City Making and the Politics of the Poor
- PUBLISHED: April 2021
- SUBJECT LISTING: Asian Studies / South Asia, History
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 242 Pages, 6 x 9 in, 0 illustrations
- SERIES: Global South Asia
- ISBN: 9780295748504
- Publisher: University of Washington Press
Over the course of the twentieth century, Bombay’s population grew twentyfold as the city became increasingly industrialized and cosmopolitan. Yet beneath a veneer of modernity, old prejudices endured, including the treatment of the Dalits. Even as Indians engaged with aspects of modern life, including the Marxist discourse of class, caste distinctions played a pivotal role in determining who was excluded from the city’s economic transformations. Labor historian Juned Shaikh documents the symbiosis between industrial capitalism and the caste system, mapping the transformation of the city as urban planners marked Dalit neighborhoods as slums that needed to be demolished in order to build a modern Bombay.
Drawing from rare sources written by the urban poor and Dalits in the Marathi language—including novels, poems, and manifestos—Outcaste Bombay examines how language and literature became a battleground for cultural politics. Through careful scrutiny of one city’s complex social fabric, this study illuminates issues that remain vital for labor activists and urban planners around the world.
Authors & Contributors
Juned Shaikh is associate professor of history at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
This inter-disciplinary book draws on rare English and Marathi language sources — including novels, poems, and manifestoes — and contributes to debates in the fields of South Asian history, global Marxism, social anthropology, urban studies, labor studies, Dalit studies, and literature.- New Books in South Asia (NBN)
Highlighting the nexus among caste, class, language, urban space, and the tensions within these categories, as well as how caste and class shaped the urban environment, this remarkable book contributes significantly to social/labor history and urban studies.- Choice
[A] fascinating study of the politics of urban poor in the rapidly shifting landscape of twentieth-century Bombay city...it offers a glimpse of [the city] as it is lived, reshaped, and appropriated by its Dalit inhabitants, and makes a great contribution to the bourgeoning scholarship on Dalit labor and Bombay city.- The Middle Ground Journal
Offers valuable lessons in how the particularities of prejudice are reproduced in the universalizing language not only of planning but also, perversely, of class consciousness and revolution.- Nikhil Rao, author of House, but No Garden: Apartment Living in Bombay’s Suburbs, 1898–1964
Opens up remarkable new archives, astutely analyzing the political imagination of Bombay’s Dalits confronting colonialism and capitalism.- Sheetal Chhabria, author of Making the Modern Slum: The Power of Capital in Colonial Bombay