Overview for Theatre of Conflict, City of Hope: Mumbai, 1660 to Present Times
The story of the evolution of this city from seven 'islets' to a megalopolis, is both fascinating and wrought with the scars of human agency. This is a tale of land scarcity, of the opening up of new spaces to settle, and the creation of many opportunities of growth. Theatre of Conflict, City of Hope is one of the most comprehensive accounts of this transformation.
With contested space as its central concern, this encyclopaedic work maps Mumbai's changing patterns of land use and its transition from an agrarian settlement of little significance to a world city. It traces how coconut gardens, rice fields, and fishing villages yielded to cotton kills, docks and railways in the nineteenth century, and these more recently to shopping malls, skyscrapers and urban slums.
This volume brings to the fore the cosmopolitan character, diversity of cultures, and interests, and the confluence of ideas in a grand city. Mariam Dossal deftly uses primary sources and hitherto inaccessible records to investigate the politics of land use, as feudal lands were converted into private property and customary rights were refigured into a capitalist land market. Her inquiry extends over four centuries and uses rare visuals and maps to illuminate the argument.
Each chapter focuses on a specific period and emphasizes important changes which occurred in that phase of the city's history. Narratives of both conflict and negotiated settlements between Mumbai's inhabitants and the colonial and post-colonial state underline the discussions.
Written by an acknowledged expert, this volume will be invaluable for architects, urban planners, conservationists, environmentalists, historians, sociologists, economists and all those deeply concerned with the development of Mumbai and urban issues both in India and abroad.