Representations Of Postcolonial Cityscapes English Literature Essay

The procedure of urbanisation possesses such a dynamic that it comes as no surprise that “ for the first clip the urban population of the Earth will outnumber the rural, ”[ 2 ]with people all around the universe migrating to the universe ‘s great metropoliss. Such cities are melting-pots of peoples, civilizations, and linguistic communications, histories, architecture, and media representations. And often, as Walter BenA­jamin argued in his seminal essay on the ‘flaneur ‘ , they have – particularly in literary modernness – been associated with images of that of the maze, wood, and pelagic downpours[ 3 ]and, above all else, pandemonium.[ 4 ]a testaA­ment to different historical ( colonial ) eras, every bit good as representA­ing the luster and decay of their respective ( former colonial ) society. Furthermore, they are hotbeds of extremist and political inclinations, looks, and subcultures. They are besides multicultural meeting-places, contradictory urban places/spaces characterized by changeless perpendicular and horizontal enlargement, apposition, simultaneousness, heteroA­geneity, acceleration of life, and they are chiefly marked by a deficiency of infinite, crowds of people, and denseness.

The term ‘metropolis ‘ has its beginning in the Grecian words mA“tA“r ( ‘mother ‘ ) and polis ( ‘polity ‘ ) . Taken together, the two words have come to denote ‘mother metropolis ‘ . In ancient Grecian history, the term ‘metropolis ‘ was used in order to depict “ the parent province of a settlement ”[ 5 ]– the Centre, in contrast to the fringe. Harmonizing to Ashcroft, Griffith & A ; Tiffin, “ the first specific usage of the term to cover the modern colonial state of affairs, in which ‘metropolitan ‘ agencies ‘belonging to or representing the female parent state, ‘ is listed in the OED as 1806. ”[ 6 ]

In colonial and imperial Eurocentric ways of thought, the city was seen as the place of political, economic, and cultural power, a perceptual experience that has remained unchanged. In peculiar, London, Paris, and Moscow have traditionally been seen as Centres of European and East European enlargement. London and Paris were, in fact, the Centres of the two major colonial imperiums in the universe and remain good illustrations of universe metropoliss that have been richly described and depicted in literature, movie, and academic authorship. In ( station ) modern times they are forced to portion their position as universe metropoliss with one ‘older ‘ cities, New York City, and more late with ‘new ‘ cities such as Mexico City, Lagos, Tokyo, Mumbai, Kolkata, Cape Town, and Hong Kong, which contradict about every shaping characteristic of the ‘modern ‘ metropolis.

Hong Kong is the most impressive illustration of a new signifier of urban development, which is defined as ‘high-rise high-density megalopolis ‘ : an highly populated, quickly spread outing city. These ‘Tiger Cities ‘ have taken a immense spring onto the universe phase, catching up on three hundred old ages of European urban development in merely one coevals. They are characterized by many degrees on which people live, work, eat, and travel. Peoples besides live highly close together in the alleged ‘Third-World ‘ cities, or the ‘new ‘ cities such as Rio, Cairo, Mumbai, and Kolkata – in favelas and in slums, and sometimes as illegal homesteaders. India ‘s five most populated metropoliss have become megacities: Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore. They each have a population of over 10 million dwellers ; Kolkata and Mumbai over 15 million. In the Western universe, industrialisation or modernness have been the two specifying characteristics of the megacities. Conversely, the ‘Third-World ‘ cities are frequently perceived in relation to the figure of people populating or traveling at that place, frequently depicted as surreal, with awful images of the metropolis in the Western media.[ 7 ]

Phantasmagoria by and large refers to a switching array of images and events imagined or invented. Kaika and Swyngedouw ( 2000 ) discourse phanatamsgorical nature of the metropolis in footings of its base engineerings that appear, disapppear, and leave the hints of its yesteryear ( dike, towers, sanitation undertaking, railroads, belowground buildings ) . Gilloch ( 2007 ) defines urban phanatamsgoria in footings of the commodification of basic human demands ( nutrient, electricity, H2O ) , and the limit of its ( imagined ) physcial infinite and the myth of advancement, by which the metropolis is seperated from the state or the small town. Furthermore, I refer to urban Phantasmagoria as a complex apposition of physical infinite and societal strata, copiousness and scarceness of resources, over ingestion and underconsumption, category formation, disaffection, development, domination.

