Making the Modern Slum: The Power of Capital in Colonial Bombay 0295746270, 9780295746272

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Bombay was beset by crises such as famine and plague. Yet, rather

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Making the Modern Slum: The Power of Capital in Colonial Bombay
 0295746270, 9780295746272

Table of contents :
Contents
Preface
Maps of Bombay and Environs
Introduction: Genealogies of the Urban Modern
1 Land: Calculative Rationales
2 Famine: Localizing Agrarian Crises
3 Shelter: Rendering Housing Technical
4 Disease: From Body to Milieu
5 Capital: A Self-Governing City
Conclusion: Afterlives of City Making
Epilogue: Movements and Countermovements
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Citation preview

Padma Kaimal K. Sivaramakrishnan Anand A. Yang Series Editors

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Making the Modern SluM The Power of Capital in Colonial Bombay sheetaL ChhaBrIa

University of Washington Press Seattle

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M a k i ng the Moder n Slum was m a de possible i n pa rt by a gr a n t from the Associ ation for Asi a n Stu dies First Book Su bv en tion Progr a m. © 2019 by the University of Washington Press Composed in Minion Pro typeface designed by Robert Slimbach 23 22 21 20 19  5 4 3 2 1 Printed and bound in the United States of America All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. U n i v ersit y of Washington Pr ess uwapress.uw.edu Libr a ry of Congr ess Cata loging-in-Pu blication Data on file LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2019014763 LC ebook record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2019981424 cov er design: Katrina Noble cov er photogr a ph: Mumbai slum, 1979. Photograph by Pál Baross (altered to remove rooster). Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies, Rotterdam. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. The paper used in this publication is acid free and meets the minimum requirements of American National Standard for Information Sciences—Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, a nsi z39.48–1984.∞

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Contents Preface vii Maps of Bombay and Environs  xii

Introduction: Genealogies of the Urban Modern. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

1

Land: Calculative Rationales. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27

2

Famine: Localizing Agrarian Crises . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56

3

Shelter: Rendering Housing Technical. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84

4 Disease: From Body to Milieu. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113 5

Capital: A Self-Governing City. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141



Conclusion: Afterlives of City Making . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 179



Epilogue: Movements and Countermovements. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185 Notes 197 Bibliography 213 Index 229

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Preface

Beginnings are points not just of departure but also of return. Looking back, this project probably first began when I was a passive recipient to the struggles of my parents, who moved repeatedly between Bombay, Dubai, and Chicago throughout my youth. Their (and our) constant mobility led to an instinctive comparative reflex in us all. We moved between places and lived through at least two scales of disparity that seemed only to widen in the decades since the 1980s. The first was that of growing inequality within Bombay, where an eager transnational elite distinguished itself from Bombay’s deindustrializing laboring poor through gated communities and high-rises forcibly wedged between laborers’ settlements. The second was the difference of an ostensibly formal economy as opposed to India’s largely informal economy, a difference that foreclosed the possibility of my family “returning home” as the years went on. The insufficient explanations offered for both of these problems, of rising inequality and institutional divergence, formed the bases for the questions I have pursued ever since. Bombay (I still refuse to call it Mumbai) always had notoriety as a place of intense inequity, but my lived experience of the city made it difficult for me to accept most of the circulating narratives that fit standard scripts. In 2003, the United Nations published its infamous report The Challenge of Slums, finding that even after decades of development and modernization, half of the world’s urban population resided in slums.1 If the numbers were to be believed, 60 percent of these were in Asian cities, with Bombay and Karachi leading the way. Even as it showed the shortcoming of development efforts, the report confirmed a long-held story that cities of the once colonial world and now of the Global South were categorically distinct from cities of the North Atlantic. A temporal “lag” in the South meant that residents of urban slums were newcomers to scripts of urbanization that had been written a century earlier and elsewhere. In fact, ever since the beginnings of decolonization in the 1940s, the urban poor had been routinely cast as out of place and out of time, either as displaced villagers in the city or as vii

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traditional persons from a prior era finding themselves amid rapid change. In other words, the UN report portrayed the majority of the world’s urban residents as transitory figures between tradition and modernity, agriculture and industry, or the past and the future. A few years after this report came out, I was a graduate student in search of a project when I had the good fortune of being introduced to architect, historian, planner, and activist Arif Hasan by anthropologist Kamran Ali. Arif Hasan both confirmed and denied the story the UN report told. He described to me the numerous ways the residents of Karachi attempted to obstruct and redirect the renewal projects that were threatening to displace and dispossess the city’s poorest residents by replacing slums with highways and high-rises. But his stories were not of the kind told by labor historians of generations past. To my dismay, his were often tragic tales of collective organizing that met with failure. It seemed as if projects of city renewal continued in spite of the volumes of protest against them. Makers of cities of the postcolonial world were determined to shed their colonial pasts and remake their cities in the images of their counterparts in the North Atlantic world. Given the long history of labor organizing that historians of Bombay are quite familiar with, it can seem strange how things have turned out. Laborers and organizers in Bombay in the 1920s had done a great deal to cast the city’s workers as modern subjects with legitimate claims to the spoils of pro­ duction. But yet, workers’ insecure tenancy in precarious forms of shelter in the city meant that they were continuously liminal subjects stuck between regimes of legality and illegality or legitimacy and illegitimacy. Their very legibility was repeatedly blurred by distinguishing forms of shelter, migration, sanitation, or disease, and therefore maintaining as ambiguous workers’ very methods of accessing city-space. Such ambiguity had and has indeterminate outcomes for both capital and labor, but more often serves the former rather than the latter. Scholars often rightly trace current conditions of increasing impoverishment, legal homelessness, and the rise of informality to the neoliberal reforms in the 1970s and 1980s in cities of the Global South. This book, however, situates what was even called the “modern slum” in colonial Bombay within a much longer history. It explores how long-term changes in conceptions of shelter became located in “the city” as a newly demarcated object of governance. As a result of new rationales and practices that introduced economy into government and demarcated the city, the laboring poor were shifted from once nonlegal to legal and then illegal housing. By the

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turn of the twentieth century in many cities worldwide, these were commensurable processes that deployed slum making to manage populations. Bombay didn’t fail to become a city, as developers have long claimed; rather, through Bombay’s history we see the remarkable success of the city as an aspiration, as a staging and framing device, and as an organizing principle of rule that produced both the city and its slums and continues to do so in the present. It is that success and its implications that this book explores. Choosing between seeing Bombay’s history as a story of success and a story of failure demands that the historian attend to the stakes inherent in the telling, a task that requires much moral searching and responsibility. For making clear to me this and other aspects of the historian’s craft at a very formative moment in my life, I am immensely grateful to have met David Ludden, who insisted that a historian must always negotiate competing claims to centrality, be voracious in her appetite for sources, and never lose sight of the dynamics of inequality and the numerous ways in which it manifests. Perhaps it was because we both shared aborted attempts to attend to inequality through earlier careers in public health that, in spite of my initial reluctance, David motivated me to become a historian and stuck around long enough to read my writing. For that and for his continuous support, I am and will be forever grateful. Numerous other people took on the role of mentorship, advising, and guidance when I needed it most, either reading drafts or offering suggestions that culminated in this book. Partha Chatterjee was my first conversation partner about Indian cities, and his questions followed me throughout my research and writing. Adam McKeown deserves so much gratitude, for eagerly and patiently reading numerous drafts and encouraging bold thinking very early in my research. His resolute disdain for careerism made space for me to think authentically, the only condition under which I could write anything this long. Without his support, this project would never have begun. Very sadly, Adam didn’t live long enough to see it end, something we would have surely celebrated with a meal in New York City’s Jackson Heights neighborhood. Elizabeth Blackmar’s own scholarship on the social history of housing in New York inspired this project from the start, helping me generate the empirical questions I needed. Nicholas Dirks, along with Anupama Rao and Reinhold Martin, read my work in its earliest stages and guided me toward important questions. I am especially grateful to Douglas Haynes and Abigail McGowan for repeated readings and timely advice about each stage of book production. I was fortunate to meet Richard Harris at a conference, and ever since I have been able to rely on him for sound

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advice on questions of urbanism. Timothy Mitchell deserves special thanks for reading the manuscript in its entirety and offering detailed feedback, sagely advice, and inspiration. Aparna Gopalan’s incisive “cut through the crap” intelligence, judicious approach to writing, nimble mind with regard to all things Marx and Foucault, and contagious enthusiasm for ideas made her a treasured interlocutor at every stage of thinking and writing. Llerena Searle inspired through her own work and provided very useful feedback on drafts, for which I am very grateful. David Gilmartin, Manu Goswami, Aaron Jakes, Juned Sheikh, and Liza Weinstein also read portions of the manuscript, for which I am grateful. During a generous postdoctoral fellowship at the Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis, I was fortunate to have Carolyn Brown, Indrani Chatter­ jee, Sumit Guha, Donna Murch, and numerous others who pushed me to think deeply about questions of labor’s history and power. For offering opportunities to present my work or engaging with my ideas in general, I thank Nikhil Anand, Sarah Besky, Neilesh Bose, Uday Chandra, Matthew Cook, Asher Ghertner, Navyug Gill, Will Glover, Matthew Hull, Prakash Kashwan, Prashant Kidambi, Michael Levien, David Lunn, Lata Parwani, Meha Priyadarshini, Nikhil Rao, Ramnarayan Rawat, Daren Ray, Dwai­ payan Sen, Howard Spodek, Rupa Viswanath, and Susan Wadley. Ahalya Satkunaratnam and Llerena Searle have been my dearest friends and colleagues all at once. P. Sainath has long been an inspiration from afar, setting the bar high for what constitutes vigilant and critical engagement. I am fortunate now to con­sider him a friend and the main inspiration for chapter 2 especially. Sandy Grande taught me through practice a fateful principle— that for every action there is a reaction. I am very fortunate to work in the Depart­ment of History at Connecticut College, where thoughtful and supportive scholars have encouraged me throughout. Eileen Kane deserves special mention for numerous intellectual conversations and much support. Other amazing people at Connecticut College are too numerous to name, but they will certainly know who they are. Several students read drafts, assisted with research, and kept my narratives grounded. Bibliographers, archivists, and library staff in New York, Austin, Chicago, London, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Philadelphia, and New London all worked their magic making voices from the past appear in my presence. Henry Schwarz and Anand Yang were the earliest to solicit the manuscript and express confidence in it, for which I am immensely grateful. Lorri Hagman was an excellent editor, generous with her time and confidence in the project.

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The research for this project was generously funded by grants from the Social Science Research Council, the American Historical Association, the American Institute of Pakistan Studies, a fellowship at the Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis, and research funds from Connecticut College. I am thankful for all this support, without which I would not have been able to lose myself in archives in Mumbai, Delhi, and London, among the mobile lives of those who labored in obscurity in the long nineteenth century and kept me honest. My parents provided much support throughout, as did the Accardis, Bhagats, and Shyamanis, who were all sources of warmth, care, and a sense of family. In the spirit of solidarity, my daughter Saya, who was born and grew up along with this book, authored some 150 “books” of her own, each illustrated of course. Her enthusiasm and love are more precious to me than all of the world’s books combined. For caring for my child and for me while I wrote, Dean Accardi and Aparna Gopalan get my infinite praise and thanks. With so much help, one would expect a more perfect product. But every history, every narrative about the past, can only be an imperfect provocation in the present. As such, it is likely to contain errors of judgment and shortcomings in execution, for which I alone am responsible.

[Ma

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Delhi

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C O L O N I A L I N D I A S I N DH Karachi

Aden

Kutch

G U J A R A T

Khandesh

W E

S Bombay T

DECCAN

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K A N K O N

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200 mi 200

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Goa

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ADMINISTRATIVE DIVISIONS ECOLOGICAL BOUNDARIES Regions internal to major divisions of Bombay Presidency

H G N iri g a R atn T A S C O

Bombay Presidency

MALABAR COAST

M ap 1. Administrative divisions and ecological zones of the Bombay Presidency, ca. 1900. The four administrative divisions are Sindh, Gujarat, the Deccan, and Karnatak. The ecological zones are the Western Ghats, the Konkan Coast, and the Malabar Coast. Select districts depicted are Khandesh and Ratnagiri. Besides Kutch and those between the Deccan and Karnatak, most princely states are not depicted. Created by Bill Nelson.

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M ap 2. Bombay environs. The city of Bombay, located in western India and along the western Indian Ocean, as an island and adjacent to Salsette, showing harbors and hinterland regions. Courtesy of the Digital South Asia Library, University of Chicago, http://dsal.uchicago.edu. “Environs of Bombay,” in Imperial Gazetteer of India, Atlas ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1909), vol. 26, 53.

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I

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GIRGAUM GIRGAUM

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MAZAGAON MAZAGAON KAMATHIPURA

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3 km

M ap 3. Neighborhoods of Bombay. Ten administrative wards reproduced from a map in the Municipal Commissioner’s Report for the City of Bombay, 1867. Parell and Mahim were one ward; the others are labeled and demarcated separately. Created by Bill Nelson.

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Making the Modern Slum

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Introduction Genealogies of the Urban Modern

In the 1870s, colonial India witnessed some of the worst famines in its history. Some 6 million to 10 million people perished, and hundreds of thousands of people faced hunger, disease, forced migration, and irreversible loss of livelihood.1 India was one part of a global subsistence crisis. The Indian Famine Commission, formed in response by the colonial regime, found that an overdependence on agriculture, the failure of rains, and “the backwardness and poverty” of raiyats or ryots, cultivators in western India, were some of the causes. To bear the costs of what were callously deemed “inevitable” famines, the commission suggested that the government of India had to increase its revenues.2 Government relief efforts being paltry, many famine victims set off on foot for the city of Bombay. They traveled in human caravans thousands of people long, astonishing observers. The Sion Causeway led into the city on its northern end, and there tens of thousands of these structurally displaced migrants crowded into what were basically refugee camps. Consisting of various cultivating classes and castes and untouchable land-workers, these famished migrants were living at the edge of what had become a makeshift gate into the city. Whether famished migrants sought out Bombay to make an appeal to their new rulers or because they had gathered that cities were places for opportunities, we cannot be sure, but this was not the first time migrants had sought out Bombay. Migrants from coasts and inland regions had for decades brought Bombay into their orbits of mobility and thereby constituted its human density and shaped the city’s history. Bombay was the capital of the Bombay Presidency, which came under the British Crown in 1858 as one of three presidencies, Calcutta and Madras being the other two. By the 1890s, colonial Bombay was acknowledged to be a commercial capital in the British Raj. Bombay’s population fluctuated in the nineteenth century. Between 1860 and 1870, including during the American Civil War, when demand for Indian cotton rose and plummeted, its population grew to over 800,000 and then dwindled to just under 650,000. By 1890, the population had increased again, due to the influx of famine victims, only to fall to the 3

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earlier low number with the plague of 1896. In the early twentieth century, the population rose to above 1 million.3 Reliably high populations as a sign of “city-ness” were thus not what made Bombay important in constituting the power of capital. This is because the power of capital did not originate in the city.4 Rather, Bombay was constituted by migrants’ movements in search of work as they responded to imperatives forced by capitalist pressures across city and country. Only once these movements were already in place did Bombay, as a “city,” become central to capital as a space to coordinate ambitions that centered upon its port, industrial neighborhoods, labor colonies, and administrative offices. Effective governance in and of the space of the city served to coordinate and extend the power of capital over land and sea. Among those managing the famished migrants impinging on the city’s boundaries, the guiding logic was to keep the wrong kinds of circulation out and the right kind in. In other words, the town had to be opened up to circulation while mitigating such openings’ ill effects. While it is often thought that the main feature of the history of the city of Bombay, being a colonial city, was fortification to protect colonial masters from native unruliness, another perspective suggests that defortification was the key feature of colonial city making. In fact, the concern over fortification was accompanied by an equal, if not greater, concern with opening up the city to circulation. In the colonial period, walls were torn down, ports built, roadways and railways crisscrossed through the city, and particular prior town duties were even abolished, all to connect the city ever so precisely to hinterlands and worldly thoroughfares. Colonial officials justified such openings by appealing to the possibility of increased revenues and the civilizing effects of colonial rule. By the late nineteenth century, the space of the town was no longer a walled enclave but was situated within “a space of circulation.”5 But such openings would only succeed if they could shelter capital through simultaneous closures that fended off undesirable elements, a tricky balancing act that the East India Company had much prior experience with. For example, as early as the 1660s the East India Company had been fortifying Bombay, seeing the island as “menaced by European and native enemies,” such as the Marathas.6 The last great Mughal king, Aurangzeb, died in 1707 after several failed adventures in subordinating the Marathas, a growing imperial force encompassing western India.7 In 1739, a group of merchants came forth volunteering to tax themselves to fund the company’s digging of a “town ditch” or moat to keep the Marathas out, having themselves become invested in securing Bombay.8 The merchants were “anxious,” they said, to defend “the great happiness we enjoy under

