The latest issue of Marg, the premier magazine of the arts published from Mumbai is on the history of the Indian littoral, Ports, Towns and Cities, edited by Lakshmi Subramaniam. "From the time of the Indus civilization to Mughal ports and the metropolitan cities of the British Raj, there is an underlying thread of continuity that is related to the functions and potential of urban formations. This survey of select port cities attempts to redress the land bias that has characterised the writing of India's history. This study charts maritime history from an altogether new vantage point, showing how crucial port cities were in India's social and cultural development."
The volume, like most issues of Marg, has an impressive set of contributions, from JNU historian Himanshu Prabha Ray, on Coastal Settlements and Communities: Defining the Maritime Landscape in Early South Asia, Farhat Hasan on The Mughal Port Cities of Surat and Hugli, S J Stephen on Mapping the Landscape of Pondicherry in the 17th Century, Jonathan Barlow on Calcutta, The English City on the Ganges: Temperament and Architecture in the 18th Century, Mariam Dossal on Maritime Mumbai, and Lakshmi Subramaniam on Madras: Queen of the Coromandel.
Marg started in 1946 with seven advertisements and two rooms provided by JRD Tata, the late chairman of the Tata Group, and has been in continuous publication since. The magazine's founder editor, the late Mulk Raj Anand, intended it to be a loose encyclopaedia of the arts of India and related civilisations... and to bring about an awareness of the arts that is relevant and applicable to India's future.
In the more than 60 years that it has been in operation, Marg has attempted to achieve a broad cultural and historical view of the arts through its magazines and books. Currently edited by art historian Pratapaditya Pal, the magazine has also been a forum for much pioneering research work.