However, the relationship between colonialism and urbanism or, in peculiar, the relationship between postcolonialism and the city has been “ deplorably neglected. ”[ 8 ]I will therefore argue along the lines of Rudiger Kunow, who writes that after the ‘cultural bend ‘ we now have to prosecute in the ‘spatial bend ‘ .[ 9 ]

On the other manus, the metropolis as a cardinal subject in ( station ) modern fiction and movie, as Tobias Wachinger has articulately outlined,[ 10 ]has been a recurrent and productive subject during the last two to three decennaries. Scholars are progressively cognizant of the fact that, with the creative activity of such megapolises as Paris, London, Madrid, Moscow, and New York, there has besides developed a peculiar involvement in the literary representation, enabling the metropolis to be ‘written ‘ into being.

As an aesthetic transmutation of a existent city into a fabricated one, a novel or movie maps as a microcosm of society, exemplifying possibilities for sing and stand foring the cityscape. By and large, it is possible to idenA­tify two cardinal manners of discourse in cityscape texts or metropolitan literaA­ture, as in modern-day ‘London fiction ‘ . On the one manus, there is postmodA­ern discourse, which deconstructs the constructs of metropolis and world and foreA­grounds textuality ; on the other, there is the late emergent postcolonial discourse of the city, which focuses on the metropolis as multicultural place/ infinite and its capacity to suit a assortment of cultural and cultural idenA­tities.[ 11 ]Ever since authors such as Charles Dickens and Emile Zola, and socioA­logists such as Georg Simmel, there has been a peculiar involvement in composing and analysing the metropolis, so that particularly the novel and the metropolis have – in the class of modernness – complemented each other. Since the early-twentieth century and the rise and variegation of modernism ( s ) , a whole set of features such as intensification of urban life through changeless inflow of people and engineerings have made themA­selves felt in exacerbated signifier. These are – paradigmatically – responsible for a new signifier of city-text: viz. , the novel/text/film of the city, in which narrative constructions are broken up. Concentrating on these facets of literary texts enables us to concentrate on the aesthetic “ topography of the planetary metropolis ”[ 12 ]and to hold on its fanciful, textual, multilayered, and semantic inscripA­tion.

This combination of metropolis and ‘globalized modernnesss ‘ , a term fruitfully employed by Frank Schulze-Engler, will be explored in new ways by taking on board in my analysis the construct of postcolonialism. The postcolonial city is even more than the modern one characterized by the facets mentioned above, but besides by issues such as diaspora, the hunt for individuality ( of the inA­dividual and the group ) , multiculturalism and besides commodification.

I will, foremost, concentrate on Fury ( 2001 ) , Salman Rushdie ‘s ‘American ‘ novel, in which the author paints a image of New York City the infinite of which has grown excessively big for the diasporic ego.[ 13 ]Second, I will analyze Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found ( 2004 ) , Suketu Mehta ‘s autobiographical, semi-documentary travelogue, which thereby already addresses the construct of commodification. Both texts paradigmatically set a new tone in relation to the representation of the specific cityscape of the city in a postcolonial context. They put frontward alternate signifiers and manners of comprehending the city and urban experience by manner of commodifying the cityscape in a postcolonial context. Furthermore, they both view the postcolonial cityscape through the eyes of a postcolonial, that is diasporic, ‘flaneur. ‘

Spatial-Semantic Layering and the Effectss

of Depth and Historicity on the City

Percepts of ( station ) colonial enlargement qualify the images of many cities today, fundamentally due to procedures of migration, either from develA­oping states into world/global metropoliss or from the countryside into the city. Therefore, ‘city-texts ‘ are frequently characterized by the dialectic of Centre and fringe, which is besides a dominant issue in the media. The textual reA­presentation of the city is frequently carried out through meta-narrative schemes and even via foundational myths.[ 14 ]This suggests that metropoliss are hisA­torically multi-layered: there is a changeless exchange of past and present which can be found in the world of the city ( e.g. , street names, memorials ) . Therefore, the city becomes a palimpsest to which the text corresponds. In many narrations, movies, and historiographic Hagiographas about metropoliss in the twenA­tieth century, whether fictional or documental, the metropolis itself is the primary topic or sujet.[ 15 ]This implies that the metropolis no longer serves merely every bit backA­ground for the secret plan of a narrative but becomes its cardinal subject, a fact reflected in the German term ‘Gro?stadtroman ‘ ( = ‘novel of the city ‘ ) .