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the English Government in the perfect security of our property and in the free exercise of our respective ways of worship.” Impressed with these ambitions to tax themselves, the company obliged to “provide for their security in case of invasion . . . as by fortifying the town itself for the greater assurance and encouragement of the inhabitants.” But a fully enclosed entity was antithetical to maximizing their revenues, so the company also incentivized settlers of the right kinds in Bombay. The company was directed from London that “as many people as possible, especially those of circumstance, be encouraged to settle at Bombay.”9 The encouragement of settlers was indicative of a steady erosion of the walls of the fort as both a legislative and physical boundary. Once the British defeated the Marathas in 1818 and annexed most of western India, the walls were even less necessary. By the 1860s, the walls around the fort were mostly demolished, in disrepair, or in disuse. So by the time of the famines of the 1870s, keeping migrants out was especially difficult since the city had neither a gate nor a fixed set of rules about who was allowed inside. Debating how to manage the famine, Raghunath Khote, who would later help with census taking, made a lengthy plea against the Bombay Municipality, rather than a private charity, providing work. If the municipality provided work, then word would spread and “cause the population of Bombay to be increased in a remarkable degree, and by a class of people who certainly would not contribute to the prosperity of the health of the city.”10 Populations needed to be encouraged toward industriousness, skilled laborers distinguished from dependents, and sanitation ensured. He worried that no one would employ the famished migrants since they were “unskilled.” No millowner, for example, would invest in training them, since “business-men seldom or never allow their minds to be influenced by feelings of sentimentalism.” Left to no option but begging, migrants would crowd into dwellings and spread disease, or so he believed. Despite attempts to close the city to famished migrants by promoting industrious populations, inadvertent openings were made for migrants through the endorsement of temporary dwellings. To prevent migrants from overcrowding the city, the Bombay Municipal Corporation built what it hoped were temporary sheds for the migrants, echoing a tactic even the East India Company had used on prior occasions. But temporariness was more of an idle wish, since such structures only proliferated, especially once authorized by those in power. For decades, even residents “of circumstance” had to be induced by the municipality into building more durable structures. Temporary forms of habitation and shelter went mostly unnoticed or even

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endorsed long before they were deemed a nuisance. Later, such dwellings could once again be positioned as inimical to the health of the city, and openings turned into closures. In debates over the opening and closing of Bombay, it was as if “the city” were one character and the famished or poor migrants the other.11 With both needing care and custodianship, the needs of “the city” had to be balanced against those of the people who made it up. Health officials called the migrants’ decision to come to Bombay in the 1870s “a mistake,” motivated either by a futile hope for better wages or by the false expectation of relief without working at all. A Dr. Blaney found “misery and disease,” saying, “Our duty is, I think, to see that the healthy state of the city does not suffer from this overcrowding and disease consequent upon it.”12 The only solution was to get them “outside the town” and “on their legs again,” being “on [one’s] legs” now a condition for entry into the city. New methods of distinction were emerging that plotted the edges of Bombay onto space, migrant bodies, regimes of labor, logics of hygiene, and dwelling types that would make the city amenable to the flow of capital. Fr agmentary Archives As numerous scholars have now shown, historical archives are produced within regimes of power. Regimes of power authorize categories of description and analysis that make classificatory grids which map social worlds. As such, they reveal the logics by which objects could appear and disappear from the gaze of power.13 Archives warrant investigation into their function as tools of power. In colonial India, bureaucratic offices produced archives classified under distinct rubrics that reflect colonial knowledge making. Lisa Lowe states this problem well when she says, “[Archives’] imperatives are classification, collection, and documentation, rather than connection or convergence.”14 As historian Rupa Viswanath has shown too, contemporary historiography is often unwittingly complicit with these archival imperatives of classification. Scholars who read missiological archives only with a limited number of “religious” questions in mind actually unknowingly further nineteenth-century missionaries’ attempts to classify caste as religious rather than political or social.15 If archives fragment the world they claim to represent in particular ways, it is the historian’s task instead to reconnect what appear as fragments by reading “across the separate repositories organized by office, task, and function, and by period and area, precisely implicating one set of preoccupations in and with another.”16

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What a connected reading of Bombay’s archives reveals is that the preoccupation with containing agrarian crises was implicated in the preoccupation with the bounding of the city. Two tactics of power/knowledge were central to these aims: first, spatially demarcating the rural and the urban as distinct “social” spheres and, second, problematizing shelter. The documents that form the official archive are both products and productive of such tactics, and so they make invisible the power on which they depend. By placing fragmented archival knowledge together, the tactics and rationales of power become visible. Demarcating the rural and the urban as disjunct spaces was the first method of distinction used to plot the city of Bombay. An inverse of perhaps our own sensibilities, officials believed that by defining space they could distinguish between occupational types. As early as 1804, James Mackintosh, speaking at the founding of the Literary Society of Bombay (later renamed the Asiatic Society of Bombay), had wanted to map people “especially according to the great division into agricultural and manufacturing.”17 But corresponding space to occupation revealed more about the minds of officials than it did dynamics on the ground. According to the Factory Act of 1891, the legal definition of a “factory” was any place of work using mechanical power and employing at least fifty people. The number was reduced to twenty people in 1921, and then to at least ten in 1948.18 These designations not only undercounted workers employed in or influenced by industry, but they also exaggerated the effects of mechanization, since many machines were hand-driven. By the late twentieth century, occupation came to be used to determine whether a space was actually a village, a town, or a city, the latter two having predominantly “nonagricultural” laborers.19 Even in the colonial period, population density also did not correspond neatly to the distinction between rural and urban. Some rural and especially coastal districts were just as dense as or denser than parts of Bombay and yet were neither classified as “city” nor governed as such. In coastal regions of the Karnatak, for example, human density surpassed that of many of Bombay’s core neighborhoods. Such dense collections of human population were also found in coastal South, Southeast, and East Asia. Before the 1930s, over 29 million Indians migrated to much of coastal Asia, producing a commercial zone encompassing Southeast Asia, East Asia, and the subcontinent.20 Many of these locations were never classified as cities. Circular migrants maintained residences in their villages, returning to their family and kin seasonally as opportunities came and went. Throughout the colonial period, chains of migration into and out of towns, villages, and cities

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were multidirectional and did not result in transformations of rural persons into urbanites. These difficulties were resolved by deciding that, for the 1872 census, a town was a place with greater than five thousand people. But in fact, districts with over five thousand people were just as easily based entirely on agriculture.21 Many historians have dealt with these ambiguities between city space and agricultural space by either accepting administrative boundaries or imposing their own analytic distinctions between “city” and “country” onto the archive. But doing the latter is anachronistic. It means defining the city in advance of discovering what it meant to people at the time and imposing categories of analysis from the present onto the past. For example, if we take particular kinds of productive activities as particular to the city or urban form—such as free labor, industry, or commerce—then how should we understand the various forms of servitude, bonded labor, and agricultural production that persist in the city? How can we understand the inverse of this too—that networks of commerce and exchange sometimes are centered in agricultural areas and not in cities? Doing the former, namely, accepting administrative boundaries, would mean participating in the arbitrary distinctions colonial administrators made without understanding what ends such distinctions served. Biographies of a city, for example, often participate in presentism by imposing fixed understandings of a clearly bounded city into a past when such boundaries were shifting and porous. By selecting out evidence of premeditated architecture, life histories of commercial men, or even a history of the city as if it were a character in a plot—an organic whole—such accounts exaggerate the centrality of select spaces that appear “city-like” and exclude those that seem less city-like even when they are within the administrative boundary of the city. Such histories are not only anachronistic, but they become complicit in the power-knowledge regimes that exclude spaces and peoples that appear unplanned. They thus render invisible and illegible the majority of city dwellers in colonial cities. In short, they participate in what sociologist Manuel Castells called “the myth of urban culture.”22 What has long manifested as neglect of “native towns” within studies of colonial cities is actually an effect of practices of demarcation that produced the city in the first place. The city was a differentiated site of inclusionary and exclusionary practices that could make some parts of colonial Bombay, for instance, seem unintended or outside of governance, not quite city-like. But these were calculated to be excluded—and not just by foreign colonial

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rulers but even by those on the ground, such as neighborhood groups, reformers, and city elites through whom the power and promises of capital materialized. Those places that appeared outside of governance were in fact not outside, but rather were included in a subordinated and demoted role. This had one important effect of not only getting cheaper labor from the “outside” but also rendering labor on the “inside” more docile. Regimes of power-knowledge practices produced the city and then designated the majority of the people as its “outside.”23 “The city” as a boundary marker has too often been the unexamined spatial container inside of which the fields of urban studies, urban history, or architectural history begin their work. Historicizing the city rather than doing history inside the city requires tending to continuities and discontinuities in historical practices of representation. It requires reading citycountry dynamics together as a methodological strategy to limit the influence of official archives on the scholar’s understanding of Bombay’s history. Colonial forces did not insert themselves into transhistorical objects such as the city or even “the economy,” which is often thought to manifest in its purest form in the city; rather, the economy and the city were produced in specific ways by these encounters. Historicizing their emergence requires suspending our preconceived notions of what the city means and recalling that “the city” was demarcated not by lines on a map but by social, epistemic, and discursive boundaries. The second way that “the city” was marked off against laboring migrants was through problematizing shelter. Problematizing shelter meant marking certain types of dwellings as insufficiently “urban” and detrimental to the “health of the city.” But it also included the relatively banal task of cataloging and recording housing as if it stood in for the social relations that made up the city. Enumerating and cataloging housing, for instance, was a dominant part of census keeping in cities worldwide by the end of the nineteenth century. Why precisely was counting and describing dwelling types necessary for managing the city? What use was it to know whether a structure had a thatched roof or not? Put another way, to what questions was housing the answer? “Housing” is not an entity that preexists its archival representation; rather, archival representation produces a category called housing, an important—because it is commensurable and comparable—measure across cities. Tabulating housing enables calculations of averages of density and size, ideal types, desirable familial patterns of residence, and deviations from these norms. Because of such archives, housing can appear as the primary subject of histories of cities, a subject distinct from the dynamics of labor,

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capital, and government.24 But reconnecting the question of housing to those broader questions requires that scholars consider how it was through the deployment of housing as an administrative category that labor was disciplined, capital was accumulated, populations were distinguished and managed, and the city was demarcated as a distinct entity in the first place. Indeed, it is particular building types that eventually come to convey city-ness. City censuses did not merely tabulate housing; they constructed housing as a distinct category. They classified housing on the basis of the types of materials used to build it—against other possible ways of classification— as if the acquisition of housing and choices about building materials were not connected to larger structures of capitalist accumulation, labor con­ ditions, or the experiences of those inhabiting them. But rising inequality in cities showed that the power of capital, as Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels had warned, did not leave even practices of shelter untouched.25 However, focusing on housing allowed city administrators to overlook the pressing problems of labor, capital, and inequality. In effect, shelter cataloged as “housing” was that through which the city was imagined, materialized, and governed. Numerous confrontations in cities worldwide against the power of capital resulted in the achievement of rent ceilings, tenancy rights, and enfranchisement of laborers in city politics. Nevertheless, in significant ways the power of capital was consolidated upon and through housing itself. When Engels decried the “housing question” in 1872, he meant to implore housing activists to see that practices of shelter merely reflected the power of capital and that attending to the provision of housing alone could not be taken up in piecemeal fashion.26 If the role of capital was not confronted, then resolving the question of housing through increased accommodations for laborers would only manage one of the crises of capital, namely, the problem of the reproduction of labor, on behalf of capital, not against it. This is indeed what happened in colonial India when public-private ventures in dwellings for the laboring classes, financial instruments to make such dwellings remunerative, and spatial regulations to fix subjects and their relations in space sought to produce “sanitary” cities that sheltered capital, not laborers. Cataloging housing also enabled the more straightforward stigmatization of working-class housing as unclean, non-modern, and not city-like. At the beginning of the twentieth century in colonial Bombay, more than threequarters of the city’s 1.2 million people lived in single rooms dispersed over a variety of dwelling structures and tenurial arrangements of land. These residents included migrants and settlers who were factory workers,

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day laborers, outcaste scavengers and leather workers, potters, fishing peoples, construction workers, coolies, jobbers, and middlemen of all kinds. Free persons, bonded laborers, and the all-but-enslaved found a way to make use of the space of the city. But in the early 1900s, city reformers from across the colonial divide deemed a select portion of these many single-roomed structures “slums,” warning that they threatened the “sanitary credit” of the city and caused capital to flee. Only a fraction of those single-room inhabitants were stigmatized as undesirable residents, revealing in each instance a logic and goal that guided a distinction between good circulation and bad. The “slum” had emerged as a new category of stigmatization. It descended from the ongoing agricultural crises that continued to produce famished migrants in every decade of colonial rule. But addressing the “slum question” came to seem distinct from addressing the “agrarian question.” The former required specialists on the city—town planners, architects, legal experts, and property developers who would expend other kinds of labors to produce the city as a “commercially viable space.” The latter seemed to call for champions of free trade who forced peasants into market logics, turning a blind eye to the relations of coercion subordinating them, and all the while protecting traders. All this was to “encourage” peasants to lift themselves out of poverty. Understanding how problems beget solutions that themselves become problems requires reading across historical archives that divide these problems in space and juxtaposing the lived experiences of laborers with the rationales of rule that sought to govern them. the Labors of City Making Crises of subsistence, exchange, production, reproduction, and legitimacy are endemic to capitalism, but they rarely halt its operation. Crises provide opportunities to reorganize and recoordinate the power of capital onto new sites, new relations, new spaces, and new configurations of production and commerce.27 The famines of the 1870s, for example, by no means rendered colonial Bombay unsuitable to capital accumulation. By the 1890s and the early 1900s, Bombay was an excellent place to make capital work, what the late historian Rajnarayan Chandavarkar called a “bastion of Indian capital.”28 So instead of debating whether colonial India transitioned to capitalism or not, we need to explore precisely how appeals to the power and promises of capital sought to increase “the wealth of the country.” Officials in colonial India repeatedly bemoaned the “crisis” facing Bombay and facing “the public.” There were other crises besides the famine or

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plague. There was the rapid decline in the demand for Indian cotton upon the end of the American Civil War, the persistence of cholera epidemics, the ongoing bouts of hunger and scarcity that produced famished migrants in every decade, and the speculative investments in housing in the early twentieth century that led to price rises. But there was also the opposition to those price rises and the power of capital they encoded as led by ingenious combinations of workers in the 1910s and 1920s—postal workers, millhands, clerks, and railway workers reinforced by the leftist editor Benjamin Horniman of the newspaper Bombay Chronicle.29 In the twentieth century, crises of legitimacy instigated by new imperial subjects demanding sovereignty prompted rulers to accommodate and circumvent their demands in even newer ways. To manage these crises, demarcating the city reconstituted the power of capital at each turn. Projects of intervention, reform, and reorganization strove to lure capital and labor back in through new regulations and incentives. Bombay was made anew again and again to more closely approach the image of “the city” that had increasingly come to circulate among imperial elites across the world. Along the way, migrants and laborers became successively excluded from what counted as the city of Bombay. Focusing on the productive effects of crises requires that we com­bine Marxist understandings of the production of inequality with Michel Foucault’s historicization of the art of government. Practices of governance come from provocations in everyday life. Discourses, or power-​k nowledge practices, are processual rather than discrete actions of dominance, might, or policy. Rationales, tactics, methods, and even objects of governance are decided not by administrative fiat, from the mind of a single ruler, an ideology written in the East India Company charter, or any other such doctrine set out in advance. Rather, as Foucault demonstrated and subsequent ­scholars have shown, they come from the mundane, where contingencies on the ground offer up issues to be managed and rethought so that tactics are adjusted.30 These limits or provocations justify new practices of power-knowledge that are exercised in ways that exceed the official state’s functions. In western India, provocations to form practices of governance occurred on numerous occasions. As early as the 1860s, combinations of financiers, industrialists, and commercial men resisted impediments to their accumulation practices, such as spatial reorganizations or increased taxation. When asked even in the 1860s what they wanted to do about providing housing for laborers, they said they would do nothing.31 Such resistances would continue well into the twentieth century even beyond Bombay, for example, in

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Aden, where Bombay’s capitalists explicitly refused to provide better housing for their own laborers working at ship fueling stations.32 Such resistances prompted projects of rule that appeased the moneyed classes, many times even ensuring their investment in built space would be remunerative. In the 1870s, famished migrants pushed upon makeshift city boundaries, prompting differential tactics of management that coded bodies and spaces as inside or outside the city. Throughout Bombay’s history, laboring migrants dwelled in temporary habitations built either by the rulers or by the migrants themselves, leading to concerns about sanitation and durability that problematized practices of shelter. In even less extreme conditions than famine, migrants became “footloose labor,” or what was called the “floating population” at the time, thus warranting new tactics of order and control.33 Each of these caused capital and labor to flee the city, raising the specter of the problem of the “floating population” and posing serious challenges to Bombay as a space for capital. In 1896, inhabitants fled antiplague measures such as surveillance and quarantining. Residents foiled, locked out, or even assaulted sanitation officers, prompting practices of rule that could act at a distance rather than by directly impinging upon residents’ mobility and habitations. At the turn of the twentieth century, crises of inadequate shelter gave rise to the housing question, which in turn resulted in the formation of practices of governance that put these crises to good use. Subsequent practices of governance homed in on the built environment to produce a space for capital. Thus, in each of these cases and numerous more, provocations entailed the practices of politics, but governmental tactics adjusted in response.34 In other words, for every movement there was a countermovement. By seeing how crisis, then governance, and then city making manifested, we can avoid imposing preconceptions of what “the city” is in general or the Indian city is in particular that have long relegated Indian or colonial urbanism as deviant from a norm. Seeing the city as an effect of ongoing labors contributes to what urbanist Ananya Roy has called “a new geography of imagination in the production of theory.” In such an approach, one does not begin by positioning Indian cities as “anomalous” to universal models, studied to provide empirical variability to a sovereign conception. Such an approach enables us to produce theory grounded in a location, in this case colonial Bombay, which can then be taken up and reworked elsewhere.35 Making the Modern Slum provides a genealogy of the urban modern with the slum as its internal counterpart. It does so by exploring the attempts at bounding the city of Bombay that staged what later came to be called “the

