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 5: Of Unruly Practices and Resistance
Of Unruly Practices and Resistance
Mohammad Pathan Aliyar Khan [MPK], leader of the Sabarmati Nagrik Adhikar Manch [SNAM], pretends to struggle on behalf of the poor who are to be displaced by the SRFD project, but in reality he is a thief who has been paid off by the nexus of corporate builders and SRFDCL officers. When we received the petition asking us to move, we realized that he has betrayed us! (Kurshidbhai, Khanpur)
Kurshidbhai paints a grim picture of people's resistance along the river Sabarmati. The fact that the original plan accommodated the poor in new dwellings within the development site, and the fact that this plan was discarded in favor of one which displaces the poor to sites and homes ...