Characteristically, the perceptual experience of the ‘new ‘ cities is that of an even greater and frequently surreal grade of their interior life. Wachinger consequently speaks of the breaking-up of the urban dimension of deepness in footings of what he calls a ‘space-semantic rule of layering ‘ .[ 16 ]

Furthermore, the ‘Gro?stadtroman ‘ is characterized by its subtext every bit good as a discourse on the city, including intertextual mentions. However, as we are speaking about a ‘recording ‘ or written text of the metropolis, by manner of its narraA­tive presentation and structuring, there is ne’er merely one medium nowadays but an on-going discursive and cross median show expressed in horizontal concurrences and gatherings, conveying to illume the concealed historicity of the metropolis. Such a subterraneous image is strengthened by, for case, the introA­duction of a cryptic group of plotters who determine life from underA­ground.[ 17 ]

Cities have come into being in several signifiers: foremost, there is the belowground dimension ; secondly, there is horizontal enlargement ; and, thirdly, there is the enlargement of infinite through the use of verticalness through, for illustration, skyscrapers, which, yet once more, heighten the denseness of civilisation by apposition and layering. The infinite beneath the surface has traditionally been described as one of pandemonium – the basement or cellar, a infinite of the arcane and eldritch which lacks stableness and security. The belowground infinite is frequently seen as an fanciful dimension which spreads beneath the metropolis ‘s surA­face and constitutes a parallel environment. The impression of the ‘flaneur ‘ can besides be linked to the thought of the apposition and layering of times, as the flaneur is a “ adult male of the crowd ”[ 18 ]with the power to at the same time travel in infinite and develop a signifier of exemplifying vision. But the construct of ‘flanery ‘ & gt ; ‘flanerie ‘ is characterized by the dialectic of being anon. , inA­visible, while at the same clip being portion of and surrounded by the crowd. The flaneur strolls the streets without intent. He is lone, brooding, and hidden from the universe.[ 19 ]

To a certain extent, everyone is familiar with New York City, as this city has ever been represented as a metropolis of the humanistic disciplines, art history, archiA­tecture, and commodification. Mumbai ( Bombay ) , by contrast, has ever been depicted as a city characterized by an absence of planning, by rampant colony, and by turning societal jobs. It is India ‘s most intercrossed and complex metropolis and suffers from “ too-muchness. ”[ 20 ]Yet Mumbai is the Indian city of concern and Bollywood, both of which already embody the moral force of commodification. However, all this implies that certain images and peculiar discourses on the city prevail. Both Salman Rushdie and Suketu Mehta drama with these images and manners of discourse, and at the same time turn to their ain diasporic province of being mediate. AcA­cordingly, Kunow justly observes that “ metropoliss figure no longer simply as locations ( of production, power or control ) [ aˆ¦ ] but progressively besides as destiA­nations, as ends and stop points of migrations, disruptions and diasporic life signifiers. ”[ 21 ]Therefore, they can be linked to the impression of ‘metroglorification ‘ , the worship of the city, where everybody is in hunt of the ‘American Dream ‘ . And, as Homi Bhabha puts it,

It is the metropolis that the migrators, the minorities, the diasporic semen to [ aˆ¦ ] it is the metropolis which provides the infinite in which emergent designations and new societal motions of the people are played out.[ 22 ]

In the undermentioned treatment of Fury and Maximum City, I wish, on the one manus, to pull attending to the dialectic of First- and Third-World city and, on the other, to reflect on the thought of ‘metroglorification ‘ in a certain surreal sense, the postA­colonial flaneur, all in footings of facets of cityscape commodification.

Salman Rushdie ‘s Fury: Diasporic

Fictional characters and Ramble oning Topographies

In Rushdie ‘s Fury ( 2001 ) there is a overplus of marks, hints, and intertexts, which are rendered meaningless and empty by their very copiousness. The more marks and codifications there are, the more the city/metropolis becomes a mere surface and therefore a mark for commodification. This consciously created ‘un-readability ‘ and ‘poly-sitedness ‘ of the metropolis becomes even more enhanced through the extra unknown bed of a offense narrative which is interwoven into the novel: a consecutive slayer is slaying adult females with a ball of concrete, a metonym for the angered metropolis and its dwellers. Rushdie ‘s supporter Malik Solanka, a celebrated marionette builder, is characterized by a diasporic individuality, by degeneracy and desperation. In a province of rage, he lets himself travel, developing an fickle and utmost position of New York City.

