ArtBook: Zameendari Zimedari – Land Ownership to Responsibility

The first edition was launched July 15, 2015 @ Khoj International Artists Association in part to celebrate 5 years of the Negotiating Routes program under which this work was created. VISIT THE KHOJ EVENT SITE HERE

Cover designed by Iandry Randriamondroso, hand printed by Namrata Mehta & Soiab Grewal

Semi-gloss colored printing, 79 pages  

Rich in storytelling, artwork, photography & dialogue, Zameendari Zimedari (Hindi for Land Ownership to Responsibility) is a poignant reflection and documentation of the deep human and ecological implications of today’s Millennium City. 

Direct International price 20 USD$           For International orders click here —> Buy Now Button

Direct Domestic price 350 INR₹                   For India orders click here

Available at retail outlets:

Art & Design Bookstore, Colaba Mumbai

CMYK Bookstore, Delhi

Akershus Kunstsenter, Lillestrom, Norway

MIT Press Bookstore, Cambridge MA USA


Shriya Malhotra, Partizaning – Participatory Urban Replanning:
“I think this is a very valuable work for social practice and DIY urbanism in India! From Landownership to Responsibility : Zamindari to Zimmidari is a thought-provoking ethnography which documents community art interventions in the urban village of Tigra. It is useful to a cross-section of audiences, primarily for highlighting urban india’s often unique and rapidly transforming ecosystems. It makes a very useful contribution to the emerging discourse of DIY urbanism, civic arts and of socially engaged arts—and the value and limitations of creating ‘change’. The story of Tigra, tucked away amidst the malls and highways of Gurgaon, encourages us to rethink the relationships of art and the public, and of urban interventions in different contexts. Finally, the project is a reminder to practitioners of the possibilities and limitations of cross disciplinary, cross-cultural collaboration.”



  1. ANAAMIKA · · Reply

    Firstly, It’s a sweet lil book. If at all it’s anything, it’s sweet, and real. About the looks, I loved the cover and the font used for the Hindi lettering.

    Inside, while I was reading the akhaada part, I recalled watching the Pro-Wrestling League’s glamourized kushti/kusti matches on a TV channel here (SET max) where some of the team owners are big Bollywood names and some of the players are seen in sassy, sleek advertising campaigns that pay them in crores. Like Geeta Phogat for JSW steel for example. It’s a good thing that it brings people of all castes together on one ground and cultivates some deep values in them. But the recent commercialisation and glamourization of lesser known sports of India like Kushti/ Kabaddi leaves the young players who practice it, with a not-so-good-to-have aim of getting into it, for the fame, money and endorsement deals. India seriously needs to de-glamourize its sportsmen. One might think what’s wrong with glamourizing. But we have Cricketers here who take part in, and judge, Dance reality shows on tv!! It’s mad!! I don’t know what goes into the minds of the Gurgaon boys when they are in the Akhaada. But THAT needs to be tapped. If it’s real, pure and selfless, then OMG, what a great story.

    Also I reaaaalllly loved Namrata’s piece on the Lake. Here in Mumbai, any lake is a romantic place more than anything else, because, hey, everyone knows there’s very little place for romance in Mumbai! So whatever good lakes we have, for example, Upvan Lake in Thane and Powai Lake in Powai. You’ll see them lined with lovestruck couples on any evening. So being a Mumbaikar I never viewed lakes as something in connection with water harvesting. But it was so nice to read up on a lake in connection with environment and water planning. Her idea of the buildings and the lake feeding off of one another is just superb! Here, in Mumbai though we would just plain want some more lakes! lol! And as it is later discussed in the book, re-imagining open spaces as something else that caters to your recreational, social or sport needs, I wonder if in Mumbai we could have places that are quiet, green, relaxed and free from judgements, traffic, noise and pollution! I remember…in my college …Sir JJ institute of apllied art, fort, we had a female professor who was so cool, she revolutionalised the way the art-theory lectures happened. she took the class…out of class….in the campus…under a tree!! i still remember how her simple act of taking the class out of the classroom in the huge sprawling campus under a tree …where we sat on the ground whichever way we liked and she talked to us ….that felt soooo libearting! just the absence of four walls made so much difference to how we felt while learning….so it’s just a matter of re-imagining, more importantly un-learning things right….

    in the biodiversity section…in the part where the horticulturist talks about the plantation program with the corporates, i laughed out so loud!! i thought ” man has made such a fool of himself that all suited-booted, ties and all …and he needs to be taught to plant trees!! he needs to go back to planting more trees!! lol …so how has he really progressed?!! i visualised some corporate men in their corporate attire, planting trees and i laughed soo hard!! hahahahaha lol… but on a serious note…you know if you want man to care about environment and biodiversity you need to do what advertising does. just like how advertising uses people’s inferiority complexes and insecurities to sell products, you need to sell man, environment and biodiversity, by constantly reminding him what will happen if he DID NOT have biodiversity or environment. That is the only way now, trust me.

    Urbanization is not good always… true. But you know there are lot of farmer sucides happening here in maharashtra…and sometimes the farmer is unable to pay his debts or unable to provide for his family, resorts to suicides sometimes for a debt that is as little as Rs. 10000 which in your currecy is 150 dollars! they do not have skill sets apart from farming or do not have great education…so theres no other way to sustain….nobody knows how to solve this problem…..not even the maharashtra government….it is not doing much about it….so in this case how can direct action help them? what can they do? an actor named Nana Patekar recently donated money to some farmers….i loved what he said in one of the interviews….he said ” if you are an affluent man eating a lavish lunch…and some poor man across the street comes and steals something from it….is it stealth? is it theft? when you have more than needed on your plate….he is just picking it off it because he desires it and have no means to get it by himself….so go out and reach out to people who have less without labelling them with any kind of names ” sooo beautiful! he is an x- jjite too.. i could share the video of what he said in that interview because he explains the need to reach out to the people so beautifully and almost on a spiritual level but that video is in a language you do not speak so…..

