ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Recent Perspectives on Urbanisation

Since the early 19th century, Ahmedabad has been at the forefront of urban development and redevelopment. The 11 books reviewed in this paper, explain and argue, often passionately, the significance of the city’s transformations. Six books are academically focused; three are journalistic, anecdotal, personal, and discursive; three deal with histories ranging from 50 to 200 years; four cover more recent events, of which two discuss urban renewal through riverfront restoration; and two cover the communal violence of 2002 and its aftermath. Ahmedabad remains a world city, a world heritage city, and a “shock city” of constant change in response to evolving challenges. Collectively, these works explore issues of urban transformation that are of relevance throughout India.

Dwijendra Tripathi (1930–2018)

It was Dwijendra Tripathi’s pioneering contributions that demarcated the fledgling field of business history in India. His lifetime of scholarship distinguished him as an academic entrepreneur, and set the pace for future engagement in the discipline.

City Planning in India under British Rule

British planning for Indian cities laboured under serious internal contradictions. As a colonial power, Britain ruled India primarily for its own benefit; at the same time, it had to address all the usual issues of urban governance, such as control of space, provision of water, sewerage, roads, street lighting and police. Naturally enough, the British often viewed Indian problems through the lens of Britain's experience in its own first era of rapid industrialisation, urbanisation, and popular democracy. India's conditions were, however, quite dissimilar and the immense size and diversity of India produced divergent policies in different regions and at various times. Even where policies may have been similar, their implementation and reception frequently varied. In England, efforts to plan towns effectively lacked sufficient funding and personnel; in India, these shortcomings were far more severe. Nevertheless, British planning bequeathed to India enduring legacies - positive and negative - in urban architecture, physical planning, and the administrative mechanisms of governance.

Crises and Response

The recent earthquake-related deaths and property damage in Ahmedabad have evoked anger and revulsion at the shoddy practices of several builders and the complicity of government officials and institutions. Many lawsuits, both criminal and civil, have been filed against them. A similar, although far less extensive, natural catastrophe occurred during the monsoon season, 2000, when the worst floods in 60 years ravaged Ahmedabad. This paper is an analysis of the responses to the floods, of the recent history of Ahmedabad that helps to put these responses into context, and of the attempts to move public institutions in the direction of professionalism, efficiency, accountability, and transparency.

Squatter Settlements in Urban India-Self-Help and Government Policies

Self-Help and Government Policies Howard Spodek The colossal pressures on housing in the rapidly expanding cities prompt three questions: (1) How do slum-dwellers ad squatters assess their own condition?

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel at 100

Howard Spodek This evaluation of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel emphasises the earlier years in which Vallabhbhai be- came the Municipal Councillor, 1917-22, and subsequently the President of the Ahmedabad Municipality, 1924-26; the "suba of Borsad", 1924; and after the Bardoli satyagrafia of 1928, "the Sardar". It is based primarily on his activities in Gujarat.
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