Metronama: Scenes from the Delhi Metro
108 pages
English

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108 pages
English

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Description

Metronama is a rich and intimate account of urban transformation told through the story of Delhi’s Metro, a massive infrastructure project that is reshaping the city’s social and urban landscapes. Ethnographic vignettes introduce the feel and form of the Metro and let readers experience the city, scene by scene, stop by stop, as if they, too, have come along for the ride.
Through exquisite prose, Rashmi Sadana transports the reader to a city shaped by both its Metro and those who depend on it, revealing a perspective on Delhi unlike any other.

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Publié par
Date de parution 21 janvier 2022
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9789392130106
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 5 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0500€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

Extrait

Metronama is a rich and intimate account of urban transformation told through the story of Delhi’s Metro, a massive infrastructure project that is reshaping the city’s social and urban landscapes. Ethnographic vignettes introduce the feel and form of the Metro and let readers experience the city, scene by scene, stop by stop, as if they, too, have come along for the ride.
Through exquisite prose, Rashmi Sadana transports the reader to a city shaped by both its Metro and those who depend on it, revealing a perspective on Delhi unlike any other.

Rashmi Sadana is Associate Professor of Anthropology at George Mason University and author of English Heart, Hindi Heartland: The Political Life of Literature in India.
 
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FORTHCOMING TITLE Dinesh C. Sharma Indian Innovation, Not Jugaad: 100 Ideas that Transformed India
 

 
ROLI BOOKS
This digital edition published in India, 2022
The Lotus Collection
An Imprint of Roli Books Pvt. Ltd
M-75, Greater Kailash- II Market
New Delhi 110 048
Phone: ++91 (011) 40682000
Email: info@rolibooks.com
Website: www.rolibooks.com
© Rashmi Sadana, 2022
All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, transmitted, or stored in a retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic, mechanical, print reproduction, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of Roli Books. Any unauthorized distribution of this e-book may be considered a direct infringement of copyright and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly.
eISBN: 978-93-92130-10-6
All rights reserved.
This e-book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out, or otherwise circulated, without the publisher’s prior consent, in any form or cover other than that in which it is published.
 
For Vivek
 
Contents

Introduction
Part I
Crowded
The Train to Dwarka
Mandi House
Vanita
The Image of the City
Metro Bhawan
Space and Matter
Red Line
Resident Welfare
Okhla Station
Naipaul on the Metro
Nukkad Natak
Mumbai
Urban Hazards
Ramlila Maidan
From Badarpur
Yellow Line
Drishti
A Developed Country
Social Space
Seelampur Station
Pressure Cooker
Blue Line
Delhi-6
Bus Rapid Transit
The Bicycle Fixer
Part II
Expanding
A Road’s Geography
The Gangway
Spontaneous Urbanism
Nehru Place
Rupali
Chief Minister
City of Malls
Violet Line
Metal and Plastic
Appropriate Architecture
Chawri Bazar
Ajay and Gita
Ring Road
Grievance and Governance
Morning Commute
Orange Line
The Play about the Metro
Aspirational Planning
Renu and Shiv
Layers and Sediment
Green Line
Cycle Rickshaw-wala
Metro Mob
The Techno-cosmopolitan
The Politics of Speed
Part III
Visible
World Class
Strike
Bus
Infrastructure by Example
Magenta Line
Radhika
Posture
Integration
The Photo that Went Viral
Voids and Solids
Beauty Salon
Suicide
Multiple Choice
Jahnavi
Café Coffee Day
Looks
Street Survey
Aasif
E-rickshaws
Love Marriage and a Head Injury
Fare Hike
At Home in Dakshinpuri
Dilli Haat
Pink Line
City Park
Epilogue
Acknowledgements
Bibliography
 
Introduction

W hen you get off at the elevated Mundka station, a line of small white vans waits for passengers at the bottom of the escalator. Young men call out place-names for destinations all across the Haryana state border. Cow dung patties dry in the sun to one side of the station escalator; jagged lines of cars and buses jostle on the other. Half-built Metro stations leading to future stations rise up in the distance. Leaving Mundka, Raveena, a slim woman in her twenties, gets on the women-only coach of the Metro. We start to chat, and she tells me that her father drops her off and picks her up at the station each day. She takes the Metro a few stops eastward to Paschim Vihar to attend college. She is certain that she would not be on the Metro at all if it were not for “the ladies’ coach.”
“After Mundka, it’s good,” she says, “but before Mundka, it’s very bad, the crowd and all.” For Raveena, “crowd” is about place, about where you are from and the attitudes you may hold. It is an imagined likeness and social reality but perhaps more a public than an actual crowd. It is also, of course, a manner of speaking.
“Haryana is not good, not good for girls. Men are not good, even boys. They stare at me, sometimes they vent at me. I can’t do anything,” she explains. “Vent” is typical Delhi-speak to describe when someone lashes out in a stream of verbal abuse erupting like a volcano. On the street they see her as a species rather than a person. What are they angry about? That she is a girl in public, that she moves with confidence, that she is protected, that she studies, that they don’t have girlfriends, that they don’t have jobs, that, ironically enough, there aren’t more women around. On the Metro, the crowd is simply more “neutral,” Raveena says, and I also see that it allows her to imagine, and perhaps enact, a future beyond it. 1
Delhi has been notorious as a place where women not only get harassed on the street but also may be subjected to the grisliest of crimes. These stories and statistics feed into a larger narrative about girls’ and women’s safety and their proper place in the city (usually at home). 2 The safety discourse teaches women from a young age that it is their fault if anything happens to them and that they need male protectors and guardians to get through life – and public space. And yet on the streets and lanes of Delhi, you see women everywhere; they have places to go and things to do, from moving bricks at construction sites to leading the city as top-ranking public officials. As state-sponsored infrastructure, the Delhi Metro has given women in particular a new way into the city, as a site of purpose, aspiration, and pleasure. One out of four Metro riders is female, which is similar to the percentage of women who work outside the home in India. 3 As a street-level ethnographic view of the city, this book documents women and men in public places: how people flow into and out of trains and the new embodied experience of that flow; how they melt into the crowds yet emerge with individual experiences; how urban life comes to be narrated through the Metro. It recounts diverse experiences of the city and especially reveals what becomes visible through female gazes.
The arrival of the Delhi Metro – an ultra-modern, high-tech, and highly surveilled urban rail system, and South Asia’s first large-scale, multiline metro – has become a touchstone for discussions of urban development, gendered social mobility, and India’s increasingly aspirational culture since its first line opened in December 2002. Over three construction phases (with a fourth currently underway), it has become part of the lived experience of nearly three million who ride it each day. At the peripheral edges of the city, where the Metro meets more rural sensibilities, ideas of the urban are created and contested.
From 2007–2012, I was living in India, mostly in Delhi, commuting on the Metro, and teaching for two years at the Institute of Indian Technology, first in Chennai and then in Delhi. But I first took the Delhi Metro in 2006 from Central Secretariat station near India Gate, which was as far south as the Yellow Line went at the time. Seven stops later, at Civil Lines, I exited through a glass cube-like station. The trip felt more like a ride; it almost didn’t matter where I was going. I was, like so many in the city, a first timer, a joyrider.
For some Dilliwalas the novelty of riding the Metro came from the fact that it was in India, and they could compare it to what they had only ever experien

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