaica Kincaid, appears to be a mere sliver of a book containing an ordinary portrait of a tiny and obscure Caribbean island that the writer belongs to. However, as one enters the text, one realizes that it has in fact, packed within it, a powerful and almost breathless critique of a debilitating colonial enterprise as well as an equally oppressive neo-imperial world-politic and the inevitable linkages between them.

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Book Review: ‘A Princess’s Pilgrimage: Nawab Sikandar Begum’s A Pilgrimage to Mecca’

By Raeesa Usmani
Sikandar Begum’s account is partly filled with the official correspondence between Pasha, Sherif of Mecca and Jeddah cities, and herself. Her letters mainly discuss the complexities she had to undergo because of Turkish custom officers; her dealings, arrangement of formal visits and customary communications, regarding her being escorted safely and securely in the city; her tentative dwelling arrangements and the problems she had faced because of an unfamiliar language as an Indian pilgrim.

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Book Review: Mark Shand’s ‘Travels on my Elephant: An Indian Journey’

By Sridhi Dash
Shand has interspersed the travelogue with ample excerpts from nineteenth and twentieth century European texts on elephants. He seems to long to return for a touristic sightseeing of the poverty and deterioration of India after the British had sucked the subcontinent dry of all its resources and riches. There appears to be no hint of guilt for the colonial sins committed by his forefathers as he revels with his small army, fulfilling his fantasy of being a modern day Tarzan.

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