A City for All: Perspectives from Colonial Calcutta

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The three volume Asian Cities series explores urban cultures, societies and developments from ancient to modern times in Asia, with Volume One focusing on ideas of the City. My chapter in Volume One focuses on the differential experiences of its residents of the urbanisation process in colonial Calcutta. As the city grew unevenly with differential distribution of amenities and infrastructure across the White and Black Towns, I question how this divided city was represented in contemporary writings. Gleaning material from hitherto untapped contemporary Bengali memoirs, songs, dramas and street literature, I show how Calcutta was represented very differently by each social constituency that I examine—British and European, middle class bhadralok, women and workers in the city. In this the chapter underlines how the diverse groups also claimed the city for themselves, setting up unique discourses about access, resources, and habitat.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIdeas of the City in Asian Settings
EditorsHenco Bekkering, Adel Esposito, Charles Goldblum
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherAmsterdam University Press
Number of pages207
ISBN (Print)ISBN-10: 9462985618 , ISBN-13: 978-9462985612
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2019

Publication series

NameAsian Cities
PublisherAmsterdam University Press

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global inequalities


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