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economy.” One might ask why precisely such labors of city making were undertaken in the nineteenth century. To answer this question we have to look at the transformations and crises of the nineteenth century that occasioned the emergence of new rationales of rule. The term urban gaze best captures, I have found, what Foucault on several occasions referred to as the “gaze” or “the optical system” that began with Jeremy Bentham’s modeling of the Panopticon prison complex. About this, Foucault stated, “Late in the eighteenth century, new problems emerge: it becomes a question of using the disposition of space for economico-political ends.”36 In other lectures, he noted that “the dense coexistence” of “‘urban objects’ [was] the essential condition for the rise of ‘policing’ as an art of government.”37 He also identified the “urban problem” as the “last domain” of biopolitics.38 In other words, dense environments offered up problems that were solved by acting upon populations and arranging objects in space to achieve particular ends. Colonial Bombay is a particularly good place from which to study the emergence of this urban gaze. Although it was less populated than other major cities throughout the world, its density was one of the highest and described as “fearfully more intense.”39 Other parts of colonial India were even denser than Bombay, some not even being classified as “cities” by census officials; the densest of these areas contributed most to the migration into the city.40 The urban gaze arose from this problem of density. It permitted the creation of an observing position that looked out into space to colonize by dividing and sorting people and objects. It motivated officials to map occupations onto places, such as the agriculturalist onto villages and industrial laborers and merchants onto cities—even though the persons who performed each moved between spaces. Equally important, this urban gaze positioned the viewer as apart from the divisions he “witnessed.” This seeing position came to be a disposition even among those who exercised power in the villages and in agriculture. It enabled a way of ordering that resulted in rationales of rule that disaggregated agriculture and industry and adversely incorporated into city life ­“un-urban” elements such as beggars, vagrants, migrants, crises of social reproduction, and even agriculture itself. In later moments, the urban gaze manifested as an appeal to a pure conception of urbanism or city-space. This pure urbanism was one in which all the objects that belong to a city would be inside the city and all that do not belong would have moved out or ceased to exist. None of the latter actually ceased to exist, but by appealing to the

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ideal in which one day they would cease to exist, projects of colonization, accumulation, and extraction could justifiably continue. Ultimately, the urban gaze produced the unique assumptions of urban planning, architects, and professional urbanists, but in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries such “sciences” were still in formation. Unraveling the rationales, logics, and justifications that helped official, quasi-official, and unofficial people do the work of demarcating the city or materializing the urban gaze, as this book does, is a historicizing operation meant to challenge the naturalness of the urbanists’ object of vision. In the following sections, I explore in greater detail each of the three related arguments that unravel the working of the urban gaze. City as Horizon A report submitted to the Indian Planning Commission in the 1960s included a section titled “Our Cities Do Not Present an Urban Picture,” which echoed a common assumption about India’s independence from colonial rule in 1947. The author of this report, Jal Feerose Bulsara, had undertaken a study of nine cities about which he claimed: “Some are cities in name only. Most cities are urban only in part. They present the worst features of overgrown and ugly villages. In many places, they present foulsmelling slums, where municipal services are conspicuous by their absence or scarcity and where overcrowding is intense. The density is equally appalling.”41 Bulsara presumed that urbanism was the opposite of “unsightliness, populous villages, slums” and “overcrowding.” This supposition also depended on a slippage between urbanism and cities, so that it was possible to claim that there were in fact cities in India but that they were not urban. The first argument of this book is that cities, even if in name only, are products of intense and ongoing labors. Cities are not clearly demarcated entities represented by lines on a map, nor are they a self-evident category of administration or classification.42 Cities are also not demographic facts. Cities do not represent an irreversible end point of modernization or development, as any laboring community knows that has once been counted or celebrated only to be problematized, demoted, and even cleared out decades later. Cities are produced by efforts to order a chaotic world so as to manage and intervene. City-making projects direct crises toward new ends; they strive to reinsert the space of the city as a more durable and interconnected infrastructure for world commerce. Projects of city making are undertaken

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again and again, making the city anew at each turn. Shifting rationales of exclusion, inclusion, and problematization serve the needs of city making. In colonial India, census officials, reform societies, and developers of both agriculture and the spaces of the city created spaces where commercial functions thrived, populations were managed, and municipal bodies were authorized to gain control over territory, land, and the relations between “men and things.” Such labors were elaborated throughout institutions of management but were not confined to officials and elites. Census officials sought to establish norms and deviations to demarcate the city. The Bombay Municipal Corporation conflated “public” works with city improvement projects. The Port Trust championed overseas commerce as a source of revenue and progress, thereby demanding particular interventions in the space of the city. Native reform societies advocated hygiene and health among inhabitants so as to protect the health of their city. The City of Bombay Improvement Trust enacted large-scale projects of renewal, and the Bombay Development Department solidified the use of finance in these renewal projects. Together, by demarcating people and spaces, these institutions and individuals created regimes of legibility and illegibility, legitimacy and illegitimacy that were central to city making. Bulsara’s notion that India’s cities were “cities in name only” used the disorderly or unclean to instigate and authorize projects of city making. City making served the wider project of modernization that was in circulation by the 1950s. W. W. Rostow’s “The Stages of Economic Growth” provided a template for modernization that privileged the city as the future of the country, paralleling anthropological conceits in the 1950s that urban people are more advanced than rural “folk.”43 Modernization templates had come to influence Indian planning, nationalist economics, and international attitudes toward postcolonial development. The templates were given a historical basis by the earliest demographers, whose data influenced Indian nationalists and even dependency theorists. Demographer Kingsley Davis consistently puzzled over the colonial world’s demographic “deviations” from North Atlantic norms.44 The often-repeated argument was that because of colonialism, modernization and urbanization had been thwarted. Subsequent studies tried to connect colonial urbanism to world systems and dependency theory.45 Colonialism and neocolonialism caused India to “de-urbanize” and produce raw materials that were shipped elsewhere for manufacturing.46 Such a view created a simple equation between industry and cities that went unexamined. But for almost as long as demographic criteria have been templates, scholars

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from the colonial world have critiqued them. After joining the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics in Pune in 1941, sociologist N. V. Sovani demonstrated the arbitrariness of such quantitative criteria. He showed, for example, that the correlation between industry and urbanization is higher in postcolonial India than it was in the period from which we derive our “model” of urbanization, namely, during the industrialization of the North Atlantic world in the nineteenth century. Yet postcolonial urbanization is characterized as “over-urbanization.”47 Sovani was challenging the equation of manufacturing and industry with cities and urbanization. Building on Sovani’s critique, this book argues that rather than a demographic outcome, cities are better thought of as the effects of labors of demarcation. In colonial India, the city was more than a space; it was a target or horizon, a potential result of projects of aspiration that determined practices of rule that extended beyond the space of the city. The ordering practices of city making did not happen once and then were over, henceforth creating a permanent space of the city. Rather, the ordering practices were available whenever the need arose to make the city again and anew in the desired image of those who benefited from the interventions. In each instance, planners, rulers, reformers, and even collectives of invested residents championed particular interventions. Demarcating the city was a contingent and iterative project that materialized practices of rule onto space. Such projects demand that we think of the relations between space, capital, order, and disorder in each time and place rather than assume in advance a relation between these. The Modern Slum A second argument of this book is that by the first decades of the twentieth century, the very conception of the city enabled a discursive idea of the slum to be formulated, not as the outside of the city, but as its internal other. Simultaneous to the emerging distinction between the city and agriculture, shelter became commodified or mediated by money. Shelter was not produced for the market but became defined by it.48 Thus, alongside Karl Polanyi’s trio of land, labor, and money, in colonial Bombay shelter became a fictitious commodity. Before, laborers may have acquired shelter by entangling themselves into unequal relations of reciprocity, into productive networks dependent on landlords, overlords, merchants, and industrialists. Even when relations of dependence and tenancy lessened, shelter may have been the last provision taken away, either because caste segregation already

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divided shelter in space or because shelter could still hold out as a form of control. But by the twentieth century, labor could be disentangled from shelter more sharply, so that in many instances but not all, shelter was provisioned separately. Shelter turned into commodified housing. It was also codified by city officials and thus put to new ends. Housing practices now separated accumulation from relations of obligation. It allowed rulers of the city of Bombay to isolate and home in on migrants, the built environment, capital, and labor—all on one site. It made it possible for chains of command—landlords, sub-landlords, rent collectors, neighborhood contractors—to extract value from the provisioning of shelter. Shelter, as housing, could itself become a part of distinct circuits of accumulation. During sanitary crises, housing was targeted as an isolated realm necessary to spatial and infrastructural durability. Most importantly, the codification of shelter created a language for regimes of legitimacy that served city making by signifying where the city started and stopped. Slum making was a case of a solution finding its problem rather than the other way around. By calling structures “slums,” entire institutions of reform, renewal, and finance could be mobilized again and again to make the city anew, at each turn reorganizing the power of capital. By the early twentieth century, the “slum” incorporated and marked the edges of the city, that is, not physical perimeters but spaces and bodies of illegitimate or migrant laborers. Reform, renewal, and town planning were used to “incorporate” some migrants and not others. The “slum” was the agglomeration of all that was constitutive of, but narrated out of, the story of “the city,” namely, shelter, agrarian crises, disease, impoverishment, labor bondage, debt, and hunger. Slum-renewal projects in turn made invisible the process of rural colonization on which the city depended. Makeshift structures became targets of reform, but not always. What I call the “judicious illegalization” of shelter was the process to sort migrants. Shelter had transformed from nonlegal to legal and then illegal as it served the needs of those in power. The first “slums” of Bombay were thus tenements in the center of the city and not the sprawling shantytowns we might associate with postcolonial urbanism. Comparable and commensurable to “slums” in the North Atlantic world, these central tenements became targets of town planning and reform by the City of Bombay Improvement Trust, formed in 1898 in response to the plague. Entire buildings would be upgraded or brought down and new ones constructed to house families rather than networks of laborers. Meanwhile, other dense and makeshift

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dwellings were neglected or even celebrated for providing much-needed shelter for migrant laborers. What’s more, by the 1910s northern sections of the city, rather sparsely populated areas looking nothing like the tenement areas that were the first slums, were subsequently labeled “slums” to inaugurate official suburbanization, or, in other words, further incorporation of lands into the city of Bombay.49 Such inconsistencies reveal the governmental uses of the term slum rather than its descriptive abilities. Within the first decade of the Trust’s activities, it had displaced more people than it had housed. J. P. Orr, a civil servant and chairman of the Trust, warned in 1919 that the Trust’s improvement projects had “resulted in the formation of what will ultimately be recognized as modern slums.”50 Cities and slums were jointly constituted objects. In other words, stigmatization was necessary for the projects of city making that entailed renewal and reform. Yet the “third world slum” is routinely submitted as proof of incomplete urbanization and by extension incomplete modernization. Order and planning are made to characterize the former, while neglect or repression is made to characterize the “spontaneous settlements” of the latter.51 This pattern can be made to appear self-evident in Bombay, where European-inspired architecture, ports, museums, and bureaucratic offices streamline the appearance of Bombay’s southern tip, while irregular land use patterns, household-based production practices, and unfree labor relations make the rest of the city seem haphazard.52 Some colonial observers even called southern Bombay “Modern Town” (Upper and Lower Colaba, Fort North and Fort South, and Esplanade) and opposed it to “Native Town,” or “the winding narrow streets of Hindu, Muslim, and Jewish districts.”53 Such long-standing misconceptions of colonial modernity, in which illiberal and liberal, traditional and modern, status and contract, or customary and rational are juxtaposed as separate, extend notions of “dual societies” into histories of colonial cities.54 In such views, the colonial city comes to appear as deviant from an ostensible North Atlantic norm. Critics of this dual city or colonial city paradigm have shown that the dualism was an imperial vision, that the “critical aspects of colonial cities lie not in the clarity of this duality, but in the tension of blurring boundaries between the two.”55 The obsessive “delimiting practices” of the colonial state—which sought to distinguish white town from black town—belied the permeability of boundaries. In actuality, linkages between both in space and productive life were crucial. Factory laborers were recruited through jobbers; patrons bid on production opportunities through private arrangements with individuals of the state rather than anonymous market

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pressures; forms of credit were obtained through both banks and personal affiliations; and links between property developers, institutions of reform, and the police produced spatial order.56 Indeed, in spite of celebratory rhetoric that praised Bombay as a cosmopolitan hub even at the time, Bombay was no commercial entrepôt of free trade. Networks of merchants who sought to monopolize trade, such as those of the East India Company or even the Parsee, Muslim, or Hindu families, built their power through intensified relations of coercion and control over laboring populations. In the city, just as in the country, pressures of production “subvented caste-based privileges.”57 Landlords and cultivators bonded through relations of patronage and debt, for instance, moved in tandem, manifesting as merchants and laborers in the city. For moneyed men, spheres of influence created in one domain transferred into others.58 A mon­ eylender in one location could demand seasonal work from his indebted borrowers, as moneylender and merchant were sometimes one and the same person. Owners of chawls, or native tenements, for example, were known to “force” their tenants to patronize their own grain, cloth, and liquor shops.59 Caste served as a mediating rubric through which one’s position in the pathways of capital accumulation became operative. Coercive power was essential to the formation of the city of Bombay. Thus, “flows”—a word that indicates effortless circulation—actually depended on relations of coercive power that advocates of free trade were conveniently ignorant of. But these facts did not make Bombay anomalous to a pure conception of urbanism or set it apart from the capitalist transformations that produced cities in the North Atlantic world.60 Rather, the story of pure urbanism, of spaces where atomized individuals negotiate anonymous market pressures, has distorted the histories of all cities. When studied with a focus on the experiences of racialized, minoritized, and laboring communities, cities of the North Atlantic certainly reveal the way “flows” of capital always depend on coercive forms of control.61 It is important to move past debates about typologies of cities, typologies that reflect wider assumptions about fundamental distinctions between the “West” and the rest, such as metropolitan versus colonial city or, what is quite analogous, the liberal versus illiberal city. Rather than see colonial cities as unplanned, we can understand planning not as planning to “arrive at a point of perfection, as in a disciplinary town . . . [but as] a matter of maximizing the positive elements . . . and of minimizing what is risky and inconvenient, like theft and disease. . . . [S]ince they can never be nullified, one works on probabilities.”62 The “freedom” of liberalism is not a given in

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urban modernity but rather an end to which reform projects are undertaken. Scholars of cities across the Global South have shown how “the invention of the problem” of slums occurred at the turn of the century when crises of sanitation, order, disorder, and commerce animated reform and renewal projects in cities worldwide.63 This invention of a problem warranted numerous demands to incorporate “illiberal” spaces into a conception of the modern city. Even nationalist critiques of imperial rule that used the disorderly or unclean city as proof that colonialism had thwarted India’s potential modernity could become instigators of reform that would reconstitute the power of capital. Therefore, phenomena that appear “traditional” in colonial cities—such as the fishing peoples’ colonies (called the koliwadas), customary land rights, and tenurial arrangements that do not follow a script of status to contract—are not signs of the persistence of the past but rather are produced as an element of colonial change.64 They are produced not because colonial Bombay was or still is illiberal but precisely because of the way in which new goals of liberal governance were conceived on the ground. Institutions of city governance, variations on land tenure, and appeals to caste and custom proliferated in response to the opportunities and dominance of capitalist land markets. The city is thus better seen as a privileged space in the manufacturing of freedom, not as a space of freedom.65 Anticipating the Economy The third argument of this book is that the city is a framing device for the economy.66 In other words, the city stages the insides and the outside of the economy and sorts the internal divisions of the economy. But of course “the city” doesn’t do anything. Rather, its invocation by people on the ground—reformers, neighborhood associations, duties collectors, budget makers in revenue departments, municipal agents, and members of various parastatal organizations such as the Port Trust or the City of Bombay Improvement Trust—materializes the city precisely by making distinctions, first, between the city and its outsides and, second, within city life. These materializations are not done once and then completed but are repeated again and again as a recursive city-making project that positions and idealizes the city as a horizon of action. In doing so, the city frames and prefigures distinctions external and internal to the economy. To understand this argument about the city’s role in staging the economy, we need to understand the history of “the economy” itself as something that comes to appear as an external, measurable, and distinct entity. Providing

