Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tricks of light

In 2005, a group of Delhi writers began meeting to discuss how to write about the city. It wasn’t an uncommon occurrence – in Delhi, it can feel like writers never do anything else. But these congregations met in unlikely locations, the urban villages and semi-slums of Dakshinpuri, LNJP Colony and Nangla Maanchi. The writers were also unlikely: all Hindi-speaking, all below 30, and all residents of that other Delhi, the city of the tenth-pass, the vocational course, the inland letter and the government OPD.

Early into 2006 came a tragedy that scorched the book they would eventually write together. The Delhi High Court ordered the demolition of Nangla Maanchi, a slum colony on the east bank of the Yamuna River. Some parts of the slum were bulldozed. Perhaps 30,000 people were displaced. A few of the writers lived there, and all of them haunted the neighbourhood as the Delhi Municipal Corporation and police turned it into a mess of crushed bricks and plastic sheeting. Visthapan, or displacement, became a hot word in their conversations.

Full report here Timeout Mumbai

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