Anandita Bajpai: Cordial Cold War: Cultural Actors in India and the German Democratic Republic (2021)

About the book 

Cordial Cold War examines cultural entanglements, in various forms, between two distant yet interconnected sites of the Cold War –India and the German Democratic Republic (GDR). Focusing on theatre performances, film festivals, newsreels, travel literature, radio broadcasting, cartography and art as sites of engagement, the chapters spotlight spaces of interaction that emerged in spite of, and within, the ambits of Cold War constraints. The inter-disciplinary collection sheds light on the variegated nature of translocal cultural entanglements, at work even before the GDR was officially recognized as a sovereign state by India in 1972. By foregrounding the role of actors, their practices and the sites of their entanglement, the contributions show how creative energies were mobilized to forge zones of friendship, mutual interest and envisioned solidarities.

This volume situates actors from the Global South as mutual co-shapers of the cultural Cold War, therein shifting its Euro-American and Soviet epicenters to Non-Aligned India. Going beyond official state channels of international political dialogue, it locates cordiality in the micro-histories and everyday experiences of interpersonal engagements, bringing to focus a hitherto underexplored chapter of India-Germany entanglements.

Table of contents 

List of Figures

List of Abbreviations

Series Note



Cordial Cold War: Actors, Sites and Practices of Cultural Entanglement

Anandita Bajpai

  1. Collaborative Dialogues Across Theatrical Public Spheres: Invincible Vietnam in Calcutta and Rostock, 1966-67
    Bishnupriya Dutt
  2. Warm Wavelengths: Radio Berlin International during the Cold War in India (Figures)
    Anandita Bajpai
  3. GDR Travel Writing on India
    Anushka Gokhale
  4. Socialist Germany and India: Entanglements in Cartography and Architecture 1949-1989 (Figures)
    Christoph Bernhardt
  5. A Witness to History: Production of Images of India in GDR Newsreels
    Reyazul Haque
  6. Brecht between the GDR and Marathi Stage: A Conjunctural Reading of Bennewitz-Mehta Collaboration
    Vaibhav Abnave
  7. Cold War Entanglements: India at the Leipzig Documentary Film Festival
    Veena Hariharan
  8. ‘Expressivity’ in the Art Collectives of India: The Realists and The Radical Painters and Sculptors (Figures)
    Rahul Dev
  9. GDR- India Encounters before Diplomatic Recognition: A Chronological Overview
    Joachim Oesterheld

About the Editor and Contributors


About the editor

Anandita Bajpai is currently a Research Fellow at Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin. From 2017-2020 she was a Lecturer at the Institute for Asian and African Studies, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany. She is the author of Speaking the nation: The oratorical making of secular, neo-liberal India (Oxford University Press, 2018). She is the editor (with Heike Liebau) of the Archival Reflexicon, an open-access online Archival Guide, which is a platform for theoretical and conceptual reflections on archival architectures/organizing logics as well as thematic contributions on India-related holdings of specific German archives.

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