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“the economy” a history allows us to challenge the assumption that “the economy” is a transhistorical object that has always existed, about which we continue to refine and develop more accurate quantitative measurements. Reporting of figures such as national income, gross domestic product (GDP), the unemployment rate, or the growth rate serve to endow “the economy” with this natural status. But as scholars Timothy Mitchell and Philip Mirowski have shown, such metrics are relatively recent creations, dating back no earlier than between 1930 and 1950.67 Before “the economy” was used with the article the attached to it, the word economy meant “thrift” or “optimal arrangement.” This latter meaning was at play when Foucault spoke of introducing economy into government, a process demonstrated in the first chapter in the early history of Bombay. Likewise, when “market” was used before the 1930s, it would have referred to markets in specific goods or the vicissitudes of business cycles, not the abstract idea of “the market” that is the shorthand for the sum total of all exchanges combined. This distinction is important for understanding the difference in the con­ cerns colonial officials had for increasing revenue as opposed to the con­cerns postcolonial officials have for growth.68 Before the idea of “the economy,” increasing revenue was only possible by incorporating more buyers, sellers, or commodities, or, in other words, enlarging a market by bringing more members in through territorial annexation, population growth, new trade routes, and so forth. Before the invention of the economy, concerns with “national economy” were about increasing the productive powers of “the nation.”69 After the idea of “the economy” was instituted, it became possible to imagine growth without expansion; the economy changed from a static conception to an internally dynamic one that was made up of a network of relations internal to it. The economy was no longer a single market with a limited number of buyers, sellers, and commodities but a dynamic whole that could itself be acted upon by external impulses. Imagining changes to the totality of productive life in colonial India was especially important because of the threats of colonial and capitalist crises. It was necessary for officials to find a way to test, confirm, and measure the success of their interventions. Before the formation of measurements such as GDP, how did officials gauge whether interventions were having the desired effects or indeed imagine the domain in which they were intervening? As Mitchell observes, “Whatever the actual location of the cotton, the processing industries, the speculation, and the money, if these diverse materials and activities were imagined to have a single location, it was the city.” “The city” according to Mitchell, “offered both a parallel and an alternative

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to landed property as a space that gave concrete and visual form to the new relations of wealth creation.”70 Securing the power of capital upon crises of reproduction, legitimacy, or political threats that posed a limit to revenue occurred through interventions across city and country, but it was in the space of the city that success or not could be “measured.” The space of the city was important in crafting interventions and “measuring” success, even if only through aesthetic impressions of the marvels of city life. Going further, the city was not just a simple predecessor of the economy; rather, the city was an important generator of the very structure of imagination that the economy came to rest upon. Not only did the space of the city offer a prior instance as a parallel, but bounding the city helped plot its edges or outsides upon migrants and laborers who could be deemed illegitimate or not quite city-like. The city also framed the difference between finance and usury, finance being positioned as internal to the city and thus the economy. Appeals to “the city,” like later appeals to “the economy,” animated municipal autonomy movements and regional sovereignty demands that often sought commercial sovereignty for the sake of capitalist integration.71 “The city” stood in for “the economy” decades before the latter was produced. Concerns with “revenue” or “business” and particular “markets” in specific commodities could be visualized in city life before the abstract categories of “the market” or “the economy” fulfilled that role. Projects of city making established relations between objects of governance that later informed not only the external boundaries between the economy and culture but also, crucially, the divisions internal (the “sectors”) to the economy, such as agriculture and industry, or later between types of economies, for example, formal and informal. The city descended from projects of sorting that began much earlier, such as the need in 1804 to classify and sort populations into “the great division into agricultural and manufacturing.”72 The impulse carried through projects that sought to rationalize land use for preconceived ends or the need to contain the crises of agriculture that became a “normal” feature of colonial Indian life. Projects of city making formed the boundaries of the economy through simultaneous exclusion and inclusion of the precise kind of migrants or the condoning and admonishing of what became licit and illicit forms of shelter. If migrants failed to materialize, that is, when populations were identified that did not seek out the city, the distinction between free and unfree labor explained the immobility. The space of the city was thought of as the space of free labor and the space of the village as that of unfree labor; this distinction was utilized to explain attachment to land. Migrants during the

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ongoing famines were sorted into able-bodied versus dependent populations so that they could be distinguished on relief sites throughout colonial India. At the edges of Bombay, skilled laborers were distinguished from unskilled laborers to sort good migrants from bad. As migrants’ shelter moved from nonlegal, to legal, to illegal, the “housing question” served to sort populations by the durability of their dwelling structures. Officials worried that “homogenous colonies of caste and creed” had settled neighborhoods too densely, revealing how networks of migration not only collected from common places of origin but also consisted of like castes. The task for rulers of the growing city was to “redistribute population” according to desired ends.73 As a result, differentiating tactics distinguished populations: some were excluded from city making, some adversely incorporated, and some promoted for inclusion through projects of reform. These tactics of rule were not distinct paths to city making. In their sum total, they were constitutive of the diversity of tactics ordering the city entailed. Legible and illegible laborers and migrants, licit and illicit traffics, and city- and un-city-like elements continued to operate inside, around, and through the space of the city. It was thus that city-making projects differentiated populations, modes of production, labor regimes, methods of accumulation, and value-making projects, prefiguring the differentiations internal and external to what would later become the economy. An “agricultural sector,” versus an “industrial sector,” for instance, found its first expression in the differentiations among free and unfree laborers, cultivators and coolies, permanent migrants and seasonal migrants. By distinguishing people, the idea of the city as the space of free, skilled, able-bodied subjects residing in durable structures was recursively concretized. Through discounting, rendering illegible, and subordinating unwanted elements, famished or poor migrants became invisible and their shelter practices were delegitimized. The city of Bombay was demarcated as a distinct object of rule by subordinating what did not serve the interests of capital. What this suggests is that the city is not just a node within economic life. Rather, the idea of the city prefigured the economy by sorting what would count as “economic” practices in the first place.74 Earlier towns were certainly nodes in the commercial dynamics of the Indian Ocean; even earlier than the early modern period they provided an infrastructure of ports, factories, tariff collectors, warehouses, and checkpoints that could enable movement between places. But by the early twentieth century, what came to count as the city framed what later came to count as the economy. What

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became the insides and outsides of the city parallel the later divisions of the economy that are coded into formal and informal, for instance, although exploring and historicizing the emergence of informality further is outside the scope of this book.75 In colonial Bombay, illiberal modes of production proliferated because of the power of capital, not in spite of it. Both formal and informal, development and underdevelopment, accumulation and dispossession were created simultaneously and as a result of joined processes that adversely incorporated these elements or made them illegible. On a more macro scale, and by the mid-twentieth century, cities were themselves sorted into cities versus cities that are “not quite urban spaces” as a form of inclusion or exclusion from “the economy.” The latter could only strive through projects of development and total reform to become “world cities” at last. Chapters of the Book Through the labors of city making, crises of capital’s reproduction were turned into opportunities to consolidate the power of capital onto new sites. In the process, laborers, migrants, and the poor were progressively excluded from what counted as the city of Bombay. These exclusions were not because city making failed, but rather because of the precise ways it succeeded at coding a particular spatial and social conception of the city, and later the economy, as legitimate. Together, the chapters of this book follow migrants through demographic changes as they travel across city and country, through shifting meanings of shelter and housing, through the distinction between agriculture and industry, through the emergence of techniques of boundary making such as mapping, censuses, and codification and redistribution of populations, and through the many contests over each of these that created practices of rule as ambitious, indeterminate, and ultimately incomplete projects. Chapter 1 shows how common calculative rationales meant to maximize use and reduce waste transformed native poor relief and land use patterns both in the city and in agriculture, ultimately excluding agriculture from the conception of the city of Bombay. Chapter 2 takes up the ongoing famines of the nineteenth century, seeing how they occasioned efforts to simultaneously localize agriculture and world cities by sorting the “floating population” and dispersing the productive powers of sur­ veillance to normalize and localize agricultural crises. Chapter 3 considers how shelter became housing, a technical feature of city management that

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coded legitimacy and illegitimacy and therefore stratified dwellings, demoting some under others. Chapter 4 follows the use of the global plague of 1896 as an opportunity to enlist numerous actors into projects of gov­ erning at a distance as through the built environment, rather than upon the body of the plague victim. Chapter 5 traces changes in the meanings of “public” and “state” as parastatal institutions such as the City of Bombay Improvement Trust proliferated governance in the city. By financing city improvement, finance was distinguished from usury, the former a legitimate activity of city life and the latter rendered a stubborn vestige. Together the chapters reveal how dispossessed migrants, by first being included and subsequently judiciously excluded, created not the “ungovernable” spaces of slums, but the city as a perpetual and distinct object of rule that would long depend on their exclusion.

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1 Land Calculative Rationales

The city of Bombay sits nestled amid a lush, fertile area of the Indian subcontinent known as the Konkan, on the western coast of India. In western India, interlinkages between diverse geographies—coastal zones, dry lands, lush regions, riverines, imperial capitals—have long been a part of Indian Ocean and Eurasian trade. The coastline and adjacent agricultural and ecological regions are just as much a part of the history of the city of Bombay as the city is a part of their histories. Across such regions, networks of cultivators, land-workers, migrants, intermediaries, financiers, debtors, tradesmen, and merchants produced and transported objects such as opium, wheat, indigo, tea, and cotton. It was human labor that made every such object move, including commodities, bullion, credit, and other forms of money. The power of capital was created by connecting agrarian, industrial, financial, and commercial functions together across regions such as the Karnatak, the Ghats, Maharashtra, Gujarat, north beyond Sindh, and south into Tamil Nadu. These flows did not depend on strict divisions between city and country. Instead, accumulation long depended on concentrations of power that, to be effective, had to be dispersed. The question of how to categorize the changes that colonial rule wrought upon the subcontinent has driven some of the most contentious debates in South Asian historiography, producing a voluminous literature. Identify­ ing the right category with which to describe precolonial modes of produc­ tion (feudalism or proto-industrialization) or the status of labor within the colonial economy (bonded or free) has divided scholars.1 While some see colonialism as primarily structured to extract commodities by reinforcing traditional production practices such as bondage and attachment to land, there are others who see labor and industry as incompletely transformed by an aborted process of colonial modernization that could perhaps have led to India’s development.2 Naturally, the city finds a place in these debates. When keen to challenge colonialism’s disruptions, scholars have insisted that India never urbanized. Since agriculture still makes up much of India’s economy, it can be tempting to suggest that India “de-urbanized” 27

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under colonialism and is still awaiting the development processes that automatically result in urbanization.3 At stake is the question of whether India transitioned to capitalist forms of development or not and if such forms came from the outside by colonialism or whether colonial capitalism was formed through a “global cross-cultural process of invention.”4 Addressing this impasse requires suspending metanarratives of change and asking not whether colonial India transitioned but how. In other words, precisely how in each particular location and each particular instance was the power of capital appealed to and constituted throughout India’s history. Historian Frank Perlin characterized early modern Eurasia as consisting of “rurban complexes” that were nodes of connection between agrarian and industrial functions, monetary production and credit, documentary practices and organizational forms that formed invisible cities or an “infrastructure of the common life” that were no less important than the cities we recognize now. Perlin was most concerned to correct a historiographical impulse that characterized Maratha rule over western India as “premodern.” Centralization and dispersal of such functions worked in tandem, and “invisible cities” formed an institutional continuity that dispersed and generalized movements of value across space that would motor the precolonial and colonial economy, most importantly limiting political controls and authorities from single capitals. Placing Bombay’s history within this longer subcontinental history of “rurban dynamics” helps overcome the notion of the city as a product of unilateral colonial fiat. Moreover, the “rurban nexus” argument challenges the claim that the city was an exogenous phenomenon without suggesting a simple continuity between colonial and precolonial spatial forms. Rather, following Perlin, we see that the colonial order’s international linkages gave it an unprecedented character within which older institutions were put together to create something new.5 Asking not whether but how India transitioned allows us to see that capital does not follow universal laws of motion, with results that we can know in advance. Capital’s power needs to be made through active labors that construct and support pathways of accumulation and, as such, this process has varied outcomes. For instance, it takes work to create the power of capital when laborers are not factory workers and where the disciplinary effects of the machine are less pervasive. It takes work to create the power of capital when limitations imposed by crises such as famine, plague, or cholera outbreaks repeatedly pose limits. It takes work to create the power of capital when indebtedness instead of a wage continually reproduces the

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power of capital. So by asking how the power of capital is constituted, we can focus our attention on what actually happened in the many geographies that coalesced in Bombay rather than debating what might have been. One of the most pervasive novelties in the nineteenth century was the use of a common calculative rationale to constitute the power of capital in diverse contexts, or in short to introduce economy into governance. This common calculative rationale by seeking to maximize the use of resources, most prominently land, put pressures on older practices of poor relief, older ways of using towns, and an older status of agriculture in the total production. These pressures resulted in the exclusion, demotion, or adverse incorporation of agriculture by the late nineteenth century. The final exclusion or adverse incorporation of agriculture is what created a more rigid distinction between the space of the city and the space of the country. This common calculative rationale guided decisions with regard to projects of poor relief where governors had to adjudicate between charity and economy, animated an older spatial ordering practice that preceded town planning before it was codified as a science, and ushered in agricultural improvements that resulted in agriculture’s eventual demotion within Bombay. Ultimately, this calculative rationale inaugurated the labors of city making that later demarcated Bombay as a city. Charity versus Economy Several instances of poor relief from the 1830s show how practices were being transformed by calculative rationales. In response to various circumstances, petitioners to the East India Company requested land, money, or institutional powers to establish charities and poor relief funds. In such cases, a calculative rationale determined whether company officials granted these rights or not. The guiding logic was to discourage reciprocity and charity and encourage industriousness. Questions over the legitimacy of poor relief funds were adjudicated through hypothetical and anticipatory calculations. The company became mired in numerous instances of poor relief, for example, during famines large and small, while presiding over paternalistic logics in “customs of the country,” during grain shortages within company towns, and when asked to endorse or deny acts of charity by local charitable institutions. Each of these required figuring out the ­correct balance between charity and economy. Debates and discussions at such times hinged on whether a “class of dependents” was being created or

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averted and how best to incentivize inhabitants to optimize resources rather than accept charity. Company officials understood charity as a nonreciprocal gift and economy as the rightful or maximal use of resources. A changing rationale of poor relief under East India Company and Crown oversight is evident in each of the following cases from Delhi, Lucknow, and Madras, in the 1830s, in which native inhabitants attempted to set up institutions for poor relief. They sought permission from officials for use of money, land, or other resources such as a financial deed or for funds for expenses, but in each case the company’s rationale differed from what the natives understood poor relief to mean. In each case, the company justified assistance only after its own criteria had been met, such as financial calculations and speculations on projected gains. In each case, striking the right balance between charity and economy as understood by company officials was crucial, where charity was a nonreciprocal gift and economy consisted of efficiency or the rightful or best use of resources. The first, and simplest, of these cases was in 1831, when a local Delhi resident, Delsukh Roy, asked for rights to a plot in Delhi in order to provide a dharamshala (described as “for the reception and suitable accommodation of poor travelers and strangers”). The land value was checked, and when it was deemed low enough through a calculation of what else it could have been used for, Delsukh Roy was given permission to build the dharamshala. The Resident at Delhi wrote about a request for a plot of land by a native named Delsukh Roy, the “Muhafiz Daftar” of the commissioner at Delhi, for the building of a dharamshala. He affirmed that there were no “objection[s] to the grant in question” and that the ground’s value “d[id] not appear to be considerable.”6 Officials assessed the potential revenue gains and losses on this plot of land. In the second case, Nasir ud-din Haider, the king of Oudh from 1827 to 1837, wanted to secure a poor relief fund—a public charity—for the residents of Lucknow. To do so, he attempted to cajole the East India Company official, “the Resident at Lucknow,” with the gift of a shawl while the latter was suffering from rheumatism. The Resident reminded him that such gifting was now discouraged and so he could not accept the shawl, but the king countered that had he meant to lavish the Resident with a gift, he would have brought more than a simple shawl, and so he should just accept it. The king of Oudh sought permission from the governor-general and the East India Company to establish a charity fund “in perpetuity” by depositing Rs. 3 lakhs (1 lakh equals Rs. 100,000) in the Bengal Treasury, which would pay out interest of 4 percent annually, providing Rs. 1,000 monthly to the poor.

