History of urbanisation in India under British Rule..

Nice paper by Prof. Howard Spodek of Temple Univ. Apparently IGNOU is designing a course on  history of urbanisation in India. He has prepared a draft for the course.

Prof. Spodek has done some remarkable work on history of Indian cities. In this paper he  covers the urban development in major cities of Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai (all new names) during Brit times:

At the heart of each of the fi rst British cities in India – Madras (1644), Bombay (1661) and Calcutta (1690), cities which the British largely created themselves from the ground up – was a fort area dominated, designed, and occupied by the British. They lived mostly inside the fort area, and in the strongly fortifi ed and controlled area around it, sometimes called the “civil lines”. Here they built their homes, shops, and churches as well as their commercial and administrative headquarters. Their armed forces were accommodated nearby in an area called the “cantonment” or “camp”. The much larger Indian area that sprang up around the British core was usually referred to as the “native” or “black town”.

As British control extended across India in the 18th and 19th centuries, and encompassed many already existing cities, these patterns of spatial separation by nationality and race were repeated. In some cities, where British presence was extensive, very large areas of cantonment and civil lines were established alongside pre-existing Indian cities. New Delhi, Bangalore, and Secunderabad (adjoining Hyderabad) are examples. In the capitals of India’s large princely states, regions that the British left for local rulers to administer, and in the centre of regions with numerous smaller princely states, the British built “residency” areas to headquarter their local administration and to garrison their troops adjacent to the existing native cities.

Great read. It seems city development and planning during Brit times was not as great as it is made out to be. Only the areas the lived in (fort area) was reasonable and livable.

Anyways a nice read. Do save it as EPW makes it paid after four weeks….

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One Response to “History of urbanisation in India under British Rule..”

  1. cellogirl2012 Says:

    That is very very interesting and I can use this in my Masters in Economics Thesis.

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