Both of us Aainanagar editors are professional fault-finders, associated with research and education. And we both dwell in the realms of fiction, in different ways. There is a fashionable name for what we do: knowledge-production. Both of us are workers in the knowledge industry.
Consequently, when we invite our friends to write and draw for Aainanagar, when we read, comment, provide feedback on each others’ works, when we collate these writings to form into an issue, a knowledge ghost sits on our shoulders. We work hard to unzip ourselves from her, but rarely succeed. And since every failure brings with it loud proclamations, renunciations and self-eulogizations, we affirm ourselves by asking certain things. We try to be as loud as possible, as clear as possible. We ask, who gets to produce knowledge and how. Who funds what kind of knowledge and why. Where is knowledge produced. And last but not the least, what for fuck’s sake is knowledge.
So, what if we think of poems, stories, illustrations, memoirs and any other forms of genre-busting aesthetic work as knowledge? What if we think of a poem as congealed and concentrated theory on page? What if we think of a short story as doing a kind of diagnostic work that we have traditionally assigned to academic prose? What if we think of a memoir as a work of peeling apart what remains ordinarily invisible? What if we think of all the pieces in Aainanagar as little manifestoes?
Manifestoes claim and proclaim. Manifestoes are not afraid of anger. In fact, they celebrate anger. But, behind that anger, manifestoes also provide an analysis of what’s going on– in other words, the status quo. The social status quo, the familial status quo, the political status quo, the aesthetic status quo. And, then, the Status Quo that involves and implicates it all. And, in providing an analysis of that status quo, the manifestoes invite to break. To break is also to dream.
At Aainanagar, we are committed to this work of breaking. We encourage our friends to break as much as possible in whatever they do. Break whatever comes in the way– images, languages, memories, histories.
We admit, that’s our own way of showing our arrogant tongues to the knowledge ghost perched on our shoulders.
We are proud to be able to walk hand in hand with all our knowledge-miners of the July ’14 issue and the rest.
– Nandini, Madhushree