POSTMODERN DELHI: A VIEW THROUGH SOME NOVELS
Authors: Sangeeta Mittal
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Postmodern Delhi has been writing itself voluminously. This paper presents a survey of the Delhi novel- a genre that saw a boom coinciding with economic liberalization of the 1980s and is brimming with more and more literature in the global postmodern ethos of today. The paper explores objectives, tropes, themes, voices and locations inscribed in this city based cultural production. The study is not just recommends must-read postmodern Delhi novels, but also examines the writers’ postmodern subjectivity that coalesces and collides with Delhi urbanity and spatiality. The narratives that so emerge are winding, groping, finding, hiding, and ultimately inconclusive, like the city itself. Postmodern Delhi,thus, becomes an active agent in shaping the structure and thematics of these novels. Straddling the urban schisms of proximity vs. remoteness, belongingness vs. loneliness, community living vs. blasé anonymity, affluence vs. poverty, center vs. periphery, civicism vs. alienation, opportunity vs. monopoly and many such structural and existential dichotomies splintered all over the urban landscape, writings by campus goers, new migrants, old Delhiwallah gentry, expats, gated communities- all attempts to vanquish the hydra-headed monster of the maximum city.