Hardening Divides

In the last two decades, that is after the violence of 1992-93, Mumbai has not seen any instance of large scale sectarian violence. The city though has since been polarised along narrowly defined identity lines, a phenomenon that adequately reflects in the emergence of exclusive neighbourhoods and housing units. The aftershocks of the violence continue to reverberate behind the façade of an uncanny calm as visible and invisible borders restrict free movement and interaction. With the rapid informalisation of the work opportunities and almost half of the city’s population being reduced to live in slums, the city is also being reorganised along the class lines. The sight of improbably high steel and glass towers rising above the working class districts is a common sight in the city. This process also unfolds in necessarily violent ways. Illegal demolitions and evictions and appropriation of public land by force or deceit are some of the common strategies with which the poor of the city are being dispossessed of their basic rights and entitlements. Read more

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