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

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What Is India’s Urbanisation Riddle?

Looking at two articles published in the EPW that analyse census data to argue for different understandings of the trends of urbanisation in India, it is argued that both articles present only facets of urbanisation. To understand urbanisation in all its complexity, decadal census data will serve only a complementary role, while field studies that provide thick descriptions of new urban spaces are essential.

Recent trends and developments inurbanisation in India reveal somewhat of an urban enigma. Thus far, contributions to solving this riddle are arguably adding to the confusion. In the article “An Unequal Process of Urbanisation,” Judhajit Chakraborty (2017) clarifies once more that there are two broad views on urbanisation in the country: while some have claimed that its urban system is fundamentally “top heavy” with large-sized towns and cities driving urbanisation and little or no growth at the bottom of the urban hierarchy, others have argued the opposite, claiming a stagnating top with growth and dynamism at the bottom. Chakraborty’s (2017) contribution can be added to the literature supportive of the former thesis, while Kanhu Charan Pradhan’s (2013) earlier contribution to EPW, “Unacknowledged Urbanisation: New Census Towns of India,” speaks to the latter.

Same Data, Different Inferences

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Updated On : 13th Jul, 2017


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