Reimagining City Space from the Margins: Ambition, Exclusion, and Psychogeography in Kunal Basu's <i>Kalkatta</i>
This article discusses contemporary Indian novelist Kunal Basuâ€™s novel Kalkatta (2015), and seeks to understand the dynamic interrelation between city space and human beings in Calcutta in particular and in India in general. It explores the marginalisation and concomitant exclusion of non-Bengali people in the city under the ethnic domination of Bengali people and culture. A psychogeographical reading of the text suggests that the non-Bengali as well as the have-nots or urban poor in Calcutta suffer from discrimination due to an unequal distribution of resources. The setting of Basuâ€™s novel is Calcuttaâ€™sZakaria Street where cars fail to enter, young boys are trapped into gangs, girls fear slipping into prostitution, and mothersâ€™ dreams fade into harsh reality. Through investigating the lives of the marginalised in Zakaria Street as depicted in Kalkatta, this article critiques the corollary adverse impacts of unbridled urbanisation, whimsical capitalism, and the hierarchical power structure on the cityâ€™s non-Bengali community.
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