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WHY ARCHIVE CITIES IN FICTION?

Cities in Fiction is an archival project to locate real-world places in literature. It has been created to enable readers, writers, researchers, scholars, educators, and curriculum builders — across disciplines — to think about their interest in South Asia, particularly in Indian cities, through fiction. 

 

Literature gives us an insight into real-world places: landscapes, regions, cities, towns, villages, and even no man’s land. One only has to think of works of famous authors - Krishna Sobti’s rural Punjab in undivided India, Sri Lal Shukla’s Uttar Pradesh of mis-governed panchayats, Dehradun in Ruskin Bond’s writing, lives of Dalit Christian women in Bama’s Tamil Nadu, Nepali author Indra Bahadur Rai’s Darjeeling, Manto’s partitioned Bombay, or Lahore, to name a few. Cities in literature can be looked at as record-keepers of major demographic shifts, cultural, political and archeological changes, urban planning, landscaping, ecology, and almost all aspects of life. In reality, a space/place is always in flux for our world is constantly being changed or re-arranged. Wars, religion, development, renovation, decay, natural resources, disasters, economy, sociology and many other factors cause these fluxes. Imagination as a tool then can help us to rebel, rebuild, remember, grieve, or celebrate. And this is the incredible gift of fiction — it offers us realities which might be difficult or even impossible to live and understand, otherwise.  

 

Through this project, we want to encourage learners and educators to experiment and see ‘fiction as a method’. Add all kinds of places you encounter in fiction to our archive. Villages, towns, small, big, mega cities, cosmopolitans, and the in between, whatever be their nature: forgotten; existing; or proposed. As the project develops with your help, we hope to provide ready resources that anyone could use, especially those building curriculums and pedagogies around cities.

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