Image source: Sahitya Akademi, Delhi
Home has held many forms and meanings in the long history of urbanity in South Asia. In recent times, the evolving materiality of domestic life has consistently restructured housing typologies in this region. From the havelis and extensive bungalows of the late colonial period to the stand-alone kothis of the post-Partition epoch to the multi-storeyed apartments of the post-liberalisation period, engagement with what is variously identified as the modern and the modernist have had an important role in this ongoing transition. This course will chart the contours of this transformation as articulated in urban writing from South Asian cities. It will examine notions and experiences of home as reflected in select literary texts with close reference to the evolution of housing typology in modern South Asia. It will comment on the conditionalities which link self and society through the prism of home, focussing in some detail upon the foundational yet often unacknowledged role of caste and gender in framing these intimately experienced spaces. Questions of nation and tradition will also be discussed as inextricably tied to the discursive forging of home and housing in this period.