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A series of letters between the Resident of Lucknow and the governor-general and also a translated copy of a letter from the king of Oudh revealed that this was a changing of custom, where instead of merely distributing to the poor money that was not from an interest-bearing fund, the interest on a government bank deposit would be distributed. The king came up with various justifications that suggest accommodation on his part of the new discouragement of gifts and clever ways to work around it. The king was quite anxious to begin this fund, pointing to a similar fund in Calcutta, a charity hospital in Lucknow, and a distinction between the injunction on gift-giving among local rulers and East India Company officials (which was forbidden) and distributions to the poor through interest-bearing funds. The most interesting parts of these letters are the justifications for charity and how different the company’s rationale was from the king of Oudh’s. The Resident at Lucknow, John Low, argued in one letter: It would be a subject of real regret were the present most favourable oppor­tunity to be let slip of guaranteeing for ever these three lacs [sic] of Rupees which Providence seems to intend as a provision for the poor and the fear is that if His Majesty’s request, now made, be not complied with, the money may be for ever lost, and instead of remaining applicable for such a benevolent purpose be expended in extravagance when the crores of Rupees [that are] the remains of Saadat Allee hoards now in the King’s Treasury are considered [1 crore is Rs. 10 million] these 3 lacs would never be missed. . . . [T]he measure will also have the advantage of enabling Government to pay off 3 Lacs of the 5 Percent loan with these 3 Lacs at 4 Percent.7

This was indeed a very clever justification, as one bank deposit could pay off another loan at a higher percentage (so that 1 percent annually would be gained). The poor relief fund was also justified by the opportunity cost of the king’s wealth being spent in wasteful and extravagant ways instead, and so the company’s perpetual fear of the decadent habits of local kings would be avoided. The intra-company justification used notions of “economy,” recognizing that the interest rate was more favorable and would lock up some of the king of Oudh’s treasury in more useful endeavors than the wasteful decadence that company officials always suspected such kings were prone to. Eventually, a deed was issued guaranteeing this fund in perpetuity. In contrast, the letter from the king of Oudh provided an entirely different logic for why he wanted to create this fund. In a letter translated and included

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in this set of correspondence, a portion stated, “In the appointment of liberal kings and Governors, the great creator who is the king of kings, whose name be glorified had in view, that they should be his representatives upon earth, in imparting benefits to his creatures such is always my desire and more especially am I anxious for the comfort and relief of the poor and infirm.” In the final deed that established this charity fund, which was signed by both the king and company officials, the language of cost-benefit calculation was removed, and it began, Seeing that deeds of charity and mercy are by the King of Kings the great creator of all things commanded to be done of all men and that particularly from Kings and Governors who are distinguished that among men and intrusted by providence with wealth and riches and with ample means whereby to provide for the protection necessities and comforts of God’s people does in all seemly providence look for deeds of benevolence and charity and further seeing that the vanities of life are fading and perish in the using and leave no trace behind and it is not only becoming and proper but gratifying to the best feelings of the mind to leave a Memorial behind agreeably to the saying that it is better for a man to leave a name behind him, than a Golden Palace. His Majesty the King of Oude . . . remembering the Commands of the King of Kings to feed the hungry to clothe the naked and to comfort the afflicted does of the Treasures which providence has bestowed on him most freely and with unfeigned pleasure determine to endow a Charity which shall relieve the poor of his Capital the City of Lucknow now and through future generations and remain a remembrance of his name and of his reign in after ages.8

In the formal deed, much of the rationale of the king of Oudh was incorporated by the company’s appealing to local customs and beliefs, a rationale the company used to justify its actions to its exteriors. Both rationales were appropriate; one was an internal discussion that prioritized the maximal utility of resources, while the other was an external rationale that demonstrated a respect for local customs.9 The most striking departure was the making of this charity fund through a government debt instrument rather than simple almsgiving, which was now discouraged. A similar rationale for poor relief prevailed in the third case, where during the famine of 1833 charitable work was carried out by a civil institution, the Monegar Choultry, in Madras. The choultry was a charitable rest house, run by several Tamil elites along with company officials. The

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main districts affected by the famines in 1833 were Chitoor, Nellore, and Gun­toor. One account mentions that during the week of February 8–16, 1833, 1,869 “old and infirm men and women,” 24 blind men, and 9,693 healthy men, women, and children (children made up 4,207 of these) were present at the choultry. By June 1833, 30,000 people were fed daily at the choultry. The set of correspondence between officials regarding this choultry is remarkable in its detail. When migrants arrived from the villages, those who were “capable of working” were identified and distinguished from those who were not, a practice comparable to the long tradition of workhouses in England, where the “idle poor, industrious poor, and impotent poor” were distinguished from one another.10 Some of the “charitable work” included putting “paupers” to work on projects such as cleaning ditches, public road repair, and building activities of various kinds. There are accounts of famished migrants dying on their way to the choultry and discussions of requests to have their bodies transferred. There are also accounts of migrants being housed in the choultry or in “temporary Pandals erected outside” (a pandal is a temporary structure often used in religious festivals) and adjoining sheds. The East India Company had shacks and temporary shelters built to house inhabitants. Questions about how the paupers should be fed and paid reveal the kinds of financial calculations and comparisons that drove these decisions. Considerations included fluctuations in the cost of grains, the injunction of some castes against accepting cooked rice, and the currency used to remunerate workers. Most working migrants were paid in fanams, a currency that was going out of circulation and was difficult to exchange. Copper, too, was sometimes used to pay migrants. The superintendent of public roads com­ plained of losing a significant amount in converting rupees into fanams in order to pay the migrants. Concerns were raised that some migrants “stray about the Town begging which might be put a stop to by the superintendent of Police directing the Peons of that department to send any beggars found on the streets of Black Town and elsewhere to the Depot near the Choultry.” Another official compared the crisis with a prior famine in 1824: “[Migrants] were accustomed to resort, in great numbers, to the houses of opulent natives in Madras, where they obtained another meal. It is pretty well known that rich natives are not now so abundant in Madras as they were at that time and that if the present poor were to depend in any considerable degree for support upon such contingencies as these they would probably starve in great numbers.”11

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Officials were concerned with whether it would cost more to employ these paupers than officials would gain, since they could employ coolies experienced at construction work to fix the roads, rather than paupers with no experience who must be trained. The migrants often did not use materials correctly, so that even their misused materials were wasted and could not be put to better use. One letter expressed frustration over calculations of remuneration on all sides when some coolies and migrants refused to work for low wages, finding other means of subsistence more worthy: To the Visiting Member [of] Mozegar Choultry Sir, I have the honor to inform you that out of the 12 men and 12 women ­coolies placed at my disposal, for work, by the Committee for the Management of the Mozegar Choultry, on Saturday last, the 2.00 instant, only 3 men and 4 women, whose names are noted in the Margin [Men: Juggiah, Shallanpodas, Culladoo; Women: Sethy, Paupey, Uckey, Pooly], made their appearance the next day, and when they came, they refused to work, saying the labour was too severe, and that they preferred begging by which means they could obtain a much better subsistence. I should also mention that Iyagadoo, one of the 12 men, furnished on Saturday the 2.00 Instant, absented himself before 10 AM on that day, and did not return. Madras, Inspectors Office, 4th March 1833. Signed M. Leggall, Inspector of Streets and Roads at Madras.12

Subsequent discussions within this choultry were about efficiencies, such as whether, given the fluctuating cost of food, it could be supplied to the paupers; why the number of paupers had escalated dramatically; and why many who could work did not want to and preferred begging instead. There were later complaints that the choultry had become a place of slavery, and so famine victims were avoiding it; yet famished migrants were still arriving, and it was increasingly difficult to maintain poor relief while attempting to derive value from the poor. Striking the right balance between charity and economy was a guiding principle of action and oversight by the East India Company officials over the native choultry. At one point, it was suggested that such relief works should have been in the villages rather than in the city, so that at times of scarcity people would not have to come to the city at all and could resume cultivation as soon as it was possible again. As the choultry increasingly

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functioned toward capacity, many measures were sought to meet the needs, including a recommendation “that one or more temporary depots for the starving poor may be constructed upon the plan adopted in 1824”—but without providing so much food or shelter that it would induce them to stay forever, and not so little that contagious diseases and other kinds of social disorder would ensue.13 Company officials established a committee to inquire into what they perceived as excessively charitable and inefficient practices of native men who were affiliated with the management of the choultry and often fed the starving people. They were suspected of feeding the poor too much. Rather than figuring out, through close observation, measurement, and calculation, the least amount of food an indigent migrant would need to not become ill but not be enticed to become a permanent dependent, native men offered migrants one meal a day, permitting them “to eat as much as they please.” Even taking this into account, the committee found that “the food now supplied to the poor is only barely adequate to support life and by no means sufficient to form any inducement to them to remain in Madras one instant longer than they can avoid.”14 Whereas the choultry estimated that it cost Rs. 1.75 to feed one person per month, the native men were expending Rs. 2.50. Nonetheless, it was determined of the native men: “Upon the whole the committee are of an opinion that any diminution of the present allowance of food would be prejudicial to the health of these poor people, and might probably engender diseases amongst them, from which they are now comparatively free, under these impressions they cannot recommend any alteration in the quantity of food given, and they trust that the explana­ tion now offered will satisfy the Public that its liberality is appropriated with every proper regard to economy, whilst they will show the cause of the expenses being larger now than they were 9 years ago.”15 The question of the charity and liberality of the choultry thus had to be balanced with concerns of “economy,” or the best use of resources. These three cases show a shifting of rationalities toward poor relief, resource distribution, and the problems of hunger and starvation in times of famine. Together they suggest a new logic of poverty management, whereby rather than one’s reputation, posterity, and legitimacy in the eyes of subjects and communities, other more technical and abstract measures become the barometer of intervention. Calculations of how much food a person needed to not become ill, idealizations of what constituted productivity for particular kinds of bodies, valuations of land according to kinds of uses, and elimination of “waste” from state coffers to make government

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efficient were all concerns. While the rationales of company officials were distinguished from the rationales of native aspirants to charity, prevailing logics and rationales did not map neatly onto a binary between colonizers and colonized. There were numerous examples of revenue-maximizing natives who had no interest in charity and sought to become partners in governance.16 Furthermore, by the end of the century, needing to justify government intervention became quite prevalent as the colonial state installed a whole host of laws and injunctions demanding that such a rationale be used. Older institutions of poverty relief were being dismantled, as were traditional entitlements over housing under new rationales. Dispossession and the Tow n Spatial ordering projects in Bombay demanded dispossessions of residents, and even these were undertaken through calculative rationales. The “town of Bombay” had first been protected through fortifications by the East India Company in 1668. The building of the fort in Bombay by the East India Company was meant to secure spaces of commerce from infringement by Sidis, Marathas, and other Europeans, such as the Portuguese or French, and three gates allowed entry, the Apollo, Church, and Bazaar Gates. To pay for defense, taxes were collected. In 1718, a quitrent or tax paid in cash was demanded in place of obligatory military service by tenants. To avoid the tax, some started constructing houses outside of fort walls. Inside the walls, a dual legal system of English law over disputes and probate and “principles of common right” was in effect. Upon the rising threat of the Marathas in the eighteenth century, Bombay’s merchants demanded that a moat be dug around the fort walls in 1739 to protect against the Marathas’ growing power. The moat was funded in part by Bombay’s leading merchants, who wrote a letter demanding that the wall be further fortified, to be paid for by their proposal: “We . . . beg leave to propose that a duty of one percent be laid and collected until the amount of thirty thousand rupees be raised which is as much as we can offer, considering the present decay of trade and the want of substantial merchants.”17 It had become important to native merchants to secure the space for commerce. Slowly, the fort walls were expanded over the decades to incorporate more space, part of long-standing attempts at opening up the town. Once some of the walls came down—of which remnants still remain—securing the town as a space of commerce was still necessary through new kinds of defortification and demarcation practices.

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Both the East India Company’s corporate-bureaucratic-mercantile system and the subsequent and nominal laissez-faire imperial system used similar rationales of improvement-dispossession to secure the revenues from commerce. To secure commerce, merchants, traders, laborers, coolies, and cultivators were needed to make value. Just to entice settlers, regulations were slackened and incentives were provided to open up the town. The company’s Court of Directors said in 1755: “As it is our earnest desire that as many people as possible, especially those of circumstance, be encouraged to settle at Bombay, we strongly recommend it to you to use the most prudent, equitable, and encouraging methods for that purpose. . . . [A]s long as it incommodes not the defense of the place, you suffer newcomers to build houses wherever it shall be convenient to them; that they have free liberty to build and repair their own ships themselves . . . with materials they want at the rates and prices allowed to Europeans.”18 Bombay would be opened up to particular kinds of circulation, with inhabitants having “free liberty” as long as it did not interfere with the defense of the fort. Improvements required disassembling older forms of securities and entitlements. These forms of dispossession occurred by force, by changing the terms of settlement to encourage or discourage particular groups of people, or by delegitimizing acts of charity. Each was justified rhetorically through potential revenues that prioritized improvements to enhance the full productive and monetary potential of land, water, ports, and harbors. This distinguished company officials’ efforts from older attempts at dispossession, which likely happened when Akbar moved his capital from Agra to Lahore in the sixteenth century, when Shah Jahan founded Shahjaha­ nabad in the seventeenth century, or, even earlier, when Vijayanagar was founded in the fourteenth century. The rationales for intervention or nonintervention shifted from paternalism and the need to gain legitimacy to a new logic of crisis management whereby, rather than a government’s legitimacy in the eyes of subjects, other more technical and abstract measures assessed “improvement.” In working these out through the first half of the nineteenth century, it became clear that better methods and rationales were needed to demarcate “the town,” a challenging task in a colonial environment where many of the most prominent landholders were native elites. Many acts of dispossession, whether of customary rights or simple access to land or waterways, were rhetorically justified and rationalized on monetary and calculative grounds. In doing so, commodification interrupted practices of shelter and changed the dynamics of poor relief during times of

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distress. Before, access to shelter was a kind of “nested entitlement,” afforded to cultivators and workers in exchange for their labor on productive estates; this was the way shelter was negotiated before capitalist regimes of dispossession, alienation, and privatization made land, labor, and money harder to come by, resulting in numerous crises of reproduction. Shifting solutions to a famine in 1803–4 that resulted in grain shortages in the town of Bombay demonstrate the emergence of these new rationales. The grain shortage was initially resolved by banning all exports of grains from the town. When this attracted migrants into town for relief, the ban was removed to prevent famished vagrants and beggars from coming to Bombay. Other methods of management included price controls, rations, purchasing and transferring grains from Surat in covert ways so as not to encourage grain sellers to hoard and garner higher prices, and purchasing from private European grain firms for distribution. Relief work was also offered initially, rice was distributed to the hungry, and temporary shelters were set up. But these measures were questioned so as to ensure motivation to work and not create dependents. Local Parsis and Banias offered help too, once suggesting that cooked rather than uncooked rice be distributed, as the famished had no fuel for cooking. Migrants came in on boats and by crossing between the islands at low tide, and although guards were posted to keep them out, still many got in. Between 1780 and 1812, the population of Bombay increased from 115,000 to 235,000, of which 20,000 were thought to be famine refugees. This shifting set of responses was very different than in the later famine of 1812, where nothing was done to control the avail­ ability of grains for the hungry. In 1812 the governor, Evan Nepean, “did not con­sider it ‘advisable to take any step whatever to obstruct the free operations of mercantile speculations in respect to grain.’”19 Again, striking a right balance between charity and economy was crucial, indeed a guiding principle of action and oversight by East India Company officials, but it also offered up the problem of clearly demarcating a “town.” As they shifted from first banning exports of grain to encouraging it, it became clear that “a town” was a place not where the poor, the infirm, and vagrants could roam or pass through but rather where other more enterprising peoples such as men of capital engaged in commerce. Such a discourse was evident in discussions over the Monegar Choultry too, in Madras in the 1830s. During the southern famines in the 1830s, when relief works, temporary shelter, and the choultry were set up, officials eventually came to mourn that such relief works should have been established in the villages themselves rather than in Madras, so that at time of scarcity people would

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not have to come into the town. Instead, they would have been able to resume cultivation as soon as it was possible again and keep the nuisance of themselves out of town borders. Throughout, it had to be clear that not so much food or shelter was being provided within the town boundaries that it would induce them to stay forever, but not so little that contagious diseases and other kinds of social disorder would ensue. This echoed similar concerns expressed in Bombay during famines in the early 1800s, where grains were exported to avoid vagrants coming into town. In both cases, figuring out exactly which elements ought to be within town borders and which not and how to ensure the right kind of circulation and discourage the wrong kind was crucial. The East India Company wanted to secure itself in the fort area of the Town and Island of Bombay by making sure that the right kinds of native inhabitants were induced to reside there and not others. So company officials removed houses, dispossessed landholders, and evicted porters and beggars from the area except those whom they needed to facilitate their own security and comfort, and sometimes they even removed shops that had become a “nuisance.” They worked out precise rules of compensation for proprietors they dispossessed, sometimes giving permission for natives to build houses in any way they liked on the promise that whenever the company needed the house or land, the owner would forgo compensation, as happened to numerous others. Securing the fort for themselves and their aims proved a messy operation full of opposition and protest from native inhabitants. Inhabitants submitted numerous petitions protesting the unfair compensation for their coconut trees and imploring company officials to provide due compensation for the removal of their houses. They especially contested that any value of money could make up for proprietors who had oarts, or garden lands, taken. These petitions were from the “castle” area, where the fort started and where the East India Company wanted to remove oarts to convert agrarian space to town space; land was to be used for dwelling and commerce. So the company engineers dispossessed the inhabitants they did not want and compensated desirable others with land in the fort. They tried to remove “indigents” and “hamals” (likely porters) and replace them with wealthier native townspeople. A colonial civil servant, Stephen Meredyth Edwardes, reconstructed such events using the East India Company’s records: At a Consultation of the 18th February 1771, the Board read the following report from the paymaster of the new fortifications acquainting the Board that the Principal Engineer represents it necessary that the small houses at

