Displacement, Revolution, and the New Urban Condition provides a window into the global urban contradiction through the lens of a Third World city. It is not a book on urban India, or a book on Ahmedabad city, or even a book on the Sabarmati River Front Development (SRFD) project, but it is a book that uses all these lenses to conceptualize urban exploitation.
The author develops a dialectical praxis of theory transfer that takes us from the First World to the Third World and back again. In the process, the arrow of theory transfer is not reversed, because theory cannot be transferred by simply changing the direction of the arrow; instead, an attempt is made to (re)produce and (re)inform different conceptual worlds by juxtaposing it with the SRFD project in Ahmedabad city.
This book is, therefore, as much about the poor people of Ahmedabad as it is about global urban displacement and the politics of resettlement and resistance—theory and practice are always inflected, and the chapters demonstrate this inflection deeply and clearly. The point is to change the world, and to do so we must relentlessly struggle to better the concepts that we use to understand it with. This book is such a struggle.
Chapter 4: Resettlement and the Territorialization of Exploitation
Resettlement and the Territorialization of Exploitation
Of course they don't want Muslims to move in here because this is a majority Hindu locality, if the Muslims are resettled here, there will be riots. Ratha Yatra [Chariot procession, a Hindu celebration] is in July; if mixed neighborhoods are created, the procession will break into pandemonium. (The superintendent of Vivekananda Mill resettlement complex in Rakhyal)
I am a social scientist; I do not like the idea that we have to intentionally create ethnically homogeneous resettlement complexes, Hindus and Muslims should coexist. Initially, while allotting resettlement homes, we did not pay any attention to the ethnic component: as a result, some Muslims were allotted homes in Hindu-majority complexes and vice versa, but soon people ...