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In the Public's Interest: Evictions, Citizenship and Inequality in Contemporary Delhi

Gautam Bhan (Author)

Like many cities in the global South, New Delhi has not been built by architects, engineers or planners, but by residents themselves. One form of such auto-construction is the basti-an urban settlement that houses income-poor residents. A basti marks years of an urban life, built slowly and incrementally. It is more than a ‘slum’- it is a claim to development and citizenship. In the moment of the basti’s eviction, this claim is erased, signifying a closure for the political, legal, social and economic negotiations that allowed a vulnerable citizenry to settle and survive for decades.

Contemporary Delhi is a city scarred by the evictions of bastis. Ironically, many of these evictions were ordered in Public Interest Litigations by the Indian Judiciary. How did a judicial innovation introduced precisely to enable the marginalised to seek justice become an instrument of their exclusion? Drawing on an archive of court cases that resulted in evictions in Delhi from 1990 to 2007 as well as ethnographic research with basti residents and social movements resisting eviction, In the Public’s Interest shows how evictions have been fundamental to how urban space is been structured and produced, and asks what they tell us about the contemporary Indian city.

Contents: Introduction: ‘How did we get here?’ 1. Planned Illegalities: the production of housing in Delhi, 1947-2010. 2. Planned development and/as crisis: evictions and the politics of governance in contemporary Delhi. 3. Unmaking citizens: spatial illegality, urban citizenship and the challenges for inclusive politics. 4. ‘You can’t just walk into a Court’: notes on the judicialisation of resistance. Concluding Provocations: Inquiries from the South. References. Index.

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Bibliographic information

Title In the Public's Interest: Evictions, Citizenship and Inequality in Contemporary Delhi
Author Gautam Bhan
Format Hardcover
Date published: 18.07.2016
Edition 1st. ed.
Language: English
isbn 9788125062325
length 304p.,