Fury is a remorseless pitch-dark comedy and a upseting enquiry into the darkest side of human nature, which hints once more at the thought of the semantics of the eldritch. In add-on, it is a love narrative and a portrayal of New York, the commodified metropolis par excellence. The novel can be interpreted as Rushdie ‘s aesthetic apprehension and practical application of his sense of infinite, as reA­vealed in his multilayered manner and the countless aesthetic devices perA­meating the text. In Fury, Rushdie creates a compound of infinites: practical, existent, imagined, and urban infinites every bit good as fictionalized counter-worlds. His novel is, once more, characterized by narrative invention, by its embracing of both ficA­tionality and historiography – all adhering to the postcolonial political docket. In a heterodiegetic narrative state of affairs, Malik Solanka travels from Bombay to London to New York, and eventually to a fictional Third-World state.

New York is the metropolis of the immigrant, and Kunow justly asserts that Fury has two supporters: Malik Solanka and New York.[ 23 ]In picturing cases of cultural decay, Rushdie alludes to Eliot ‘s The Waste Land and Shelley ‘s “ Ozymandias. ” The “ Jekyll and Hide melodrama ”[ 24 ]is depicted in Solanka ‘s personal and cultural dislocation. The postcolonial facet of the metropolis is reA­vealed through the novel ‘s topography of panic, which can be perceived in its representational and symbolic significance. Although it was published before 9/11, when New Yorkers lived in a province of comparative artlessness and security, force is most explicitly expressed in lingual footings, as signified by the rubric itself. New York ‘s complex topography of panic is depicted through the noises and beat and some intolerable music in footings of the supporter ‘s auto-reflexive issues with urban representation, thereby showing besides the diasporic and postcolonial flaneur ‘s point of position:

Then a immature adult male ‘s voice started up behind his right ear, ingloriously loud, non caring who listened, stating its narrative to a comrade but besides to the whole line, to the metropolis ; as if the metropolis cared. To populate in Metropolis was to cognize that the exceptional was every bit platitude as diet sodium carbonate, that abnormalcy was the popcorn norm. ( 39 )

Solanka goes to New York and attempts to ‘erase ‘ his yesteryear. While at that place, he is filled with fury. Along with the usual Rushdian intertextualities, several genres are assorted at the same time, among them offense fiction and enigma, therefore rising the semantics of the eldritch. Rushdie besides presents us with an fanciful infinite, a household love affair, a satirical portrayal of millennian ManhatA­tan with all its media-generated, therefore frequently bogus, worlds, and a science-fiction phantasy of revolution. All this high spots multiplicity and apposition, therefore go oning the inventive poeticity of his earlier books. Subjects and sub-themes occur and recur, partaking in the superimposed secret plan and intertextual conA­fusion. These plot-fractions mingle and shuttle yesteryear, nowadays, and hereafter. The secret plan is fractured because excessively many things are go oning in the city at the same time.

Solanka is an inconceivably affluent adult male, transformed from a doctrine professor into a BBC Television star ( another case of commodification ) , so into the discoverer of a wildly popular doll called ‘Little Brain ‘ . He has abanA­doned his loving married woman and three-year-old boy in England, and becomes involved with two new adult females. Fury is non so much about a coherently plotA­ted life-line as about the mental contemplations of the supporter Malik Solanka and the three universes – but particularly New York City – that environment and form him and do him so ferocious, combined with a image of modern-day Western society and an intertextual mix of trade goods and cultural artifacts:

The metropolis boiled with money: Rents and belongings values had ne’er been higher, and in the garment industry it was widely held that manner had ne’er been so stylish. New eating houses opened every hr. Shops, franchises, galleries struggled to fulfill the skyrocketing demand for of all time more recherche green goods. ( 3 )

Like his Godhead, Solanka is Bombay-born, Cambridge-educated, and now Manhattan-resident. Most of the book depicts Solanka ‘s attempts to suit himself, ‘the adult male of the diaspora ‘ , of non-belonging, of supplanting, of homelessA­ness, into the mosaic of modern-day Eastern and Western society in which he is rooted. At the terminal of the novel he asks to be wholly absorbed by godlike America:

