By Ashis Nandy
Divided into 4 sections, this booklet tells the tale of India's ambivalent affair with the trendy urban during the fable of the adventure among the village and the town, and the alterations that fable has gone through. It loks on the vicissitudes of the metaphor of trip; profiles a number of heroes as they negotiate the transitions from the village to the town and again to the village; and specializes in the psychopathological trip from a poisoned village right into a self-annihilating urban.
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Extra info for An Ambiguous Journey to the City: The Village and Other Odd Ruins of the Self in the Indian Imagination
14 Between them, Deudas and Mukti sum up the legend that Barua was, on screen and in life. Both Baruas epitomize paradigmatic journeys, from the village to the city and from the city to l4 Chidananda Dasgupta, quoted in Barua, 'Prarnathesh Barua', pp. 24, 40. 56 An Ambiguous journey to the City the village. But the psychological geography of these journeys also includes less territorial voyages-from maternity to conjugality to maternity, and from the past to the present to the past. All heroes are defined by their voyages, and Barua too is etched forever in public memory as the first one in Indian cinema who could never return home, who in the final moments of his journey, when he seemed to have made it, was tragically felled by his own character flaws and fate.
He didgive the impression of being a vulnerable, over-protected mother's boy who never grew out of what sometimes goes in India with such vulnerability and protectiona certain non-calculative, self-pitying, adolescent romanticism and self-subversion. Few public figures epitomized so neatly in their personalities the transition from the relatively self-contained world of the traditional landed gentry to the world of modern, monetized, mass entertainment and the demands of urban, impersonal, cosmopolitan living.
After bagging a large number of heads, in later life he gave up hunting. When young, Pramathesh wanted to be a doctor-because he wanted to serve the people of his state, he later claimed. His father even modernized the local hospital at his behest. Later, he went to Calcutta's well-known Hare School and, for a while, to Shantiniketan, when Rabindranath Tagore was still very active at the school. At the end of his schooling, at the age of fourteen, he was married to Madhurilata, the eleven-year-old daughter of one Birendranath Ganguly of Calcutta.
An Ambiguous Journey to the City: The Village and Other Odd Ruins of the Self in the Indian Imagination by Ashis Nandy