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“A vast sea of slums”: From chawls and “insanitary villages” to zopadpattis in 20th century Bombay

Thursday, April 4, 2019 - 5:00pm

Foster 103

South Asia Seminar: Nikhil Rao, Department of History, Wellesley College

Over the course of the middle decades of the 20th century, the category “slum” underwent important changes in large, fast-growing cities like Bombay. From a descriptive term used to characterize dwellings such as chawls (tenements) or villages on the urban fringe that did not measure up to sanitary standards, “slum” in post-Independence India became a bureaucratic category that invoked the uncertain tenurial status of more makeshift forms such as the zopadpattis of Bombay. This paper traces aspects of this change in meaning, before moving to consider the implications of this change for the pattern of urban expansion in Indian cities.

Thursday, April 4, 2019 – 5:00pm
Foster 103