MUMBAI READER 2013
Mumbai Reader’13 is available for reference and purchase at UDRI Resource Centre.
The difficulty in representing Mumbai now is that there is always a feeling that such representations may fall into one of the several limitations of reading the city linearly. These limitations of linearity include making gross generalisations, or getting lost in seductive micro-narratives, or constructing incredible scenarios through meticulous empiricisms. While the generalisations strip the complexities of the city from the readings, the micro narratives are often myopic. Similarly, the approaches of using empiricisms are driven by preconceived agendas for problem solving.
Individually, the generalisations, micro narrations and the empiricisms are unable to capture the complexity of Systems, Organisations, and Space in the city. This impossibility of conceptualising the city warrants the need to read the city in multiple ways that simultaneously include an almost palimpsest like reading of all the approaches. To talk about the city then, would be to talk simultaneously in multiple disparate ways, in multiple languages and with multiple perspectives. The Mumbai Reader is an attempt to undertake a representation of the city that enables innumerable readings through a simultaneous and non-linear compilation of multiple voices in the city. The contents include some of the most recent perspectives on culture, economy, geography and history of the city. While it records the routine mainstream labour history and planning discourse types of writings; it also overlaps these with some of the current debates on absurdities that the city is faced with the issues relating to bar-dancers, changing of street names etc. The perspectives include voices from the bureaucracy, civil society organisations, academics, industry, judiciary, media, professionals, artists and many others. The Reader does not claim to be a comprehensive or an exhaustive compilation of readings on the city. It is rather an attempt to provide a glimpse of the complex dynamics of the city of Mumbai. The process of making this compilation was initiated through a call for papers made to a varied set of individuals in order to ensure an array of perspectives that would present to a reader diverse possibility of perceiving the city.
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