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The Museum of Broken Tea Cups

The Museum of Broken Tea Cups
Postcards from India’s Margins

  • Gunjan Veda - Senior Advisor, Global Collaborative Research

May 2020 | 288 pages | YODA Press SAGE Select
The performing arts in India have traditionally been the domain of Dalit communities. To this day, these men and women continue to nurture and foster their chosen art forms in the face of discrimination and prejudice. We consider ourselves to be connoisseurs of art and culture. Yet, we fail to recognize the very communities who have shaped this culture.

The Museum of Broken Tea Cups, using the symbology of the used, broken tea cup that upper caste households leave outside their doors for the use of Dalit workers, is an effort to recognize the immense cultural contribution made by Dalit communities through the stories of individual artists who languish in the forgotten gallis and mohallas of our villages and towns. At the same time, the book seeks to celebrate the everyday heroes, who have, despite all odds, managed to change not just their own lives, but the lives of those around them. These are students and teachers, artists and activists, storytellers and devadasis, daughters and mothers, sons and brothers—seemingly ordinary people—whose faces get lost in everyday life, but whose stories have the potential to inspire admiration, action and change.

The Gallery of Portraits
Theatre of the Invisible
Budding Artists
The Unbroken
A Place to Remember
The Sacred Feminine
Epilogue: Confessions
Further Readings

“The postcards read like intimate travelogues peopled with exotic tribes, saturated with local colours and flavours. But an unmistakeable whiff of history…pervades Veda’s dispatches …. The book, then, is a celebration of defiance.”

Business Standard, 30 May 2020

“The book unhurriedly sets loose exegesis on caste discrimination… This book in no way proposes to place quick fixes and band aids, but it carries forth the modest peek into the lives of hundreds and thousands of oppressed communities… emerging inspirational.” 

Muse India, September 2020

“In about three hundred pages, the postcards read like earnest travelogues filled with tales of exotic tribes. There is warmth and responsiveness in each of the stories.” 

CounterCurrents, 24 August 2020

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ISBN: 9789353883386