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present occupied by hamals and other indigent people between the Church and Bazar Gates should be removed. To this the Board agree. The Board further order that the ground so cleared be allotted to the proprietors of the larger houses which from being too near the ramparts are under orders to be pulled down. As in the present want of space no cocoanut plantations ought to be permitted within the town, it is further agreed that the private proprietors of oarts be obliged either to let them out for house building or to give them up to the Company on their valuation.20

To secure houses for themselves, company officials sometimes induced native householders to sell them their houses. Finding there was not enough land within the “town walls for Europeans to build” in 1772, they disallowed homeowners to undertake repairs, hoping this would entice them to sell to Europeans. They also removed shops that had become a nuisance and banned houses built of stone and chunam, or cement or plaster.21 In sum, the right kinds of inhabitants were sought, many of whom were “intermediate entities,” those situated between “the revenue-based state and the mass of agrarian society,” or a regional gentry. These included zamindars, merchant communities, and literate men who could facilitate trade during times of political transition.22 Rather than relying on reputation, posterity, and legitimacy in the eyes of subjects and communities, in this new logic of crisis management other more technical and abstract measures were used to secure the town as a place of commerce. The perfect mixture of commercial and agricultural actors, coolies and porters, and land for building versus land for cultivating was sought. Some migrants were eventually allowed, such as when natives were needed to man the battalions. Prevailing logics and rationales did not map neatly onto a binary between colonizers and colonized. There were in the early 1800s numerous examples of improving natives who had no interest in charity and paternalism, while there were also cases of Europeans more concerned with charity than economy. But increasingly, one needed to justify one’s actions on calculative grounds alone. Improvements justified dispossessions, and the problem of demarcating the town for securing revenues and control became central. The question of property in housing also entailed justifying dispossessions of various kinds and the eventual dominance of private property in the town over other forms of tenures. In 1779, the company granted itself the right “to reserve in our hands all lands or villages whose leases might fall either by insolvency of the Farmers or other casualties in order to allot

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them upon easy terms to new settlers.” This decision came from company officials in Bombay, who announced it to the government in Calcutta. Insolvency had become so widespread that when searching for the causes of debt, local officials in Salsette acknowledged that they had overassessed numerous villages. Land policy was established in the local setting, and so this was followed by a brief period of relief of debt. The policy of letting out land in perpetuity was discouraged to avoid lands becoming “an incitement to needy adventures,” which would “thereby place the tenants on the footing of Zamindars.”23 Act XXVIII of 1839, according to historian Mariam Dossal, essentially “accorded legal status to the existence of private property in Bombay.” Attempts were made to convert the multiple forms of land tenures that existed throughout Bombay and Salsette into private property, and some were converted earlier than others. Every collector acknowledged that acquiring “foras lands,” that is, lands at a very low rent on ground used for cultivation, would be a great boon to building civic infrastructure and public works projects, but they could not acquire them. Instead, they increased rents on foras lands and thereby encouraged sales so that then the lands would be converted into freehold, essentially private property.24 To encourage improvement, the company even paid for several families’ transport from the hinterland to the islands. One account cites the case of a neighborhood where people requested financial assistance to transfer fifty families and their cattle. As part of the company’s expenditures, 208 persons were transferred to the islands as future cultivators. The request was heeded and this incident was praised. Many other cases like this would have been encouraged and carried out; however, the Maratha government at Pune took objection, and the company had to stop offering assistance to transfer cultivators.25 Company officials met with both successes and failures in their attempts to increase revenue, and when they failed, the persistent poverty of the cultivating classes was blamed. The cultivating classes, it was argued, could never make capital investments in the land and were thus resigned to toil for minimal returns. As a solution, capital from Parsis and landholders was sought to encourage land improvements alongside cultivators. In a letter to Bombay in 1807, officials were told: “We direct that you hold out such encouragements as may induce persons from Bombay and the adjacent County to settle at Salsette, by which means and under the Government of mild and equal laws, the settlers enjoying the benefit of protection of person and property, both the agriculture and commerce of the Island may be promoted, and we further direct you to revise the present Settlement for the

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Land Rents, and if it shall appear that the Land is over assessed; a new Settlement be concluded with the Proprietors or Renters on more moderate terms.”26 Thus, the revenue from both cultivation and trade had to be facilitated. Improvements were meant to liberate the full potential of the natural resource of land, and company officials saw themselves as liberators of an as yet unharnessed natural bounty. The inhabitants of both Bombay and Sal­ sette, brought within the ambit of Bombay’s imperatives, became enmeshed in the entire potential of the land to produce revenues. Decades later, official colonial histories of the city remarked in hindsight about the company period that the “extension of the cultivated area . . . seems to have been one of the chief objects of the Company’s policy.”27 Multiple forms of land tenure existed on Bombay island from Portuguese rule, the sultan of Gujarat, and other premodern dynasties such as the Satavahana, Chalukya, Rashtrakuta, and Shilhara.28 The company claimed that prior Portuguese forms of land tenure had left property in the hands of Jesuits and were dismantled by the Marathas; thus, through acquisition of the island, they could be brought into use rather than left to waste.29 Everything from the company’s revenue system to the settlement of the space was meant to liberate inhabitants from the presumed vicious social systems of exploitation exerted by previous rulers, who, according to company officials, had only perpetuated poverty in the past, an important aspect of company rhetoric and self-imagination. In a history of land revenue in the Bombay Presidency written in 1892, in a chapter about Surat and instructions the company issued in 1826 on leases and revenues in villages, one rule said of ryots: “Ryots were to be at liberty to leave any village, subject to the ordinary custom as to ownership of houses and lands being relinquished.”30 Given such statements, we can infer that the custom was that if one participated in a productive network, “houses and lands” were a part of a bundle of customary entitlements having to do with one’s social location in a hierarchy of production. But eventually the company had to resolve the question about whether the government or the tenants owned the houses. The “custom of the country” was, according to the historian, that the government in many villages not under direct state management upheld their rights in property. So it logically followed that the company should hold the rights in the property of housing. However, the company decided against this and relinquished its own proprietary claim. Upon learning of this decision, the collector at Surat protested “on the grounds that it would be useless to surrender the houses to the tenants for their creditors immediately to seize, and that it

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was well to have houses which could be given to immigrants from foreign territory. On this the issue of the proclamation was suspended.”31 On the fear that moneylenders would become homeowners, the company maintained the ultimate right to the property in houses, free to provide such housing to migrants if the company wanted. Housing thus had remained a nested right related to productivity on the land under direct company-state control. When oarts made up of coconut groves were cleared and cultivators dispossessed of productive land, petitioners came forth requesting that they be compensated with oarts rather than their full value in cash.32 The price of coconuts was rising, thus the cash value the company officials were offering to pay for clearing the oarts was of a previous date and therefore of a lesser value. Oart owners wanted the full value of their property as measured by contemporary assessments, not dated ones, and this was best accomplished by giving oarts for oarts. Another type of compensation was to give land when land was taken. In a letter dated January 29, 1770, an official wrote: “Enclosed your Honour will receive account valuation of sundry houses within the town wall represented by Colonels Campbell and Keating as necessary to be removed. All such as are to the westward of the Bazar Gate, the principal engineer requests may accordingly at once be removed; the removal of those to the eastward may, he apprehends, be deferred till next season. Agreed that Rs. 9132-1-26, the value of the westward houses, be made good to the proprietors and ground be allowed them on which to rebuild their houses.”33 Thus, cash for the value of the houses combined with land made up for the displacements. In such acts, both the inhabitants of Bombay and East India Company officials and traders became embroiled in the entire potential of the land, water, and transport routes, to produce revenues. All revenues could and would ultimately be traced to their roots in the soil and how the land was utilized. If commerce was possible at all, it was precisely because of the intensification of agriculture. By the mid-nineteenth century, Bombay was an island of mixed-use lands with a variety of activities occurring within its borders, that is, everything from cultivation to commerce. In company records, the Koli, the caste reified as aboriginal fisherfolk, only rarely appeared as aboriginals, and that, too, much later. Instead, Bhandaris (the caste of toddy dealers and cultivators), cunbees (cultivators), and various merchants and farmers along with Kolis were identified as inhabitants of the islands, all of whom together became mired in new rationales.

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Once the Crown seized control over the Indian colony after the mutiny in 1857, mercantilism gave way to the doctrine of free trade, a transition that paralleled the rise of the governance of Bombay “as a city.” Famines took many lives in western and southern India again in the 1870s, by which time the virtues of laissez-faire were unapologetically championed. Accompanied by population growth throughout colonial India, this intensely competitive environment meant that a large portion of mobile and settled peasants, laborers, and petty tradesmen had to find ways to negotiate their new environs by undertaking seasonal and circular migrations into growing centers of commerce and industry such as Bombay, where they could supplement harvest seasons in their villages with service and industrial work. By 1880, Bombay had already become the second-largest town of the British Empire, just behind London; it was the densest town and was fast becoming the commercial capital of the British Raj. Such circular migrations mitigated the crisis of reproduction in agriculture but also caused more intense social stratification among migrants. A disproportionately celebrated few of these migrants managed to become intermediaries or even industrialists in the international colonial commodity system. For the remainder, the vast majority of this now surviving population, circular migration entailed a descent down the social ladder and generations of precarity. Excluding Agriculture Merchants and industrialists maintained spheres of influence in both the city and the country in order to secure labor, commodities, and natural resources for their ambitions. Being able to shift functions and even locations was important, and so investments in production were kept to a minimum in the city and the country, and what was the hinterland of Bombay shifted throughout history. Calculations about actual and potential revenue were used to approach desired finalities in agricultural production, where projects of “improvement” characterized land use. Starting before the company period and continuing throughout, a steady increase in demand for revenue not in kind but in money had the effect of generalizing various media as money, including gold, silver, copper, and cowries. These forced producers into markets, justifying further intrusion of moneylenders and merchants into production processes, and exaggerated the conditions for risk and precarity. Such new logics eventually demoted or adversely incorporated agriculture to make the power of capital and excised the reciprocal

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dynamics between Bombay and its shifting hinterlands from the conception of the city. Agriculture never disappeared as a factor in Bombay’s life, but came to be designated as outside of it. Initially, the East India Company had used Bombay for both commerce and cultivation to increase wealth and revenues and not just as a port. The company’s agrarian policies were carried through by merchant communities such as Parsis, Khojas, Gujaratis, and other Banias, who had risen to prominence in the western Indian Ocean trade even before the company’s arrival. Shifting their operations from Surat to Bombay, these merchants negotiated a changing political economy of land, labor, and shelter. Seasonal migrants and mobile merchants, peasants, laborers, and money-changers across western India brought Bombay into their orbits of migration, socially connecting what had been joined through land reclamations the seven islands (map 4) of Bombay into the “Town and Island of Bombay.” Some dominant trends included increasing pressures to engage in cash cropping in goods such as cotton and wheat, demographic pressures on land, new instruments of currency and finance, increased connections between distant markets, and competitive pressures to participate in commodity markets whether one was directly involved in the commercialization process or not. In the city’s vicinities, agrarian products of all kinds were manufactured into more complex commodities by a hierarchy of laborers who required tools, capital, information, and ideas to sell end products to merchants, creditors, and industrialists. Merchants and creditors in turn invested in and took up agricultural experiments and cultivation in adjacent regions, shifting hinterlands, and contributed to the commercialization and commodification of agriculture in the subcontinent. Those who sought immediate access to distant trade routes that earned merchants’ profits and coolies’ livelihoods would relocate to Bombay to maintain control over their commercial ventures and acquire the social capital necessary to succeed. Bombay became the main port city in western India for shipping items across the oceans into Southeast Asia, the South China Sea ports, the Middle East, western Europe, and beyond into the New World. The emergence of Bombay as a central node of power was a product of contingent labors, including experiments with projects of improvement. Famines killed tens of thousands of cultivators in the Bengal region in the 1770s, wiping out one-third of Bengal’s population, and in southern and western India in the 1830s, causing ebbs and flows of migration into towns such as Madras, Calcutta, and Bombay for relief. Smaller famines also

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M ap 4. Island of Bombay. The seven original islands of Bombay before land ­reclamation joined them: I. Colaba; II. Little Colaba / Old Woman’s Island; III. Bombay; IV. Mazagaon; V. Parell; VI. Mahim; and VII. Worli. Edwardes, Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island, vol. 2, 7.

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caused times of shortage in Bombay, especially in 1803.34 The East India Company responded to the famines by amending its experiments with land tenure policies as a way to test debates among political economists and thinkers such as Thomas Mun, John Locke, Adam Smith, David Ricardo, and Thomas Malthus. Mun, for example, who lived from 1571 to 1641, was the director of the East India Company in 1615 and was also the mercantilist whom Smith had in mind when he critiqued the company’s monopoly. Mun defended the East India Company’s actions publicly in A Discourse of Trade from England unto the East-Indies from charges that the India trade was reducing and not increasing England’s wealth. Such thought influenced people like Henry Maine, who served on the India Council and produced rationales of colonial exceptionalism that guided policy well into the twentieth century.35 Such thinkers used experiments in improvements and colonial India’s development as a laboratory or evidentiary basis for working out their views. Topography was one of the earliest sciences that served the task of improvement in colonial India. It worked to make empirical and quantifiable the relation between men and things in different regions. Topography entailed making maps and undertaking land surveys. In Bombay and Salsette, this started at least by the 1780s. For example, according to a survey conducted by William Tate in 1827, Salsette, with a population of 53,255, was one island at low tide and thirteen islands at high tide.36 Salsette was acquired in 1774 from the Marathas, lost in negotiations with Madhav Rao, and acquired again during the second Anglo-Maratha war of 1802–3. Company officials struggled to regularize revenue from the islands because of numerous petitioners and evaders who often contested the terms of collection. Over the decades, Salsette became informally incorporated into Bombay, even if not formally, first through migration and reciprocal dynamics between it and Bombay and then through suggestions that it be subject to the Town Planning Act of Bombay in the early 1900s.37 It was not fully amalgamated into the governance of the city of Bombay, even though earlier plans for its incorporation had been suggested. Tate was the junior colleague of Thomas Dickinson, and both conducted some of the earliest and most lauded comprehensive topographical surveys in colonial India of Salsette and Bombay, respectively. Dickinson’s survey was used as a standard long afterward and was a landmark in the scientific practice of cataloging relations between “men and things,” by recording landholdings and soil types and projecting revenues based on empirical information so as to balance

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the wealth encouraged by proper alignments of policy against the wealth discouraged by taxation. In a series of letters exchanged between officials residing in Bombay to the government in Calcutta and London regarding the acquisition of S­ alsette, the island was offered as a way to make up for losses the company expended to maintain defenses for officials residing in Salsette. Company officials in Calcutta discouraged the acquisition of Salsette Island by force, preferring a treaty with Peshwa Ragobah. But only those in Salsette had the privilege of immediate knowledge and were thus left to make the decision themselves. Officials in Bombay suggested policies that would increase revenues to the Calcutta government. Therefore, the island was eventually taken by force and then a treaty was signed.38 On December 30, 1774, officials noted the potential for agrarian revenue: The Island of Salsette, upon a mean computation, is capable of producing, as we are assured, twenty seven thousand Morahs of Batty provided there is no want of labourers to till and cultivate the extent of land, which it has been, in late years, liable to, from the oppression and exactions of the Portuguese Government, the gross proceeds of which, at the rate of 14 Rs. per Morah (being the common price), will amount to 378,000 Rs., or 47,250 £ Stg, exclusive of several sorts of fruits and grain produced in great abundance from the fertility of its soil, the profits whereon we may reasonably suppose would be sufficient to defray the expense of tillage and manuring the Batty-Grounds; and the Forts already built upon it, with a very small addition and proper repairs, would be sufficient to maintain a quiet possession against any attempts of any Enemies we might have occasion to dread.39

Company officials distinguished themselves from previous governments, Portugal’s in this case, casting themselves as the only ones who could actualize the full capability of the island’s soil. The only obstacle company officials perceived was the potential shortage of laborers to cultivate the land; otherwise, their goal was to produce revenues on the island to their full potential by making use of all the natural resources at their disposal. White batty, coconuts, other forms of rice, and occasionally sugar, tobacco, and indigo were cultivated in the northern parts of Bombay, including in “Dharavee,” the area that resulted in the second-highest cash revenues in the year 1777, second to Mallar.40 By encouraging settlers such as cunbees (cultivators), merchants, and landholders, fallow lands would be

