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Across the Hindu Kush East _Nihalani Meenakshi 2023.jpg

Which Sky do the Birds Fly in?

Latitude 28 , New Delhi

Co-Curated by: Saloni Jaiwal and Manan Shah

“If home is found on both sides of the globe,home is of course here—and always a missed land.”Excerpted from Agha Shahid Ali, “Land”, 2001


“What would it be like if I had something to defend - a home, a country, a family - and I found myself attacked by these ghostly men, these trusting boys? How do you fight an enemy who fights with neither enmity nor anger but in submission to orders from superiors, without protest and without conscience?” *
― Amitav Ghosh, The Glass Palace
From time immemorial, place-making has been acted out as an evolutionary practice especially by us in our ecosystem through a feeling of affinity or attachment to a place which leads to building of communities, as we start finding points of connection. The psychological drive to feel this subjective experience/ entity has been coined over the centuries as Belonging or Belongingness. Within this urge to belong there develops the ‘right to feel at home’ at a specific location, which gives birth to the politics of space and access to it and question, ‘who belongs more?’ as the historical past is filled with narratives of colonisation and contestation over lands and space whether territorial, ecological or of natural resources.
In our post-truth society, it’s a known fact that humans as well as the ‘more than human’ world which is biodiversity is marked by mobility, flow and interconnectedness. Sense of belonging is carried out or performed as a relational field where multiple entities are involved. Since, the civilisational process is founded on contrasting drives which are dynamics of power on one side and on the other empathy, belongingness is employed by hegemonic cultures or structures to produce the politics of inclusion/ exclusion. This is also a result of how history is manufactured to the present generation at different points of time sometimes as by far accepted ‘Scientific truths’, ‘historical facts’ as well as ‘nomenclature and vocabulary’. Because, for every other individual, that knowledge of ‘sense of belonging’ is passed down as a generational education.
This sense of belonging to a space - geographical, ecological, psychological or intimate determines the ordering and bordering of the world. Within this narrative, we have witnessed a rise in territorial conflicts which are motivated by geo-politics based on a psychological and imaginative idea of belonging and citizenship. These contestations and exertion of the Anthropocene beginning especially from colonial history, have resulted in the eradication of natural habitats where ‘grand narrative’ of urbanisation takes precedence

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