For a greater divinity was all around him: America, in the highest hr of its loanblend, omnivorous power. America, to which he had come to wipe out himself. To be free of fond regard and so besides of choler, fright and hurting. Eat me, Professor Solanka mutely prayed. Eat me, America, and give me peace. ( 44 )

Fury can be characterized as a surreal representation and comA­modification of New York, its characters and the metropolis ungraspable and repreA­sented by a deceptively postmodern consumer-based sign-system. Rushdie ‘s image of New York is like watercourse of consciousness, with all its associations. The construction of the novel can be described as an imitation of the city. The single disappears wholly and is merely viewed in studies of the topography of the metropolis. Therefore, the metropolis is seen as a representation of the sea – which can be linked up with Haroun and the Sea of Stories – in its interA­twining and numbering but besides in its transcendency of boundaries of the metropolis. Cataloguing is Rushdie ‘s chief technique, the mode in which he deA­picts the streets, the houses, the cityscape environment. What becomes clear in reading Fury is that storytelling, Rushdie ‘s strong suit, is connected with the cityA­scape and its capitalist, aggressive, consumerist inhabitants: “ For a individual adult male with a few vaulting horses in the bank and an disposition to party, this small piece of existent estate stolen from those Mannahattoes is the happy hunting evidences, no lupus erythematosus ” ( 59 ) .

The city – in the sense of a heterogenous, historically complex set of simultaneousness, apposition, and layering – is represented in Fury in the ways outlined above and depicted as follows:

Even the edifices began to talk to him in the heavy mode of the swayers of the universe. [ aˆ¦ ] Such pillage and jumbling of the depot of yesterday ‘s imperiums, this runing pot or metissage of past power, was the true index of present might. ( 43 )

New York City is a “ metropolis of half-truths and echoes that somehow dominates the Earth ” ( 44 ) . Solanka becomes cognizant of this disintegration of world in a crowded metropolis when walking the streets and seeing people with their cell-phone headsets, or what is ironically called the “ Telephone Continuum ” ( 89 ) , in which Solanka is no longer needed as a character. Rushdie uses disorderly metaphors and disparate numbering in order to picture the metropolis:

The inadequate summer closed overnight, like a Broadway floating-point operation. The temA­perature fell like a closure by compartment ; the dollar, nevertheless, soared. Everywhere you looked, in gyms, nines, galleries, offices, on the streets and on the floor of the NYSE, at the metropolis ‘s great athleticss bowl and amusement Centres, people were cooking themselves for the new season, limbering up for action, flexing their organic structures, heads and closets, puting themselves on their Markss, Showtime on Olympus! The metropolis was a race. ( 213 )

Malik Solanka sees “ America [ as a topographic point ] to which he had come to wipe out himself, to be free of fond regard, and besides of choler, fright and hurting ” ( 44 ) . Yet he does non experience American but a New Yorker. Thus, Solanka can besides be interA­preted as a postcolonial flaneur: he is a adult male of the crowd, who is, in BenA­jamin ‘s dialectical footings, at the same time a suspect yet nowhere to be seen or found, therefore unseeable, portion of the crowd and surrounded by people. However, Solanka comes with his whole bundle of postcolonialism, with a purging yesteryear from which he wants to conceal in order to happen himself. Solanka is non a tourer but often walks the streets without intent. He is a flaneur and non a Peeping Tom, walking through the metropolis, anon. and lonely, for all his womanizing. As reader, we are invariably confronted with Solanka ‘s contemA­plation of his life, his rage, and his environment by manner of a coexistence of different epochs, with the past being vital for the fundamental law of the present, yet the present going more and more fractured. There are many beds in the novel which intimation at the metropolis as a merger of horizontal, perpendicular, cultural, and historical beds. In its written representation, the metropolis therefore maps as a ficA­tionalized palimpsest of the existent metropolis.

