media, information, the contemporary

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…

The programme’s innovation consists in putting in place a public architecture for the production, circulation and exchange of knowledge through a combination of physical and virtual encounters hosted by Sarai. The public architecture of knowledge generated by the fellowship programme invites and invokes a discursive and creative community into being, provides it with tools and platforms for the public articulation of its knowledge through electronic discussion lists, publication and public events, and creates a publicly accessible repository – a commons of discourse and creative resources – by generating an open archive (the opposite of an
enclosed site that prevent s access to knowledge, either through intellectual property safeguards, or disciplinary barriers, or both) that indexes and renders the result s of the research activities and creative processes enabled by the programme…


Editors (English): Debjani Sengupta, Vivek Narayanan

Editor (Hindi): Mahmood Farooqui

Editorial Coordinator (English): Shuddhabrata Sengupta

Editorial Coordinator (Hindi): Ravikant

Interviews: Smriti Vohra

Design and Layout: Amitabh Kumar

Design Coordinator: Monica Narula

Translations: Mahmood Farooqui, Ravikant, Sanjay Sharma, Rakesh Kumar Singh

Typing (Hindi): Chandan Sharma

This book and the Sarai-CSDS Fellowship Programme have both been realised with the support of the Ford Foundation.


The entire book can be accessed and downloaded from the Sarai archive.



The Sarai-CSDS Fellowship Programme: An Overview and Introduction – Shuddhabrata Sengupta ke Hamsafar – Ravikant

Karo Dil Jo Chahe – Mahmood Farooqui

A Protean Gathering – Debjani Sengupta

Riding the Unfinished Wave: A Reader’s Guide to Working Quetions – How to Use this Book – Vivek Narayanan

Catalogue of Selected Projects

The Mainstream Media and its Margins

– Describing the Beast
– Alternate Fantasies / Parallel Universes
– Education and Communion

Lived and Mobile Spaces: Communities, Expressions, Structures

– Colony in the City
– The Expansion and Shrinking of Public Space
– The Train of Dreams

The Singular Lens

The Narrated Life

Research into Interventions / Intervention as Research

– Crisis in the Everyday
– Cures and Preventions

The Ghosts in the Archive

– The Lost World
– The Arrival and the Return

Excerpts from Interviews with
Independent fellows

Complete Chronological List of All Fellowships Awarded

Thematic Index

Image / Picture / Text Credits

Editors and Designers