ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Recent Perspectives on Urbanisation

Ahmedabad Stories

Since the early 19th century, Ahmedabad has been at the forefront of urban development and redevelopment. The 11 books reviewed in this paper, explain and argue, often passionately, the significance of the city’s transformations. Six books are academically focused; three are journalistic, anecdotal, personal, and discursive; three deal with histories ranging from 50 to 200 years; four cover more recent events, of which two discuss urban renewal through riverfront restoration; and two cover the communal violence of 2002 and its aftermath. Ahmedabad remains a world city, a world heritage city, and a “shock city” of constant change in response to evolving challenges. Collectively, these works explore issues of urban transformation that are of relevance throughout India.

With 11 books on the city published in just the past four years, Ahmedabad, India’s seventh largest city, can further assert its rightful place among the world’s most dynamic megacities. Collectively, the books provide a kaleidoscope of urban developments and interpretations. Once the home of Mahatma Gandhi, 1915–30, and the headquarters of the non-violent struggles he inspired, Ahmedabad has experienced, more recently, some of the most murderous of pogroms since independence. In 2002, about 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were murdered in the city. On the other hand, Ahmedabad has been one of India’s leading industrial cities, just now pivoting from textile manufacture to pharmaceuticals, chemicals, diamond polishing, financial, educational, and medical services, and, in new industrial suburbs, automobile manufacture. It has served as a regional flagship city for India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has hosted here President of China Xi Jinping in 2014, Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe in 2017, Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Nethanyahu in 2018. In July 2017, in recognition of its illustrious 606-year past, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) proclaimed Ahmedabad “a World Heritage City,” the first and only city in India to win this designation.

Nineteenth- and Twentieth-century Histories

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Updated On : 19th Dec, 2018
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