Suketu Mehta ‘s Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found:

Travelogue, Autobiography, Reportage, Urban Portrait

“ The detonating metropoliss of the underdeveloped universe are besides weaving extraordinary new urban webs, corridors, and hierarchies. ”[ 25 ]These issues are besides adA­dressed in Maximum City:

If you look at Bombay from the air ; if you see its location – spread your pollex and your forefinger apart at a thirty-degree angle and you ‘ll see the form of Bombay – you will happen yourself admiting that it is a beautiful metropolis: the sea on all sides, the thenar trees along the shores, the visible radiation coming down from the sky and thrown back up by the sea. It has a seaport, several bays, brooks, rivers, hills. From the air, you get a sense of its possibilities. On the land it ‘s different. My small boy notices this. ‘Look, ‘ Gautama points out, as we are driving along the route from Bandra Reclamation. ‘On one side small towns, on the other side edifices. ‘ He has identified the slums for what they are: small towns in the metropolis. The ocular daze of Bombay is the daze of its apposition. And it is shortly followed by violent dazes to the other four senses: the uninterrupted blare of traffic coming in through unfastened Windowss in a hot state ; the malodor of bombil fish drying on piles in the unfastened air ; the ineluctable humid touch of many brown organic structures in the street ; the scorching heat of the garlic Indian relish on your vadapav sandwich early on your first jetlagged forenoon.[ 26 ]

This transition is a zooming-in on Bombay on reaching, both for Mehta and besides for the reader, for whom the facet of apposition is highlighted: “ Bombay is where universes clash ” ( 223 ) . In add-on, Mehta uses words such as “ bombil fish ” and “ vadapav sandwich, ” which he does non gloss in the text. He therefore creates both an ambiance of unfamiliarity and of acquaintance. In this transition he confirms and at the same time destroys stereotypes of Mumbai.

Investigating the metropolis ‘s bloody public violences of 1992-93, Suketu Mehta meets Hindus who have massacred Muslims, and their leader, Bal Thackeray, the ill-famed Godfather-like laminitis of the Hindu patriot Shiv Sena party. He besides dares to research the violent universe of warring Hindu and Muslim packs, going into the metropolis ‘s labyrinthine condemnable underworld with the tough top bull Ajay Lal, and he develops an uneasy acquaintance with remorseless hit work forces. Mehta besides deploys a documental manner when he investigates Bombay ‘s sex industry, with the word picture of a dance miss called Monalisa, with whom he about falls in love, and a cross-dressing male terpsichorean who leads a strange dual life. ‘Bollywood ‘ besides forms portion of Mehta ‘s history of Bombay ‘s subcultures. Both facets, the sex industry and Bollywood, are examples of commodification.

In another transition ( 25 ) , Mehta describes, as he does throughout the whole book, crowds and multitudes of people and, therefore, denseness and deficiency of purdah ; “ the conflict of Bombay is the conflict of the ego against the crowd ” ( 589 ) , and “ Bombay itself is making its ain appendage: 23 million people by 2015. A metropolis in which the population should halve, really doubles ” ( 588 ) . “ It is a crowded metropolis, used to populating with crowds ” ( 537 ) . All of these observaA­tions underline Mehta ‘s purpose of picturing Bombay as a surreal representation of cityscape, but besides as a metropolis “ of possibilities ” : “ Once you leave Bombay, the remainder of the universe is a small town ” ( 225 ) . “ How are you traveling to travel back to New York after this? ” actresses, comptrollers, prostitutes and murA­derers ask him, “ New York will be deadening ” ( 587 ) .

Bombay is so crowded that, even for the most everyday Acts of the Apostless, such as traveling to the lavatory, people have to line up. Mehta invariably plays with figures in order to underscore the issue of overcrowding. The thought of the postcolonial flaneur is stressed by first utilizing the first-person plural, and by later utilizing the word ‘people ‘ , which the writer apparently dives into. In another transition ( 541 ) , Mehta once more describes Bombay ‘s crowds by first turn toing the reader in the third-person singular, as if we were an objectified portion of this day-to-day trip to work, therefore underscoring Bombay ‘s “ internal diverseness. ”[ 27 ]Again, Mehta, with the reader ‘s complicity, dives into the multitudes like Benjamin ‘s flaneur, who neither has to travel to work nor resembles a tourer, but walks the streets apparently without intent. And Mehta asks why people still live in Bombay, as the life conditions – in footings of the crowds, work, pollution, diseases – are invariably declining ( 515 ) . Peoples move to Bombay, he sugA­gests, because of the ‘American Dream ‘ or ‘metroglorification ‘ – yet, at the same clip, following Indian ideals, for the interest of the integral household, in which it becomes a construct of integrity.

