Delta Arts in Delhi: Aane walon ka swagat / A welcome to those who come

Rural Transport Vehicle: CyberMohalla mobile studio, Delhi, October 2010

Delta Arts visited Delhi in October on a British Council-funded exchange as part of our project, Aane walon ka swagat / A welcome to those who come, thinking about urban regeneration and asking: how can people change perceptions of where they live?

Our partner in Delhi was Sarai, a coalition of practitioners and researchers, where we worked with their CyberMohalla project.

Emma Smith and Oliver Sumner joined CyberMohalla on an eight-day mobile workshop (by many forms of transport) to outer parts of Delhi, including resettlement colonies and neighbourhoods affected by displacement and other consequences of urban planning and rapid growth.

The workshop, in Hindi and English, included CyberMohalla collaborator and translator Shveta Sarda, and CM members Azra Tabassum, Jaanu Nagar, Lakhmi Chand Kohli, Rakesh Khairalia, Neelofar, Shamsher Ali, Babli Rai, Love Anand, Nasreen, and Rabiya Quraishy, all practitioners in their twenties living in neighbourhoods across the city, such as LNJP colony in Central Delhi, Dakshinpuri in South Delhi and Sawda-Ghevra, a new resettlement colony at the northern frontier of the city.

Trickster City, an excellent collection of writings by the group was recently published by Penguin. ‘This book chronicles the difficult period of loss of home and livelihood in the city through urban eviction, encounters with the agencies of the state, love stories gone awry, the fragility of relationships, and the sustained effort to build life in anticipation of beauty and pleasure’.

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