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

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On the Desecration of Nehru's 'Temples': Bhilai and Rourkela Compared

The major steel towns built in the wake of the Second Five-Year Plan were to be "temples" to India's industrial future and secular "modernity"; but soon they were desecrated by ethnic and communal violence. Focusing on two of them, this article shows that the extent of the violence was markedly different, and asks "why?". Attention is drawn to the kind of ethnic mix in their workforces, to their different experiences of "modernity", shop floor cultures and histories of displacement, and to the different agendas of state governments and the way they shaped civil society institutions.
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