A Sarai is an enclosed space in a city, or, beside a highway, where travellers and caravans can find shelter, sustenance and companionship; a tavern, a public house, a meeting place; a destination and a point of departure; a place to rest in the middle of a journey…

The Sarai Reader (which is the first of what we hope will be more such collections) can be seen both as a navigation log of actual voyages and a map for possible journeys into a real and imagined territory that we have provisionally called the “Public Domain”. This republic without territory is a sovereign entity that comes into being whenever people gather and begin to communicate, using whatever means that they have at hand, beyond the range of the telescope of the merchant, and outside the viewing platform of the microscope of the censor…

The patchwork that this collection represents is the result of an e-mail correspondence that has sometimes been more sporadic than it should have been. But both of us (Shuddha@Sarai, CSDS, Delhi and Geert@DeWaag – Society for Old and New Media, Amsterdam) believe that it heralds a sound foundation for the collaborations that SONM and Sarai have entered into and which mark the very inception of Sarai. Now we are an open space, eager for travellers. Welcome.

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