Bombay Modern

Bombay Modern

Anjali Nerlekar




Paperback with flaps


$7.50 $6.74

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$7.50 $6.74

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(Paperback with flaps | ISBN 9789386338334 | 312 pages | March 2017)


Anjali Nerlekar’s Bombay Modern is a close reading of Arun Kolatkar’s canonical poetic works that relocates the genre of poetry to the center of both Indian literary modernist studies and postcolonial Indian studies. Nerlekar shows how a bilingual reading of Kolatkar’s texts uncovers a uniquely resistant sense of the ‘local’ that defies monolinguistic cultural pressures and straddles the boundaries of English and Marathi writing. And as she does this, she uncovers an alternative and provincial modernism through poetry.

Eschewing any attempt to define an overarching or universal modernism, Bombay Modern delimits its sphere of study to ‘Bombay’ and to the ‘post-1960’(the sathottari) period in an attempt to examine at close range how this poetry redeployed the regional, the national and the international to create a very tangible yet transient local.


‘Anjali Nerlekar’s book is the first to offer a reading of Arun Kolatkar’s work in the two languages he wrote in….
[S]he reads the work in the context of Bombay’s overlapping literary cultures between 1955 and 1980, as they came to be shaped by little magazines and small presses, typographies and layouts, literary friendships and collaborations. Nerlekar not only fills a gap in our history but marks it with a well-constructed lighthouse. It will for a long time to come be guiding boats to the harbor called Bombay Poets, that of late has begun to look quite busy.’
—Arvind Krishna Mehrotra

‘Like any of the “locals” in Mumbai, the teeming trains that barrel through the megapolis, Anjali Nerlekar’s Bombay Modern leads us into the heart of bilingual literary culture in the Maximum City through an underground world of poems, manifestos, little magazines, dreams, visions, modernisms and experiments inhabiting the interstices of both English and Marathi. [It] richly documents the lives, careers, ideas and works of writers as diverse as Arun Kolatkar, Adil Jussawalla, Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, Dilip Chitre, Bhalchandra Nemade, R.K. Joshi and Ashok Shahane, whose impact is far from local, and without whom the story of geomodernisms cannot now be conceived or told.’
—Vinay Dharwadker

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About the author

Anjali Nerlekar

Anjali Nerlekar is an assistant professor of South Asian literatures at Rutgers University. Her publications and research include work on multilingual Indian poetry, Indo-Caribbean and Postcolonial literature, and larger comparative Indian and postcolonial modernisms.

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