Akshat Khare is an Indian novelist and poet whose experiments with writing are directed towards developing a post-postmodern poetics. He is the author of Delhi Blues and Other Poems (2020), The Book of Saudade (2022), From the Tongue of an Experienced Simpleton (2022), Truth be told, and Signifying Nothing.
Bhramrakshasanama: A work of theory-fiction that draws on and stylistically explores the idea of the ‘Bhramarakshasa’ first coined by Muktibodh in his poem ‘Bhramarakshasa.’ The Bhramarakshas is an extended metaphor for the stagnant academic who exists in a bubble of their own making. The work will explore the material conditions of the Indian unbonded labour, Traditional artisans, second-hand book sellers, etc. through the application of poetic-theory. The work seeks to lay bare the plight of the Indian tribal artists who are plucked out of their countries and then overworked by the artworld to the point of exhaustion and suicide, the revolutionary playwrights who are shot dead in the streets by the ‘liberal’ political party and so on. It will also expand upon the ideas of the ‘Abhuman’, ‘becoming-other-than’, ‘becoming-asura’ first enumerated in ‘The Abhumanist Stratagem’ to explore the caste, class and gender tensions that aren’t explored in mainstream threads of posthumanism. The work will also focus on postcolonial writers and academics who use the subaltern as a way to make a living in first-world universities but have no praxis or contribution that can make a material difference in the life of the people on whose back they earn their academic prestige.
This idea goes back again to the ‘Bhramarakshas’ and the capitalistically motivated academic first criticised by Muktibodh for their neoliberal pretence of ‘radical change’ within the system that only serves to create endless articles in journals that go unread. An attempt is made to carve back space from the postmodern encroachment on the domains of radical art and to house them in a post-postmodern domain. A Post-Postmodernism that is aware of the failings of the proposed post-postmodernisms before it in making meaningful strides in the inclusion of the global south in its ambit.
Bhramarakshasanama is the story of the abandonment and the catastrophe of the Bhramarakshasa set against the stark landscape of the Thar. It is a survey of the darkened corners of the Chand Bawadi that once held drinkable water – in the City of Lights that has forgotten its own name.
All words that could be spoken, were spoken or painted or carved into rock. What consolation can the large echoing halls of clean marble or bent metal offer to those who have already said everything they could ever say? An elegy for the endless death of meaning-making at the hands of the arbiters of nihil, Bhramarakshasanama is a mirror for those who run away from their own reflections.