Where is Indian travel writing going after the pandemic (and where is it coming from)? - ALL Jobs News

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Thursday, 3 September 2020

Where is Indian travel writing going after the pandemic (and where is it coming from)?

Travel writing in India has a surprisingly brief history. It’s astounding when you consider that the entire corpus of Indian literature before the 18th century, so rich and varied otherwise, failed to produce a single travelogue. Thousands of merchants, monks and mercenaries from the Indian subcontinent routinely voyaged to far flung lands. But not a single one managed to leave behind an account of the strange things they saw or the sense of cultural dislocation they felt in these foreign environs.

Travel writing, it would seem, was alien to the Indian literary tradition. As a result, a distinctively Indian view of the pre-modern world, so richly inferred from the sub-text of travel accounts, never really emerges. Contrast this with European, Chinese and Arab travellers like Jean Baptiste Tavernier, Ibn-e-Battuta, and Hiuen Tsang who with various motivations wrote at length about their impressions of India, an important source for the reconstruction of Indian history today.

In these accounts, as Amitav Ghosh observes, “There is a recognition that what is common sense for him [the traveller] need not be so for the rest of the world. For this recognition to exist there has to be a certain openness to surprise, an acknowledgement of the limits of...

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from Scroll.in https://scroll.in/article/972052/where-is-indian-travel-writing-going-after-the-pandemic-and-where-is-it-coming-from?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=public
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