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Provincializing the Global City: FROM BOMBAY TO MUMBAI

Provincializing the Global City: FROM BOMBAY TO MUMBAI O my shoes are Japanese my trousers English, if you please on my head, red Russian hat my heart’s Indian for all that . . . Rashmi Varma This song runs through Salman Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses as the theme song of migrants who cross oceans only to discover that their hearts remain inviolably Indian.1 Gibreel Farishta, the Bombay fi lm star in Rushdie’s novel, sings this tune from his favorite fi lm as he and the novel’s other hero, Saladin Chamcha, land in England. The song recalls what the unemployed graduate who is the protagonist of the 1955 hit Hindi fi lm Shri 420 (Mr. 420) dreamed of when he fi rst sang this song in the fi lm’s opening shots. Raju was on his journey from the north Indian town of Allahabad, once an important cultural nerve center of India’s national modernity (the home of India’s “fi rst family,” the Nehrus), into Bombay, the city of dreams and possibilities in the aftermath of independence. In both instances the song announces an arrival into cosmopolitanism and attendant anxieties about national identity and belonging. 2 Gibreel’s humming of the song (in the 1980s “present” of the novel) http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Social Text Duke University Press

Provincializing the Global City: FROM BOMBAY TO MUMBAI

Social Text , Volume 22 (4 81) – Dec 1, 2004

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2004 by Duke University Press
ISSN
0164-2472
eISSN
1527-1951
DOI
10.1215/01642472-22-4_81-65
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

O my shoes are Japanese my trousers English, if you please on my head, red Russian hat my heart’s Indian for all that . . . Rashmi Varma This song runs through Salman Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses as the theme song of migrants who cross oceans only to discover that their hearts remain inviolably Indian.1 Gibreel Farishta, the Bombay fi lm star in Rushdie’s novel, sings this tune from his favorite fi lm as he and the novel’s other hero, Saladin Chamcha, land in England. The song recalls what the unemployed graduate who is the protagonist of the 1955 hit Hindi fi lm Shri 420 (Mr. 420) dreamed of when he fi rst sang this song in the fi lm’s opening shots. Raju was on his journey from the north Indian town of Allahabad, once an important cultural nerve center of India’s national modernity (the home of India’s “fi rst family,” the Nehrus), into Bombay, the city of dreams and possibilities in the aftermath of independence. In both instances the song announces an arrival into cosmopolitanism and attendant anxieties about national identity and belonging. 2 Gibreel’s humming of the song (in the 1980s “present” of the novel)

Journal

Social TextDuke University Press

Published: Dec 1, 2004

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