Publications

The Many Lives of Indian Cinema: Conference Report


This conference was part of the golden jubilee celebrations of the Center for the Study of Developing Societies and was organized by The Sarai Programme to commemorate 100 years of Indian cinema. The conference sought to draw on the diverse heritage of Indian cinema to highlight the importance of cinema studies in the wider architecture of disciplinary engagements. This was with a view to bringing cinema into the academy as subject matter that required not only specialist analysis, but also as something which offered fresh perspectives, methods and materials to the human sciences.

Sarai Reader 09: Projections


A projection always involves an incandescent transference, some crossing of a void or darkness to effect luminous landings on a distant surface. Without projections, we would have no cinemas, no city plans, no forecasts, no wagers, no fantasies. Projections convect questions, magnify dreams and illuminate desires. Sarai Reader 09: Projections translates this imperative to act as a transport of illumination to build an axis of central questions…

City as Studio


The City as Studio programme emerged in 2010 to intervene in the shaping of a responsive and engaged milieu of contemporary art and media practices through a cluster of dedicated art and media fellowships tied to a structure of studio situations and processes in Delhi. The fellowship brings together artists, media practitioners, intellectuals, writers, activists, and a variety of audiences alongside a series of cultural and artistic practices in the city of Delhi.

The Water Cookbook


The Water Cookbook presents ideas from the Sarai project on peri-urban sustainability in Ghaziabad, India. It is a short graphic novel combining pictures with brief stories from daily life in the city.

No Apologies for the Interruption


Power creates rules, makes many implements to reign in possibilities and the impulses to create. But force of life cannot be contained; it bursts through anyway. Energy travels from body to body; each environment germinates countless more. It is of such questions, imaginations and collisions that No Apologies for the Interruption is an expression.

Sarai Reader 08: Fear


Modernity’s great promise – the freedom from fear, now lies in ruins. One can argue that this vision was always compromised – modernity (especially in the form that emerged in the West, under Capitalism) always hid its own fears, and hid from its own fears – the fear of epidemics, of urban panic, of the homeless multitude and of criminal activity. This led to a drive for transparency: for separating the civic from the criminal, the civilised and the barbaric peoples, the human from the non human, life from the machine. With the advent of the mass slaughters of the 20th century, where more died than ever in recorded human history, this promise lay shattered. Today, the drive for transparency has been rendered doubly difficult, with new mobile populations, new networks, new previously unimagined terrors. Sovereignty seems an antiquated slogan of the past, and in the wake of the financial shocks of 2008, there seems to be some substance in the contention that Western capitalism has entered a phase of possibly long term decline…

Trickster City


Trickster City is an extraordinary composite of writings on the city of Delhi. They were written over a period of two years by a group of twenty young people who live in different places in the city of Delhi, and who have, over the last several years, sustained among themselves and with others around them, a relationship of writing and conversing about the city.

Tinker.Solder.Tap


The protagonists of Tinker.Solder.Tap bring alive the ways in which the relationship between life and the media has been re-scripted in the various neighbourhoods of our cities. The story begins in the mid-80s, when a man returns home with an object called a VCR. The chain of effects that follows transforms irreversibly the social life of the neighbourhood and its reverberations can be felt all over the world…

Raj Comics for the Hard Headed


After 25 years of producing an entire galaxy of superheroes, Raj Comics is the largest comic book publishing house in India. They have published more than 5000 titles and are home to more than 20 characters. But, what is the world of Raj Comics? Who is the Raj Comics superhero? Where does he operate? What does he protect? And what does he protect it from? What role does the trinity of Law, Justice and Authority have to play in these comics? Surrounded by all these questions, a man rides in the city, certain that something has gone horribly wrong and needs to be saved. Certain that this time it is his turn to be the saviour.

Working Questions: Independent Research and Interdisciplinary Practice


For the last almost eight years [2000-08], Sarai, as part of its commitment towards the enrichment of the public life of intellectual activity in India, has consistently supported independent research projects and inter-disciplinary practice initiatives all over the country. These projects, undertaken by a diverse body of researchers and practitioners in English and Hindi, constitute a growing body of work that has emerged under the aegis of the Sarai-CSDS programme of fellowships for independent researchers and practitioners. Till date, this has translated into more than three hundred foundational grants to independent research and practice projects located in more than twenty cities across India. These projects are best seen, not as a set of finished undertakings, but as an array of working questions…