Conflicting Material Imaginaries

e-flux article by Nishat Awan & Zahra Hussain

February 5th at 4:57pm

"There is a mud volcano on the periphery of Gwadar, a coastal town in Pakistan’s Balochistan province, locally known as “sumunder ki naaf,” or the belly button (umbilical cord) of the sea. For a long time, local people believed this was where the sea received its nourishment, just as they received theirs from the sea through fishing and trade. There was an intimate and reciprocal relationship between the sea and Gwadar, with sumunder ki naaf at its center. However, with the cartographic mapping conducted by colonialists and others, people came to realize that this was just one of a string of mud volcanoes dotted along the Mekran coast. It may no longer be the center of their world, but the volcanoes connect a region and a people together. Gwadar has long been an important free port in the Arabian Sea, strategically located for the shipping routes across the Indian Ocean connecting South Asia, the Gulf and Northern Africa."

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