In his book, Mehta posits a dialectic of Bombay as a metropolis lost and found, swollen to eighteen million and choked by pollution. Mehta returns to his childhood metropolis from an uprooted diasporic state of affairs after 21 old ages of absence. He describes it as an extreme, patchwork-like configuration by besides utilizing the historical index of the city. He reinforces the good-bad diaA­lectic by presenting a spatial-semantic formation of oppositionality. The eldritch is evoked when he enters the metropolis ‘s belowground being: “ In BomA­bay, the underworld is an overworld ” ( 147 ) , “ the bosom of Bombay is the bosom of the gangwar ” ( 158 ) , or “ in Bombay, to be a capable man of affairs, you have to be in touch with the underworld ” ( 250 ) . In speaking of the demand to collaborate with the underworld, he therefore commodifies – for the reader – corruptness, gang war, and killing. With respect to Bollywood, the underworld is besides the overA­world: “ Underworld and dreamworld – in Bombay they are contemplations of each other ” ( 459 ) .

Mehta ‘s descriptive linguistic communication for life in Bombay expeditiously harnesses comA­parison and even personification: “ The fumes is so thick the air boils like a soup ” ; “ like insect settlements people here will give their single pleaA­sures for the greater advancement of the household ” ( 515 ) . The general thought evoked here what individuality is. Therefore, Mehta, in turn toing a job inherent in the city in general, uses surreal representations: viz. , the deficiency of individualism in the city and the overpowering crowds in a ‘new ‘ cities such as Bombay: “ In Bombay, Numberss of people are imA­portant ; the sense of being crowded by the Other in an already overcrowded metropolis is really strong ” ( 47 ) ; “ Bombay has multiple-personality upset ” ( 50 ) ; and “ the greatest luxury of all is solitude ” ( 137 ) .

To picture the historicity of the yesteryear, Mehta turns to the issue of the reA­naming of metropoliss, historical edifices etc. as introduced by the rightist patriot Hindu party. He points out an idealised Hindu yesteryear and underscores an archeological position of the dialectic between past and present. Yet the beds move. In this sense, Mehta can be interpreted as a diasporic flaneur, have oning a mask that allows him to reason his ain dialectic: he is a knowing and still seeking author, yet besides a diasporic dreamer. This dialectic can besides be observed in Rushdie ‘s sentiment of the book:

Suketu Mehta ‘s Maximum City is rather extraordinary – he writes about Bombay with an lavish fierceness Born of his love, which I portion, for the old pre-Mumbai metropolis which has now been about destroyed by corruptness, gangsterism and neo-fascist political relations, its spirit surviving in bantam minutes and images which he seizes upon as cogent evidence of the endurance of hope ; and the quality of his fact-finding coverage, the accomplishment with which he persuades goons and liquidators to open up to him, is rather astonishing. It ‘s the best book yet written about that great, ruined city, my metropolis every bit good as his, and it deserves to be really widely read.[ 28 ]

The enlargement of the metropolis ‘s shadowy, powerful, subterraneous society is presented in Maximum City metaphorically in the thought that the “ underworld is the overworld ” ( 147 ) – an urbanity of the maze. “ Bombay is the hereafter of urban civilization on the planet. God help us ” ( 15 ) , Mehta remarks ironiA­cally. Writing journalistic autobiography, as Mehta does, involves – as does any other historiographic act – formulating and therefore organizing one ‘s object, which is a topic in its ain right. As the ‘city-text ‘ needs a narrative, in Mehta ‘s book there is, foremost, the personal degree of the author with mention to his diasporic experience and, secondly, the author ‘s relationship to his metropolis. Bombay, in this instance, is both Centre and fringe, detonating and characA­terized by slum-cities within the metropolis.

In Maximum City Bombay is depicted by agencies of a apposition of different people and a sort of experimentation with signifier: there is, on the one manus, Mehta ‘s ain ( car ) biographical history in the signifier of hometown facets or the word picture of nutrient. There is besides, on the other, Mehta ‘s schizoA­phrenic position of Bombay, demoing the corruptness of establishments and organA­izations in which he is apparently complicit. In the chapter “ Pleasures, ” for case, Mehta becomes portion of the scriptwriting squad on Mission Kashmir, a Bollywood production, which is once more juxtaposed with existent life, therefore providA­ing evidentiary stuff for another constructed narrative ( 386 ) . The book is characterized by a whole web of narratives and the conflict between the ego and the crowd, the underworld V seemingly normal ( New York-based ) people, and contradictory positions of and attitudes towards Bombay.