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brought into cultivation. “The rich Merchants and other Inhabitants of the neighbouring Governments, finding their objections cease, to a removal to [a] narrow barren Island, like ours, would be invited to make Settlements under our Government, when we should once be in possession of the Island of Salsette, the Merchants of Surat, in particular, having often expressed such a disposition; and such a situation would put us in a condition to be feared and respected by all our Neighbors, and greatly increase the credit of our Nation in these parts.”41 The Parsis of Surat were recruited for their capital, and several public notices were issued about rent and lease structures meant to entice settlers to Salsette. Additionally, all duties on the trade in fish were abolished to remove the source of oppression on those people engaged in fishing.42 Such incentives would encourage population growth and bring lands out of waste. Revenues were collected in both cash and kind. This discussion of agrarian production on the islands by no means suggests that the acquisition of Salsette was of central importance to the overall agrarian revenues of the company. Other parts of western India were much more productive and profitable to the company than Salsette. Being a coastal island, cultivators struggled with flooding, rising tides, and swampy conditions in various areas. Nonetheless, what is revealed is that agrarian occupations could be encouraged as a part of the governance of Bombay both in Bombay and in Salsette, and the earliest settlers were engaged in landed forms of wealth in their pursuit for livelihood. Increasing the productivity of the land was the first and foremost priority. Salsette also served as the site of capital investments by Bombay’s merchants who had retained their own connections with merchants as far as Calcutta and China to continue their operations. Several Parsi merchants took up offers by the East India Company to give up land in Fort or Colaba in southern Bombay in exchange for land on favorable terms in Salsette. Like other merchants, Framjee Cowasjee Banaji wanted to experiment with agriculture in Salsette, so he requested land in Powai on the same terms as the company surgeon Helenus Scott, who had died. Banaji was encouraged to undertake improvements but was warned that if he did not “attempt any of the improvements . . . within the period of ten years, the Government is at liberty to resume the grant within the period of ten years, should you expend capital in buildings, &c., as above the grant of the villages and lands will be considered confirmed to your Heirs and Assigns, &c., in perpetuity. . . . [Y]ou are not at liberty to dispose of in any way the above property to any other persons within the period of ten years.”43 Banaji accepted these terms, including the demand to provide annual reports along with a request

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to sink wells to bring lands into cultivation. From land that he claimed had been “waste” he cultivated sugarcane, mangoes (which he once sent to Queen Victoria), indigo, nutmeg, cloves, oranges from China, coffee from Mocha, pepper, cardamom, sandalwood, and even silkworms, for which he had special prisoners from the Pune jail sent to assist him. Despite one early attempt to seize his land for not producing the revenue he had promised, the company eventually gave the land to him as a “free-hold estate,” essentially private property.44 The example of Framjee Cowasjee Banaji illustrates how merchant capital from other port towns and then southern Bombay could be invested to “improve” Salsette for the commercialization of agriculture, a process that in turn enhanced commercial and productive capital. Banaji was exemplary of the pattern of shifting between being a merchant, capitalist, agriculturalist, landholder, and banker in an emerging imperial system. There were other regions in which reciprocal relations of influence with Bombay developed. The “Konkan” refers to a relatively flat area between the Sahyadri mountain range, also known as the Western Ghats, and the Arabian Sea. From there many migrants and merchants flowed through the growing town of Bombay. The Konkan is the coastal plain that receives the first rainfall of the summer monsoon. Between June and October, as the southeasterly winds hit the mountains first, heavy rains drench the fertile soil, creating a necessary condition for cultivation. In the nineteenth century, irrigation techniques included man-made, small, and temporary dams thrown across streams on hills by industrious cultivators, who used the monsoon to source the flow of water. Rice was commonly grown on moist ground, while on higher ground local coarse millets, such as ragi, nachni, or nagli, sustained cultivators with food and livelihoods. Besides during the monsoons, the climate was dry, and so the soil was rarely cultivated again for a second winter harvest, as was the case in other parts of India, except in Kanara, where cultivators were occasionally able to export groundnuts and vegetables from the winter harvest. Along the coast of the sea itself, palm trees, mango groves, and plantain orchards made some landholders particularly wealthy and commercial fishing thrived to provide another source of livelihood. The Ratnagiri district, on the coast of the Konkan, is in the southwestern part of Maharashtra. Ratnagiri and Colaba were the main sending regions to Bombay city. Ratnagiri migrants were also well represented in Karachi. Migrants from Ratnagiri were lascars, or sailors, who sent remittances home, and so officials conceived of the Konkan post offices as bustling

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money centers because of these remittances. Other migrants were wage earners who joined mills and offices and either settled in Bombay or migrated circularly and seasonally. As the markets in things such as fruit, grain, and cotton generalized, many found themselves disadvantaged because their prior efforts could no longer earn them enough to buy the basic necessities of social reproduction. Thus, they were compelled to enter the vast chains of operations developing between London, Aden, Bombay, and Ratnagiri, among other places. Some entered such chains of operations with hopes of rising up the social ladder, while others were merely eager to maintain their social positions or avoid a descent. Yet many experienced downward mobility and bare sustenance as their reward—a result of the breakdown of large holders initiated by the ryotwari settlement, the act created by Thomas Munro to designate proprietary rights to ryots, starting in the 1820s. Merchants and moneylenders reconsolidated their holdings in spite of this act and were able to exert power over the landless; this only increased as the decades progressed.45 The Konkan region maintained the highest density of population in the entire Bombay Presidency until the early twentieth century, even when the “Town and Island of Bombay” was excluded from demographic accounts of the Konkan. This dense population clustered itself into numerous small towns, containing ten thousand to twenty thousand inhabitants each, and smaller communities spaced themselves out over cultivatable areas. The coasts were the densest areas, having 1,200 to 1,350 people per square mile; three times the number of people could live on the coast as opposed to the inland towns and villages, which supported about 400 to 450 people per square mile.46 The Carnatic (Karnatak today) was situated southward beyond the Konkan, bordered on its north by the Krishna River and, like the Konkan, bounded by the Arabian Sea to its west and traversing the Western Ghats. The Carnatic was made up of three distinct ecological zones, which ran parallel to the north-south Sahyadri mountain range: the “Mallad,” the “Transition,” and the “Desh.” The Mallad was the easternmost part, abutting the sea. It was always plagued by malaria, sitting deep in water-logged areas from heavy monsoons, which while providing abundant rice, gave life but, along with illness, too often took it away. The plague that hit Bombay in 1896 was particularly pronounced in the Carnatic. The Transition area between the coast and the plains grew rice along with pulses and millets and was able to support a slightly higher population density than the Mallad, concentrated in three large towns, Hubli, Belgaum, and Dharwar. If

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those towns were removed from the enumeration, then the Transition and Mallad were roughly the same in population density, about 320 persons per square mile, with slightly fewer on the coast. Then came the healthy plains of the Desh, famous for its black soil. The railway ran through the Transition region and resulted in intensifying the population density even higher. Two other regions were directly contiguous to Bombay city: Thana to the north and Colaba to the south. Thana had several towns with a density of 860 people per square mile, while a plateau just below the Western Ghats had 461 people per square mile. The plateau and hills were well drained, so people did not succumb to malaria as often as they did elsewhere. Later, Colaba and Thana remained only as names of the southernmost and northernmost parts of Bombay city itself; however, in the nineteenth century, they were larger agricultural areas that included portions of the growing city. Between the late eighteenth and mid-nineteenth centuries, producers in the Deccan, the plateau just east of the city of Bombay, experienced constant crisis and a prolonged depression. Even in the years of good harvest, since there were no railways or assured pathways to reach distant markets, a good harvest season meant that local markets would be glutted with a surplus of products. Thus, even in these times of plenty, prices would fall and cultivators would be stuck with little compensation. They neither went hungry nor experienced windfall profits in such circumstances. In Ahmednagar, between 1821 and 1847, every two years there was a poor harvest, while other years were unusually good. Regardless of the outcome, the monetary value of the land had been assessed by East India Company collectors before the new prices. Therefore, even in years of good harvest, when prices fell, the ryots—the cultivators—had much more grain taken from their stores since a greater quantity was needed to meet the monetary assessment. From 1822 onward, there was a long-term trend of downward prices in general, which prolonged the crisis among the ryots.47 Upon each annual harvest, ryots had to sell their goods in the local market, recover the cash value, and pay some fixed portion of it to local revenue collectors. Thus, if prices fluctuated upward, then the ryot needed a smaller harvest to maintain his right to land, but if prices fluctuated downward, then more cash crops would have to be sold off to meet the terms of the assessment. Officials concerned with improvement wanted to see that cultivators were moving beyond subsistence, that they were achieving the full value of their land. After the 1850s, more land was brought into cultivation and transport systems were created, such that Ahmednagar came out of this period of

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prolonged depression and crisis.48 The years 1852–53 were called the “turning of the tide” by British official G. Wingate. Some ryots responded to the rise in cotton prices through the nineteenth century by shifting cultivation from local grains to cotton, while others continued producing local grains to feed the growing population in the city of Bombay. The Khandesh district was a cotton producer, and so as cotton demand steadily increased throughout the nineteenth century, Khandesh became a wealthy district, although even there the results were uneven. Wingate said of Khandesh, “The peasantry are becoming comparatively wealthy, independent, and enterprising.”49 Regional overland flows were just as important as flows across oceans in the commercialization of western India. Money and media of varying kinds were the link between these flows, connecting burgeoning small and large towns with the countryside and with distant ports and those distant ports’ countrysides. Even before the American Civil War of 1861–65, cotton was transported across oceans. Whenever there was a poor harvest of cotton in America in the 1830s and 1840s, there was increased interest in Indian supply. The Cotton Supply Association in 1861 made it a goal to convert land into a commodity, enforce contracts, and increase colonial state investments that could link cotton-producing regions to Bombay.50 Whereas cotton connected areas across oceans, regional dynamics in various grains connected the port of Bombay city to inland cultivators. Thus, even the districts that were not producing cotton were responsive to increased demands. These included Pune, Sholapur, Satara, and parts of Ahmednagar, which produced grain to feed the growing populations in Bombay and Pune.51 Before the cotton boom of the 1860s, widening scales of cotton markets were already having an effect on the average cultivator’s life throughout western India. By the end of the nineteenth century, approximately one-half of Khandesh’s acreage was devoted to commercial crops, exemplary of the area’s high degree of commercialization. One-third of Nasik was devoted to commercial cultivation. In the Deccan as a whole, about one-quarter to one-third of the cultivated soil was used for distant markets, either regional or global.52 The governor of the Bombay Presidency in the 1860s, Henry Bartle Frere, praised the railway expansion and improvement of roads that increasingly connected western India; these were projects that opened up Bombay to circulation in the second half of the nineteenth century. For Frere, such infrastructure projects were the method by which future famines in the Deccan would be prevented. Critiquing the “iron despotism of the English government” and its overextraction of peasants, he implored fellow officials, in a lecture given to the Society of Arts in 1873, to undertake more precise

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and exacting revenue assessments. He said that making adjustments to assessment during times of scarcity worked better under “native governments than ours” because tenants could appeal to their masters. But under English rule it leads to “over-assessment” and “oppression,” especially in times of scarcity. The logic was that roadways allowed merchants in neighboring regions to move grain and sell it in regions on occasions of scarcity. He explained that “the local rise of prices had its natural effect in attracting grain from without.” This could keep prices in check since, during times of scarcity, local hoarding by creditors and merchants raised prices, furthering the effects of the scarcity rather than lessening it. So the roadways prevented famine in this indirect manner, by acting on the conduct of merchants, who thus had an effect on prices. Praising the coordination of these efforts, Frere concluded that “none of these things would have been possible without a good revenue settlement fixing and moderating the demands of Government: still less would they have been possible without the railway and telegraph, and water carriage from distant ports to Bom­bay.”53 As a result of these roadways, small villages grew to bigger towns throughout the Deccan because they became commercial entrepôts of their own, connecting Bombay city’s major ports to the agrarian heartlands of western India. These “moneyed capitals” formed nodes linking producers and consumers across regions and strengthening the controls over peasants and laborers exercised by moneylenders, landlords, and industrialists. As a result of rising indebtedness and falling remuneration, the proclivity toward supplementary work among peasants turned many into migrants into Bombay; in turn, Bombay’s industries depended on its many shifting and expanding “hinterlands” as sources of capital and labor. The landscape of the Konkan region, for example, exemplified a contiguous territory of urban and rural regions as well as a social continuum between townspeople and countryfolk tightly knit into social relations of production and exchange. Konkani cultivators were dependent on the rains for summer work, and even when the rains came, they sought second forms of livelihood in non-harvest seasons, most especially in the second half of the nineteenth century. The neighborhoods of the city of Bombay continued to be imbued with characteristics of their surrounding regions and their agrarian pasts into the twentieth century. Communities had settled together in networks originating from their villages, and some neighborhoods even retained names that betrayed their agrarian pasts, such as Khetwady (from khet, “cultivated

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field”), Fanaswady (from fanas, “jackfruit”), and Kakadwady (from kakad, “cucumber”), with the suffix -wady meaning “locality” or “neighborhood.” The power of capital was constituted in colonial western India by connecting agrarian, industrial, and commercial functions together. Through a shared concern to utilize labor and land to their full potential, a common calculative rationale was used in various instances that deferred to and created the power of capital in each instance. This common calculative rationale guided decisions between charity and economy in poor relief projects, established spatial ordering practices that later informed town planning, and finally resulted in agriculture’s discursive demotion and exclusion from the emergent space of the city and from the integrated regime of accumulation of which it had been a seamless part. The calculative rationale discussed in this chapter would be put to work again every time crises of accumulation occurred throughout the nineteenth century. These crises were productive, and they created the impetus to order the space of the city not just in their aftermath but even in advance in order to mitigate future crises. The need to localize agriculture in response to agrarian distress led to more and clearer demarcations of the city. Localizing agriculture became the complement to the task of populating the city with the right kinds of migrants through the use of the right kinds of incentives and disincentives.

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2 Famine Localizing Agrarian Crises

Lor d George Cu r zon, the v iceroy of I n di a from 1899 to 1905, is said to have called the year 1900 “an abiding landmark in the history of the Indian people” for having one of the worst famines on record. By that year, a critique of colonial policies was raging among an influential cadre of intelligentsia in Bombay and other places, both British and Indian, over the uses and abuses of India for English gain. Indeed, colonial priorities produced famine migrants and victims in India in every decade of the nineteenth century. Ongoing agricultural crises—droughts, scarcity, hunger, starvation-induced deaths, disease, and repeated land alienations—revealed the growing power of what appeared to be an alliance between merchants, landlords, creditors, and the colonial state. Estimates using government records showed that some 100 million people between 1770 and 1900 had become dependent on government relief efforts. How many of these died is debated, but in the Bengal famine of the 1770s, that one-third of the pop­ ulation perished is a widely accepted fact. By the year 1900, even colonial officials admitted that some 30 million people had died of starvation-related causes under British rule.1 The vast majority of the casualties were among lower castes. Governors of colonial India came to dread the “Indian question” at cabinet meetings, a provocation that coded a range of criticisms. Indian nationalists such as Dadabhai Naoroji and Romesh Chunder Dutt instigated social scientific debates, advancing some of the more bookish indictments of alleged imperial benevolence. They critiqued colonial statistical methods to prove that average “incomes per head” were nowhere near the sums required for “the masses of India” to feed and shelter themselves. To nationalists, famine was less an event and more a permanent condition of existence. Naoroji stated that “the condition of the masses of India [is such that they] do not get enough to provide the bare necessaries of life.”2 A blunter criticism of the inevitable outcomes of the “antagonism between capital and labor” came from William Hare, a Quaker, theosophist, socialist, and radical. Hare claimed that “famines will and must occur so long as 56

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India is the field of operations of that mighty tyranny The Empire, whose twin instruments of torture are military oppression and commercial exploitation.”3 He scoffed at the government’s self-congratulating claims that it had cared for famine victims, arguing instead that the Bengal famine of the 1770s was the main effect imperialists could claim. After the Bengal famine, ongoing and repeated famines proved that “the means of producing famine have become more perfect, more relentless; while certainly the means of relief have also become better.”4 To the question “What is a famine?,” Hare’s answer was as follows: First, it is well to say that a famine is not a failure of rainfall, nor a failure of crops, nor an abnormal export, nor the locking up of food, nor a rise in the price of grain, nor a scarcity of money. Secondly, neither can it be said that a famine is necessarily the product of all these conditions, though sometimes it may be. A famine, is a condition of widespread starvation arising from the inability of the people, from any cause whatever, to get the food their bodies need. Thus there is a famine 365 days in the year in London, where a million people are in a state of chronic want. There is plenty of food, the crops do not fail, and prices are low; but the condition of poverty makes it impossible for these people to buy sufficient food at their present prices. If prices rise, they are worse off; if, through external causes, prices should rise abnormally and supplies be temporarily cut off, this million people would die like flies—or like Indians.5

In this definition, Hare sought to draw attention to a common process traversing the globe, one that did not exempt even metropolitan London from its effects. Perhaps more powerfully, he sought to overcome the eventfulness of the famine. It was not a particular crisis at a particular time, indicating a rupture from normalcy; rather, it was the inevitable outcome of imperial priorities. Despite such vociferous arguments to place an understanding of India within commensurable dynamics encompassing the globe, the colonial regime had what historian Manu Goswami calls an “investment in nativist particularization.”6 The notion that India was unique in its famines prevailed over any claims to common logics advanced by thinkers such as William Digby, William Hare, Romesh Chunder Dutt, Mahadev Govind Ranade, and Dadabhai Naoroji. “The poverty of India” was treated as a unique feature, and by appeals to its “culture” or “backwardness” the most extreme non-remedies were justified as millions of people starved to death.7

