Analysing Sights of Contestations
Sumedha Dutta
NEIGHBOURHOODS IN URBAN INDIA: IN BETWEEN HOME AND THE CITY by Sadan Jha, Dev Nath Pathak and Amiya Kumar Das Bloomsbury, New Delhi, 2021, 336 pp., 1293.00
July 2021, volume 45, No 7

In the existing scenario whereby the literature on urban life in India has almost reduced urban neighbourhoods to abstract monolithic entities embodying human settlements, and the ecology thereof, to the utter neglect of the embeddedness of these settlements in different communitarian identities and categorical values, this book is a refreshing disjuncture from such dominant discursive trajectories, which seem to have emanated from post-industrial town-planning. It seeks to lay bare the ambiguities and paradoxes, the consonances and dissonances of urban lived experiences, which lend their influence upon creation and recreation of the urban neighbourhood over time.

It highlights the liminal character of the Indian neighbourhood, which provides access to both the home as well as the city at the same time, while expounding as to how the very concept of home is being negotiated and renegotiated in the neighbourhood in so many terms. It emphasizes on the unique subjectivity and agency that each neighbourhood possesses, while problematizing every attempt to homogenize the idea of a pan-Indian urban neighbour-hood.

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