Smriti Srinivas, Neelima Jeychandran, Nidhi Mahajan, Ishani Saraf, Maya Costa-Pinto offer their perspectives. Moderated by Prateeti Punja-Ballal.
Indian maritime and land-based networks played a crucial role in connecting the region with the Indian Ocean world including the African continent, Southeast Asia, East Asia, and the Arab world over centuries.
Until recently, most of the discussions on the country’s Indian Ocean connections have largely been historical in nature and less focused on people and places. Where recent events are concerned, conversations are focused on trade (especially water-borne), regional and national security, competition between China and India in the ocean, or mobilities of migrants across Indian Ocean cities and sub-regions.
This novel roundtable brings together some of the editors and contributors of the recently published Reimagining Indian Ocean Worlds (Routledge 2020) to discuss the vitality of contemporary cultural and social lives of the Ocean from the vantage point of Indian cities and coasts. It covers diverse topics such as water-based casinos in Goa, urban plans and ecology, and Lusophone networks; “dry” ports in Delhi that mediate relations between the local and the trans-local, sea and land; the contemporary nature of monsoon temporality on India’s west coast linking dhows, families, festivals, and debt together; and memoryscapes in today’s Kerala of deceased Africans from forced migrations to South Asia.