Explain the setting in which In Custody takes place.

The setting of In Custody moves between the small rural town of Mirpore and the large city of Delhi in India. The settings, with their vast differences, allow Desai to explore the myriad dichotomies that lie at the heart of Indian life.

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The protagonist of the story, Deven Sharma, lives in a very small rural town in northern India called Mirpore. This is important as it establishes the way in which Deven and the Urdu language which he so deeply values and venerates has been marginalized in an India which, though nominally secular, is heavily biased toward Hindi.

The small town of Mirpore is near the large city of Delhi but at the same time far away in cultural terms. This remote rural area symbolizes a neglected cultural tradition to which the aging poet Nur has enriched through his poetry and to which Deven owes such allegiance. Though Nur lives in the big city, his dilapidated dwelling place indicates all too clearly the marginal position he occupies within post-partition India.

Like so many others of his cultural background, Nur is in India but not of it; he lives in the country, but neither he nor his culture is fully accepted by mainstream Indian society. It is perfectly obvious to him that he doesn't belong in this society. So he's destined to see out the rest of his days in a rundown hovel surrounded by mounds of rotting garbage, witnessing the cultural traditions he loves so much being allowed to fade into obscurity.

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