Subuhi Jiwani (Ed.)
Title Day’s End Stories: Life After Sundown in Small-Town India
Book Condition New
Publisher New Delhi, India Westland Limited
Seller ID 109644
The night has a thousand eyes and the day but one, Francis William Bourdillon the nightscape of the Indian metropolis has been eulogized in film and literature. But what of small-town India? Day’s End Stories, through a series of essays, chronicles nightlife in the towns of this country, covering not just dance and drinks, but also night-time activities that fall outside the conventional. Once darkness descends, Amitava Kumar visits the forgotten cultural spaces of Patna and Bettiah, Sumana Roy journeys with women carriers, past Siliguri, to the Indo-Nepal border, Shiladitya Sarkar takes a midnight rickshaw through the firefly-lit lanes of Puducherry and Vinod K. Jose recollects, with awe and longing, the late-evening film screenings in Mananthavady. The writers uncover, at dusk, the topography of small-town India, sprinkled with taverns, temples, cafés and cinema halls. Equally, they delve into the nocturnal public cultures and subcultures of these spaces, their wonders and trappings intact. They ask, how best can the nightlife of a small town be defined? How do social mores and beliefs impact late-evening wanderings? What pursuits are acceptable under the cover of darkness and what kind is deemed strange and subversive? How does the political climate color the hours after sundown? Most importantly, has nightlife here come to define a rather parochial idea of modernity in India, that is attached to the metropolis? Tabish Khair, in a crucial essay in this collection, studies Jejuri and Gaya and attempts answering the last question. He says: ‘The metropolis need not be cosmopolitan, similarly, the small town can be cosmopolitan in its own ways, as I discovered while growing up in Gaya, the interest we had in other spaces and different cultures was often in excess of what I have encountered among some people who have grown up in London or Copenhagen or Delhi. Day’s End Stories wishes to acknowledge precisely this, the cosmopolitanism of small-town India’s nightlife. It impels us to reconsider the metropolitan gaze.
Day’s End Stories: Life After Sundown in Small-Town India Subuhi Jiwani (Ed.)