    Also it’s so true that with globalisation theres so much dirty sameness! even all the girls look the same. they all have same hair, same eye makeup same lips and same body goals. so people are starting to look like one another…slowly slowly…we all will look like one race, after some years….but the reason is too much exposure….through media.. through technology…through smartphones….girls here do not really know…or have met…or understand the life of american women….but they have extra access to how american women look….and talk…maybe through tv…internet …so they ape them….and then start looking like them….if they never had that exposure would they not retain their individuality? so it’s also about that…

    The millenium city part reminded of me of a similar situation here in mumbai…The High Street Phoenix Mall here in Mumbai in Lower Parel has been built where once there was a mill !! phoenix mill !! You can still see one mill chimney inside it!! The stories of the lives of mill workers that lost their jobs are just heartbreaking….there were so many movies and plays made on this saga….

    on the face of it, this book to me, looked like a book that maybe is about something i have had nothing to do with in my life or something i have not heard of or am not aware of ….but it’s so relevant even to me! and i don’t even live in gurgaon!! that’s the coolest thing about the book. and it’s really great of you to be coming from a land of ” changalvaad ” which is marathi for “consumerism” and be passionate and involved about these projects…so like i said it really is a sweet book…and i totally agree with you on the part that artistes are not just facilitators but social animators. so true.

    All in all the book gave me an impression of being a serious book that was probably about something that was of no relevance to me. but as i read on, i found out that it’s really a book about re-imagining things. and re-imagining things almost always leads to a happy freedom. so yay! cheers!

    Your book also got me thinking on the philosophical teachings of Adi Shankara and his opponent Charvaka or Carvaka. Charvaka was a promoter of ” changalvaad ” or materialism/ consumerism. He did not believe in Atma-Paramatma. He believed that this life that we have is the ultimate truth. And we should enjoy it to the fullest. Even if that lands us in debt, no worries. But we have one life and we should spend it having good times. Adi Shankara’s teachings were the exact opposite. He believed in Moksha. Reading your book i thought, it’s the age where people are following Charvaka’s teachings….so yaa….

  2. Oscar Ulloa Calzada · · Reply

    Éste trabajo de investigación activa trae a colación temas apremiantes a toda sociedad humana. En el decurso de la lectura, es palpable la perentoria necesidad de reconstruir en conjunto a los actores locales, una narrativa comunitaria que enriquezca la gobernanza a través del entendimiento de: 1) Un sistema económico que difumina las fronteras de nuestra condición humanística; 2) La esencial comprensión de una nueva óptica en la relación sociedad-naturaleza.

    Así, desde el planteamiento de la democracia directa, el texto arguye las nuevas maneras en que de modo comunitario, las sociedades son capaces de reformular en ligue a las tradiciones que han estado presentes y que son eje fundamental de la identidad colectiva en Tigra, una distinta representación discursiva hacia el camino de entender el territorio para hacerlo tema de acción política. Allí, la lectura parte del cariz democrático desde el interior del grupo, tiene un ligue a las ideas de biodiversidad, las cuales son el acicate para una postura que permita la toma de decisiones en defensa plural del medio ambiente para el bien común.

    Formular las ideas anteriores, no escapan de que, como se menciona, existan personas/grupos que imposibiliten la insurgencia de tales procesos colectivos de gobernanza, eso es lo valioso del texto. Una mira etnográfica supone precisamente observar, analizar e intuir la diversidad de actores sociales que entran en pugna por la toma de decisiones en un territorio. Identificando todas las variables sociales, es preciso dentro de la investigación activa, PROPONER. Y eso es justamente lo que menciona Alex White por la égida de una construcción narrativa y de acción de un sentimiento colectivo; se pone en la palestra una propuesta de animador social, el cual a través de una impronta de ánimo, puede conducir a una colectividad hacia una ruta que abone a un buen vivir con la exhilarante idea de esperanza y creencia en los valores humanos como fundamento de cambio. A mi punto de vista, la interacción de individuos externos con las colectividades, son un paso importante para la creación de un auténtico diálogo de saberes, el cual es una vía dual para el intercambio de conocimientos, experiencias, propuestas e innovación.

    ¿Qué me permite entender éste texto a pesar de la distancia geográfica entre México e India? Supone que ante el riesgo, la exclusión o bien, la desterritorialización, todas las sociedades humanas buscan incorporar sus identidades como valladar a la hidra neoliberal, la akhada es el punto central de tal idea en el libro (y como se menciona, todo barrio, pueblo, ciudad, requiere sus akhadas como punto de conocimiento y praxis). La reflexión que propone ésta lectura, me ha llevado a pensar en temas de colectivización del conocimiento para su inclusión en prácticas constantes, no sólo puestas en marcha en la acción directa sobre el territorio, sino con un trasfondo de politización de los saberes y las creencias, o sea, la constante búsqueda de: Autonomía, autonoconocimiento, autocuidado, autoreflexión, autocrítica, autoproducción, autodeterminación. La pregunta final que me trae éste libro es, ¿a dónde queremos ir? La respuesta quizá, está en la ACCIÓN colectiva, la puesta en marcha de nuestras determinaciones e impulsos, del mundo nuevo que queremos. Hay que socializar(nos). Esta obra me parece inmarcesible como semilla de nuevas ideas, así sea.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s