The Indian Quarterly
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This issue of The Indian Quarterly is about Going Away, two words that encompass so many things, from middle-class fantasy to the great leave-taking that is death. Escape, whether from pollution, boredom, decrepit public utilities; freedom, from our past lives or the daily drudgery of our current ones; the shuffling off of our mortal coils—our contributors deal with all these questions. Sudhir Kakar looks at the way different civilisations have approached death and immortality, while Arshia Sattar examines the different ways in which mortality is dealt with in our epics. Nityan Unnikrishnan draws out the urban-dweller’s hankering for a distant, quieter, greener place, while Rimli Sengupta looks at what escaping from the drudgery of routine entails for her maid. Stephen Alter muses over the transformative experience of his first long journey, when he left his home in the hills in India to study overseas, while Omair Ahmad writes about a secret which compelled a family to migrate to another country. Finally, Vivek Singh captures the complexities of loyalties and identities that make the Northeast one of India’s most fraught, fractured regions. Elsewhere, restorer and author Rupika Chawla uncovers what lies beneath several paintings. Siddharth Sivakumar analyses the influence of the landscape of Santiniketan on the paintings and sculptures of its stalwarts. Amit Mehra’s photo essay is an eloquent and very personal diary. Theatre artist Neelam Man Singh Chowdry remembers the impact Ebrahim Alkazi had on her formative years in theatre. Our particularly rich fiction and poetry section includes short stories by Alha Arikha, Manohar Shetty, Sheela Jaywant and Barad Rangan, and poetry by CY Gopinath, Manash Firaq Bhattacharjee, Salil Chaturvedi, Aditi Rao and Sumana Roy. We also have a few very special treats: an extract from Satyajit Ray’s own storyboard for Pather Panchali, and a graphic narrative of the early years of Begum Akhtar.
The Indian Quarterly (IQ) is a national and international magazine. We hope that just as The New Yorker exhibits a distinctly Manhattan sensibility and always contains articles about New York City, IQ will manifest the fact that it is edited and published in Mumbai through its cosmopolitan and open-minded perspective on the world and on India. In fact, we hope to provide a unique way of interpreting our ever changing culture, and to define our own experiences through the strength of thought, ideas and imagery, be it in the form of fact, fiction, poetry, illustration or photography. IQ is therefore a paean to the polyphonic nature of reflection and the creativity that is its outcome.