To be content with a hundred flowers in bloom, when a million mutinies are in the make, is like indulging in ‘sterile' cerebral acrobatics while the Bastille is stormed.
That, briefly, is the moral of the postcolonial script—we are both audience and dramatis personae. And if it's a million mutinies we have to talk about, no single voice can be certified as being the most competent to do so. This means that the atonal monologue—not only of authority but also of subversion—has to be dismantled. It is precisely this impulse that Amitava Kumar's Passport Photos attempts to uphold.
Like a passport, each chapter is a section—'Language', ‘Photograph', ‘Date of Birth', ‘Profession', ‘Nationality' and ‘Identifying Marks'—of the most vital ‘identikit' of our times. But it's a passport meant to "help you enter only the zones of a particular imagination". These "zones" are contrarian spaces that lie outside the elite political structure and often work in complete opposition to it. Their aim is to reconfigure the prevailing order of things.