The colonial city and the challenge of modernity: urban hegemonies and civic contestations in Bombay city (1900-1925).
This is an original story about the coming of ‘modernity’ in Bombay city in the early twentieth century.
In his account, Sandip Hazareesingh shows how this most global of forces had complex and contradictory meanings in the local urban setting of colonial Bombay. A colonial technological version helped consolidate British hegemony over this important Asian port city; in contrast, Gandhi’s rejection of the colonial urban helped define his search for a counter-modern, traditionalist basis for the emerging nationalist contestation of colonial rule. But Bombay also housed different, radical apprehensions of modernity, exemplified by the militant daily newspaper the Bombay Chronicle, which provided an alternative basis for the construction of a local civic nationalism.
In a era characterised by war and the curtailment of civil liberties, the eruption of some of the most significant forms of modernity into the everyday life of the city – newspapers, cinema, labour strikes, demands for civic equality – revealed the contradictions of colonial hegemony and underlined the class-bound nature of the urban social order. Grappling with these new forces were a rich cast of characters who are brought to life in these pages, including B.G. Horniman, Gandhi, Patrick Geddes, George Lloyd, and Jinnah.
Elegantly written, The Colonial City and the Challenge of Modernity offers fresh and stimulating insights into the multi-layered relationships between modernity, colonialism, and the production of urban space.
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