Delirious City: Polity and Vanity in Urban India


  • By Gautam Bhatia (Author)
  • Flexibound: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Niyogi Books Pvt. Ltd.; First edition (25 July 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9389136105
  • ISBN-13: 9789389136104
  • Package Dimensions: 23.3 x 17.4 x 2 cm

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This book grew out of a grainy combination of despair and delight that afflicts the residents of every Indian city. Delirious City is as much a collision of various mediums as it is of mixed messages, concocted out of a desperate urge to make sense of the City, its residents, their aspirations, and their perennial expectations. Its aim is to rile and provoke the reader with a disparate arc of writing, drawing, painting, sculpture, and architecture, and relieve the mood in satire.

Daily life, events, places, and personalities—houses, builders, parks, malls, bureaucrats, politicians, the rich, the poor, the labourer and the liquor baron—all are condensed as a virulent strain of muddled voices that describe our civic reality. Bitter tragedy, urban despair, and personal desire emerge in daily urban encounters and manifest a euphoric edge, often yielding to subversive comedy.

The discourse begins then by describing urban life as it exists, proceeds down the path of memory to state something of how it used to be, and finally addresses the hope of a different future—of how we may begin to view the places we make with optimism and hope.

Sometimes architectural, sometimes cultural—but frequently facetious and farcical—Delirious City imitates life in the Indian city

About the Author

Gautam Bhatia graduated in Fine Arts and went on to get a Master’s degree in Architecture. A Delhi-based architect and artist, he has written extensively on architecture, and has received several awards for his artwork and buildings. Apart from the biography Laurie Baker: Life, Work, and Writings and various other publications, he is the author of Punjabi Baroque, Silent Spaces, and Malaria Dreams—a trilogy that focuses on the cultural and social aspects of architecture. Bhatia has participated in a number of one-man and group shows and exhibitions in India and abroad, and his columns have appeared in Outlook magazine, Indian Express, and the New York Times. He is currently working on ‘Future Building: An Exhibition of Ideas for the Future City’.