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tram-overheard tram-otherwise tram-overboard  


ASHIS NANDY is a political psychologist and social theorist, based at the Center for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi.
DON MILLER, formerly of the Politics Department at University of Melbourne, is the Director of Melbourne Centre for Ideas whose interdisciplinary scholarship has explored metaphor, thought, time & art.


15 Dec 2006

Mechanical failure causing a stationary tram gives the context for a reflective conversation weaving through the role of chance, uncertainty and the human scale of the everyday. If cricket, as described by Ashis, is an Indian games accidental invented by the British, then it seems trams might be post-colonial vehicles accidentally established throughout the world by British colonisation. Ashis and Don question the violence and destructions that have accompanied the pursuit of 'progress'. For Ashis, the arrogance of certainty is a counter-phobia that attempts to deal with the anxiety of uncertainty. Whilst the space rocket might prevail as a vehicle symbolic of modern life, the tram might teach us more about contemporary life, movement and time. As a mode of transport that invokes something of the pre-industrial world, tramways are potentially more relevant to the post-industrial world.

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