Globalisation has long historical roots in South Asia, but economic liberalisation has led to uniquely rapid urban growth in South Asia during the past decade. This book brings together a multidisciplinary collection of chapters on contemporary and historical themes explaining this recent explosive growth and transformations on-going in the cities of this region.

The essays in this volume attempt to shed light on the historical roots of these cities and the traditions that are increasingly placed under strain by modernity, as well as exploring the lived experience of a new generation of city dwellers and their indelible impact on those who live at the city’s margins. The book discusses that previously, cities such as Mumbai grew by accumulating a vast hinterland of slum-dwellers who depressed wages and supplied cheap labour to the city’s industrial economy. However, it goes on to show that the new growth of cities such as Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Madras in south India, or Delhi and Calcutta in the north of India, is more capital-intensive, export-driven, and oriented towards the information technology and service sectors. The book explains that these cities have attracted a new elite of young, educated workers, with money to spend and an outlook on life that is often a complex mix of modern ideas and conservative tradition. It goes on to cover topics such as the politics of town planning, consumer culture, and the struggles among multiple identities in the city. By tracing the genealogies of cities, it gives a useful insight into the historical conditioning that determines how cities negotiate new changes and influences.

There will soon be more mega cities in South Asia than anywhere else in the world, and this book provides an in-depth analysis of this growth. It will be of interest to students and scholars of South Asian History, Politics and Anthropology, as well as those working in the fields of urbanisation and globalisation.

1. Introduction: Cities in South Asia - interdisciplinary perspectives Part 1: Ideologies of City Making: the formation of the Indian city 2. Cities in India: an archaeological perspective 3. Who Built ‘the City of Victory’? Representation of a ‘Hindu’ capital in an ‘Islamicate’ world Part 2: Politics of Town Planning: colonial and post-colonial 4. Patrick Geddes and the Metropolis 5. Islam and Development in Urban Space: planning ‘official’ Karachi in the 1950s 6. Slums and the Global City: housing plans in Dharavi, Mumbai 7. Cities within and beyond the Plan Part 3: The City as an Arena for Struggles among Multiple Identities 8. The City as Nation: Delhi as the Indian nation in Bengali bhadralok travelogues 1866-1910 9. The Multilingual City of Bombay and the Formation of Linguistic States, 1947-1960 10. Neighbourhood and Urbanisation in Delhi: Durga puja in a Bengali Displaced Persons Colony 11. Urban Thresholds: Crevices, Crossroads, and Magic Remainders Part 4: Lived Cities: Views of Cities from the Ground 12. ‘Fight the Filth’: civic sense and middle-class activism in Mumbai 13. Community of Retrospect: spirit cults in an old city of Rajasthan and reconstruction of locality 14. Solving Family Problems: the role of religious practices for the Indian middle class Part 5: Subaltern Practices and Discourses in Urban Situations 15. News, Gossip and Humour: street perspectives from colonial Calcutta 16. The Postcolonial Street: Patterns, Modes and Forms 17. City and Life: from life stories told by people of the lower strata in Chittagong, Bangladesh Part 6: Consumer Culture in Contemporary South Asian Cities 18. Transformation of a Tourism Space in a City of Consumption: the case of Thamel, Kathmandu 19. ‘Time Gentlemen’: Bangalore and its drinking cultures