This is an article that I have written for e-flux which speaks to some of the debates that have taken place in Kafila on the photocopying case at DU. Most of the debates have been framed thus far by legal questions and questions of cost and access. While ideas of cost and access are useful for pragmatic arguments they fail to capture the delirious thrill which marks most of our encounters with books (whether purchased, photocopied or downloaded). In one of the comments to my earlier post Jeebesh Bagchi suggested that we should invoke the idea of shadow libraries and also the fact that our arguments should not be scared of dancing so here goes.
The original article can be found here
Over the last few monsoons I lived with the dread that the rain would eventually find its ways through my leaky terrace roof and destroy my books. Last August my fears came true when I woke up in the middle of the night to see my room flooded and water leaking from the roof and through the walls. Much of the night was spent rescuing the books and shifting them to a dry room. While timing and speed were essential to the task at hand they were also the key hazards navigating a slippery floor with books perched till one’s neck. At the end of the rescue mission, I sat alone, exhausted amongst a mountain of books assessing the damage that had been done, but also having found books I had forgotten or had not seen in years; books which I had thought had been permanently borrowed by others or misplaced found their way back as I set many aside in a kind of ritual of renewed commitment. Continue reading Shadow Libraries