The Micropolitics and Metaphysics of Mobility and Nomadism: A Comparative Study of Rahul Sankrityayan’s Ghumakkaṛ Śāstra and Gilles Deleuze / Félix Guattari’s “Nomadology”

  • Subir Rana


Mobility is understood as displacement or the act of moving between locations and is a primeval spatial practice and a ubiquitous phenomenon. It signifies high modernity and connotes power, exclusion, resistance as well as criminality and gives rise to new hybrid cultures and contemporary cosmopolitanism. While mobility or ambulation was represented by the image of the flâneur in the western literary tradition, the east had its ghumakkaṛ or yayavar, where both were mimesis of nomads par excellence. This essay tries to grapple with the worlds of fluidity, flux and flow as pitted against sedentarism, fixity and stasis. It engages with the varied conceptions, complexities and contradictions as well as the “webs of signification” of mobility and nomadism in the eastern and western context. Further, the essay explores the “gendered” and emancipatory nature of mobility as well as its future and threat along with its micropolitics and metaphysics and nomadism in the intellectual traditions of the east and the west. While doing so, the author critically examines two seminal texts on nomadism represented by Ghumakkaṛ Śāstra by Rahul Sankrityayan from the east and Nomadology as conceived by Gilles Deleuze/Félix Guattari as illustrative of the west.



I should like to thank Ms. Anne Ostby, who has enriched this chapter with her suggestions and editorial help.


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Subir Rana
    • 1
  1. 1.Independent ResearcherBangaloreIndia

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