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date: 21 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article discusses key developments in the history of the city in modern South Asia from the mid-nineteenth century, when India passed under the direct rule of the British Crown, to the early twenty-first century, when it began to emerge as a significant player within the global economy. The article is organized as follows. The first part examines the ways in which British colonial rule transformed urban India and addresses three themes. First, it charts the trends in urbanization as well as its changing pattern over time. Second, it considers the nature of urban governance under the Raj. Third, it shows how cities also became the principal site for the creation of a new intermediary domain between state and society — the public sphere — which became critical to the rise of new forms of collective imaginings among Indians of diverse strata. The second part shifts the focus to the post-colonial period and identifies continuities and shifts in the patterns of urban development. It highlights key trends in the patterns and structure of urbanization, assesses urban governance, and reflects on the changing public culture of South Asian cities.

Keywords: modern cities, India, British colonial rule, urbanization, urban governance, public sphere, urban development

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