In Fury and Maximum City, although their contours are dissimilar, the cityA­scape or word picture of the several cities of New York and Bombay is characterized by apposition, simultaneousness, and heterogeneousness, every bit good as by an ambiance of phantasmagoria and a subtext of commodifcation ; the reA­sulting feeling is that of a palimpsest. Malik Solanka and Suketu Mehta ( the latter as narrator-character ) , in a re-definition of the flaneur as postcoloA­nial actant, excavation into history and their ain individuality ; there is the thought of purdah and a self-doubt about coming into contact with people in the mass, which is, to a certain extent, subverted by both ; both are the adult male in the crowd, plunging into the crowd and being simultaneously portion of the urban underworld. Or, as Mehta articulately observes:

The modern city is a aggregation of transients, on their manner from someA­where to someplace else. New York is a aggregation of migrators from other metropoliss ; Bombay is a aggregation of people from small towns, who come to the metropolis and seek to re-create the small town. ( 557 )

The postcolonial city by manner of a surreal and commodified representation of its peculiar cityscape is shown as exhaustively fragmented, layered, and turned upside down.

As Davis rather justly suggests,

the metropoliss of the hereafter, instead than being made out of glass and steel as envisioned by earlier coevalss of urbanists, are alternatively mostly constructed out of petroleum brick, straw, recycled plastic, cement blocks, and scrap wood. Alternatively of metropoliss of light surging toward Eden, much of the 21st century urban universe knee bends in sordidness, surrounded by pollution, body waste, and decay.[ 29 ]

Therefore, it seems as if the surreal image of the ‘new ‘ metroA­polis in ‘Gro?stadttexte ‘ such as Rushdie ‘s Fury and Mehta ‘s Maximum City – despite facts and statistics that speak of a radically unequal and explosively unstable urban universe – is merely another signifier of commodification, repeating Rushdie ‘s ain famous person position. However, in malice of this commodifying facet, it is of import to indicate to the aesthetic of the “ topography of the planetary metropolis. ”[ 30 ]In both texts, the ambiguity in and of the city is reflected in the transportation into a different narrative texture of urban phantasmagoria. It is in this polymorphic and seemingly helter-skelter logic of the postcolonial metropolis that, as readers, we may happen the marks and codifications of look of new urban idenA­tities in formation. Rushdie writes and speaks “ from a figure of topographic points, scrambling geographical and personal placements. ”[ 31 ]He “ can non be said to be composing from one specific infinite of diction ”[ 32 ]but, instead, addresses a polymorphic cityscape in Fury by stand foring both London and New York every bit good as a fictional Third-World metropolis, therefore demoing a cross-over between national and cultural boundaries. In so making, Rushdie juxtaposes different cityscapes, making a multi-layered intertextual and multi-historical land, therefore overthrowing modern representations of the city and commodifying the postmodern cityscape. Both authors, Mehta with his journalistic history and Rushdie with his extremely intertextual novel, illustrate the city by agencies of a sense of poetic infinite: life is characterized by an encyclopedic civilization of name-dropping in which – peculiarly in Rushdie – eruptions of cultural cognition occur as a rage which finally serves to qualify the modern-day city itself. Rushdie performs a signifier of violent narraA­tive by fiercely blending cognition and linguistic communication and by therefore demoing its built-in simulacrum. The connexion to the city in Fury is instead evasive, with Rushdie showing a sort of mental re-invention, whereas in Mehta ‘s text the tenseness or dialectic between Third- and First-World metroA­polis is depicted frequently ironically by a surreal representation of the cityscape which ends up, at times, as yet another signifier of commodification. Both Mehta ‘s Bombay and Solanka ‘s New York City are characterized by a multilayered and multidimensional topography which, on the textual degree, has to be read consequently as a semantic re-inscription. In both books, the authors seek to research the importance of the transcultural city as a political, cultural, and societal microcosm reflecting its colonial yesteryear and postcolonial bequest.

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