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But this insistence to particularize India extended even further than historians have recognized—it extended down to the most diminutive scale as part of a broader strategy of containment. This broader strategy of containment entailed a variety of methods to localize and individualize the effects of agricultural malproduction and maldistribution. Containment was, in this way, the opposite of or counterpart to the “worlding” of cities that was a simultaneous undertaking. Analyses of how crises are managed through the space of the city, crises that transect the rural-urban continuum, often position the city as the space where the contradictions of capitalism are temporarily resolved. David Harvey has convincingly argued that the city provides a “spatial fix” for capital’s tendency toward crises. Surplus capital created through routes of accumulation in industry “switch” and find an outlet in the production of the environment of the city, where surplus is absorbed and “the built environment [becomes] a physical infrastructure for production.”8 Indeed, this “spatial fix” is manifest even in colonial Bombay in the 1860s, for example, when the boom in the cotton industries led to a speculative frenzy in commodities, land, and share markets. As a result, construction projects and reclamation plans of the Back Bay in the city were proposed.9 When the boom subsided, many such projects stalled, only to be taken up again in the 1920s by the Bom­ bay Development Department—critiqued heavily for corruption and its own circumventing of public scrutiny10—when fortunes were high once again. Nonetheless, as true as this account of the spatial fix is, it depends on following capital after crises as it moves across space into newer routes of accumulation. Such a story doesn’t reveal numerous other strategies that seek to manage the crises of capital before they occur, as an attempt to nullify effects in advance. Containment strategies in agriculture work parallel to those in the space of the city and should be seen as a constitutive part of the labors of city making. There were four kinds of attempts made to nullify crises in advance of their occurrence, rather than their managing after they presented a limit to the flow of capital. First, effects of agrarian crises were rendered into social or cultural problems confinable to particular locations or particular people so as to contain agrarian crises from generating empire-wide critique. The concept of “the economy” would later build on this structure of classifi­ cation. Second, attempts were made to fix the “floating population” in place even as colonial policies destabilized agrarian livelihoods and instigated mobility. Third, the edges of the city—not just physical boundaries but liminal subjects—became the site of sorting, localizing, and worlding, and in

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this way circulation in the space of the city was adjudicated and controlled. Here we see the emergence of threads that were later pulled together into “the slum.” Fourth, methods were devised to accommodate a growing critique of imperial rule into the logic of imperialism itself. Localizing Famine A long-standing problem in the management of famines was the tendency, first observed in 1807, that “large crowds of emaciated people flocked” into towns in the “hope of obtaining gratuitous help without limit.” This phenomenon “characterized all subsequent famines in India.”11 This double problem of the mixing of people in space and expectations of unending aid upon every famine was disconcerting since, as early as 1804, concerns over demography compelled officials to classify and sort populations into “the great division into agricultural and manufacturing.”12 By distinguishing peoples, they could distinguish spaces. In this way, an order of intelligibility helped manage the population. Each instance, then, of distress migration from villages to towns provoked discussion on what the “duty of government” was. Should the government distribute grain in the towns, transport grain into the villages, provide employment by opening relief works in the towns, or begin relief works closer to the famished districts to prevent the migration in the first place? Where precisely ought the government to act and upon what object, the shortage of food or the deficiency in resourcefulness of the cultivator? In 1807, the government purchased grain to provide to carriers into the villages at a minimum price, but then once there was a “plentiful rainfall,” “large stocks were left on hand, and had to be disposed at a loss.”13 The government thus quickly learned the importance of the “principle of non-interference with trade,” a dictate officials appealed to repeatedly to position themselves as apart from the changes they “witnessed.” Seven decades later, the government had evolved in how it managed recurring famines. Crises in colonial India included those of reproduction, monetary value, spatial control, disorder, and legitimacy. Such crises did not halt the flow of capital in the nineteenth century. Instead, they helped produce the techniques and methods whereby populations and spaces could become more clearly demarcated objects of rule. More clearly, setting off dynamics in agriculture from those in the city separated cities from the hinterlands on which they depended and isolated agrarian crises into distinct localities that approached or deviated from expectations and norms. In the 1880 Famine Commission’s report, the number of deaths for various

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regions of British India was reported as “deaths in excess of usual number,” such as, for instance: “The deaths of the two years 1877 and 1878 are estimated for the whole Presidency, excluding Sindh, to have been 800,000 in excess of the usual number.”14 This was a part of the perfecting of the science of demography, where calculations of averages and norms allowed individual instances to be reported as a relative deviance. A “usual” number of deaths became a baseline, a norm from which famines might deviate. Some amount of starvation deaths had become normal, and the idea of a “famine” as distinct from a norm had become a (albeit contested) common sense. The government’s policy was one of focused resignation since it accepted that it would not be able to prevent hunger, stop the famines that were deemed “inevitable,” or violate the “principle of non-interference with trade.” There was only one thing left to do—it had to raise revenues to deal with the “inev­ itable” calamities that were a common occurrence in British India. But from where was it to increase revenues? Charity became an important concern when answering this question. Charity was to be avoided unless absolutely necessary. When food was given, only cooked food was to be provided. Officials were not supposed to feed famine victims to relieve them of hunger, but they were obliged to make a precise calibration as to what the minimum amount of food could be for subsistence such that the hunger would remain. This would prevent the creation of dependents on the government and ensure enough motivation among the famished to seek out work. They were also to distinguish “able-bodied” famine victims and place them on relief works. Charity was to be the “business of the charitable public,” not the government. Even when there were funds raised by a “charitable public” in England on behalf of India’s famine victims, John Strachey, the finance member of the governor-general’s and viceroy’s councils, warned against accepting these. He applauded it at first, saying, “We welcome the generous impulse, because such liberality must tend to unite the people of India to those of Great Britain by the bonds of gratitude.” But he warned against India becoming dependent on such funds because, he claimed, “national self-reliance is essential for national self-respect” and India had to pay for its own needs.15 The very tabulation of revenues and expenditures for India as a distinct entity made it a “colonial state space.”16 So it was that India had to be responsible for itself and even further, within India, each village as a “locality” responsible for itself and, within each village, each “agriculturalist,” whether a hungry person or not, responsible for himself or herself. Such intense localization and containment

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entailed calculating revenues and expenditures in ways that people were ultimately made to pay for their own relief, down to the district or village level. Even the “agricultural classes” had to pay for themselves, as Strachey justified when he reminded listeners that cultivators had already gotten government aid in the form of having roads built near them and irrigation provided. Infrastructure for trade was aid itself; he argued that “markets have been created, enlarged, and rendered permanent.”17 Fiscal subordination was another tactic in the rationale of containment, what the radical William Hare called the “currency swindle.”18 Colonization proceeded through the subordinate incorporation of native currency, bills of exchange, and monetary systems. The “uncontested universal equivalent was pound sterling,” in spite of protests from Bombay’s merchants for a gold standard during the rise in demand for Indian cotton during the American Civil War.19 Maintaining a subordinate currency as a medium of exchange walled off crises in colonial India, preventing them from having an impact on imperial currency values. Early modern “monied capitals” across Eurasia, what historian Frank Perlin called an infrastructure of the “invisible city,” came to be subordinated by colonial ambitions in the process of the production of imperial or colonial state space.20 Most pronounced between 1877 and 1879, these famines depopulated much of the rural landscape in western and parts of southern India. But these famines continued into the early 1900s. The rains had failed in key producing regions, resulting in a lower supply of grains, but it was the hoarding and resultant price escalations that most threatened the basic livelihood of cultivators. Strachey made the following statement in the legislative council of the governor-general at Calcutta: The necessity of localising, so far as may be practicable, the responsibility of the people in every part of India for providing the means of their own support in time of scarcity has, as the Council is aware, been repeatedly urged by the Secretary of State, and acknowledged by the Government of India. To use the words of a despatch from Lord Salisbury relating to the Bengal Famine, “While we fully admit the obligation which rests upon the State of preserving the lives of the people, it cannot be doubted that the primary responsibility for providing for their own support ought to rest upon the people themselves. The duty of the State does not extend further than to see that the needful means are supplied for giving effect to this principle.”21

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In other words, even if it was the social relations of production rather than natural events that caused famine, the colonial state’s policy was to not have a policy of famine relief, but rather to supply the people the infrastructure and means to “provide their own support,” to localize the responsibility. Combined with the revenue goals and improvement projects of the colonial capitalist regime, cultivators found themselves in particularly vulnerable positions.22 Already expanding cultivation before the famines had meant low-quality lands were brought into cultivation. Moneylenders increased their hold over producers, who were often short-term borrowers. Owing their landholding patrons varying sums, producers would borrow in advance of harvest expecting to recover these advances when the rains came. When the rains failed, neither patrons nor moneylenders could be kept from increasing their hold over the producers’ lives. Land-workers, rather than feeding themselves, were “feeding the baniya,” or, in other words, feeding the merchants.23 It is certainly more useful to think of indebtedness as a form of a wage paid in advance to an employee—who could even be the very same person in the countryside as in the city—rather than as reflective of “precapitalist” forms of production.24 But it is important to remember that, as commensurable as the practice was to a wage, indebtedness was also both a cause and an effect of relations of bondage institutionalized by caste. As a labor regime of value making, bondage through repeated indebtedness was the full expression of the conjoined power of caste and capital that congealed in the figure of the moneyed capitalist. Many cultivators either were dependent on loans for production or were semi–wage laborers, who hired out their labor power on occasion while maintaining relations of patronage and debt. Harvest season called many industrial and nonindustrial city laborers to the village, while manufacturing or the commercial booms called the laborer to the city. The subordination of labor was secured through indebtedness across space, leading to dispossessions. State expenditures on irrigation, incentives to increase commodity production, and investments to make agriculture selectively profitable peaked between 1870 and 1920, but this rarely benefited the poorest cultivators, who made up the majority of the pop­ulation.25 During times of necessity, either the land or the cattle had to be sold off. Smallholders were thus quite prone to indebtedness or total loss. An official remarked, “Though the stimulus to individual exertion is considerable . . . the individual capital cannot be great and misfortunes comparatively small will throw even a thrifty and industrious person into the hands of the moneylenders for temporary loans.”26 Even the thriftiest

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Figur e 1. Famines of the nineteenth century. Chart created by William Hare and published in 1902 to emphasize that provinces were increasingly affected by famine throughout the decades under British administration. Hare, Famine in India, 25.

could do nothing in such circumstances. Alienation of possessions became the only way to survive. Regularly indebted to moneylenders, cultivators migrated to the city in search of work and relief from starvation. It was no wonder that criticisms of imperial policies rose to a crescendo by 1900. Hare, the radical theosophist, admonished the government for merely debating which relief effort to provide rather than investigating the causes of the famines. He provided a chart showing that every decade had been marked by famine (figure 1).27 Hare’s chart was very similar to the chart provided by the Famine Commission report of 1880 in which the years 1769– 1877 were tabulated by intensity or severity of famine.28 Mahadev Govind Ranade, a social reformer and judge, critiqued India’s “gradual ruralization” and deindustrialization. He investigated the causes of famine himself in several important works, such as Famine Administration in the Bombay Presidency (1872), but colonial authorities dismissed and even contained him, transferring his post quickly.29 Romesh Chunder Dutt wrote Indian Famines, Their Causes and Prevention (1901) and Dadabhai Naoroji wrote Poverty of India (1888); these, among other works, were similarly critical. The Indian National Congress, formed in 1885, was one among several sites from which collective challenges to the claims of imperial beneficence came. Growing indebtedness led to riots across the Deccan. During these “Deccan revolts” in the late 1870s, peasants burned account ledgers, targeting the instrument of their dispossession. The colonial state had supported moneylenders, since they provided a connecting link between the towns and the countryside. But increasing seasons of debt led to more and more debt and loss of land. Peasant cooperatives were created to be alternate

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sources of lending, and the Deccan Agriculturalists’ Relief Act of 1879 was meant to get rid of imprisonment for failure to pay loans and also legislate against lenders’ tendency to seize land and tools when cultivators could not pay.30 But for every movement on behalf of the laboring poor, migrants, and indebted peasants, there was a countermovement. Some recent scholars have shown that anticolonialists who called themselves “rashtravadi nationalists,” or patriotic nationalists, led by Bal Gangadhar Tilak, a Hindu conservative anticolonial revolutionary, opposed such reforms and protected the moneylenders.31 The Indian Famine Commission, seeing some amount of scarcity and starvation as “inevitable,” sought to increase its revenues to pay the costs of management. As Strachey stated, citing the work of prior officials from the 1870s: As it could not be doubted that India was liable to the periodical and not unfrequent occurrence of such calamities, Lord Northbrook most justly concluded that to attempt to meet them merely by borrowing without a simultaneous increase of income would be financially ruinous: it was out of the question to think of meeting with borrowed money the charges which we should have to incur in future on their account. Whatever means, he said, we may take to obviate or mitigate them, it must, under present circumstances, be looked upon as inevitable that Famines will from time to time occur.32

The guiding principle was to “localise the responsibility of the people in times of scarcity.”33 The commission used statistics, predictions, estimates, and averages and correlations between “economic” events such as prices of a single commodity and “noneconomic” events such as rainfall or drought. Such calculations followed similar logics undertaken elsewhere.34 These, among other strategies, were all part of a project of isolating agrarian crises, making bouts of scarcity and hunger contained within a locality without repercussions for governance elsewhere. In sum, hunger became normal, local, acceptable, and inevitable. City as Stage In western India in the nineteenth century, millions of indebted and bonded laborers toiled to produce monetary values in wheat, jute, indigo, cotton, jowri (sorghum), bajri (pearl millet), opium, tea, leather, sugar, and building

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M ap 5. Cotton-producing regions in India, ca. 1909. Courtesy of the Digital South Asia Library, University of Chicago, http://dsal.uchicago.edu. “Agricultural Products— Other” (detail), in Imperial Gazetteer of India, Atlas ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1909), vol. 26, 18.

materials such as bricks, mortar, and steel, among other goods (map 5). Laborers across villages and towns worked inside coercive relations of production including caste-based social exclusions. Producers and enterprising traders moved out of old networks into new structures of exploitation in the city of Bombay, seeking opportunities by which to either replace their dependence on agriculture or supplement it. Wisely choosing to not give up their attachment to land, workers migrated seasonally to cities in search of industrial or service work, returning upon harvest to the villages, where chains of labor control embedded them into relations of bondage and debt. While laborers themselves negotiated the vicissitudes of global commodity markets that rendered their labor invisible, superimposed upon them were logics of rule that fragmented and localized their migratory existence. Their migratory lives became objects for spatial ordering, resettlement, docu­ mentation, and control, as the city came to stand in for, stage, and frame the beneficence or civilizing effects of imperial rule.

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The “floating population” was a census category for circular migrants, who traveled annually or biannually between village and city as harvests came and went. These migrants seemed invested in neither location, establishing temporary residence in the city and supplementing wages alongside cultivation. They were hesitant to give up mobility between the growing city and the villages from which they came. During the winter season, an influx of people from villages in the Deccan, Kutch, Kathiawar, Colaba, Rat­ nagiri, Malwan, and Goa and on the coast came to the city, where warehouses and wharves had plenty of work to offer. Just before the monsoon, the seasonal migrants returned to their villages to cultivate the land. These migrants, readily mobile in search of a livelihood, brought Bombay into their orbits due to the “modern” dispossessions of commodification and improvement. They made up the “fluctuating element” of which the community was composed and warranted the need for a second census during the monsoon as well as during the winter to guess the true population of the city.35 They offered a poignant provocation for new tactics of management to emerge, new “anti-nomadic techniques,” which Foucault connected to “the large demographic thrust of the eighteenth century; an increase in the floating population (one of the primary objects of discipline is to fix; it is an anti-nomadic technique).”36 The challenge for district collectors, town collectors, managers of trade duties, and the networks of command that pivoted around them was to enable circulation of just the right kind of goods and people, while also fixing people in place so as to predict and ensure a steady stream of revenues. Instead of recognizing the increasing pressures across towns and vil­ lages as a result of the coordinated coercion and the commodification of labor, livelihood, land, and shelter, officials treated agriculture as a distinct problem from that of order in the city. By differentiating and adjudicating between good and bad circulation, they also distinguished spaces in the city for rule either through intervention and reform or through positive neglect, or letting proceed. These differences served to confer legibility or illegibility and inclusion or exclusion within the city. First and foremost a project of containing ongoing agrarian crises by normalizing and localizing them, the anti-nomadic techniques ensured that the space of the city would stand apart from the crises that impinged upon its boundaries. Whereas prior regimes and even the East India Company were indifferent toward mobility, even luring migrants as a flexible pool of laborers, now the colonial state was concerned to fix populations in space more rigidly so as to anticipate and accomplish their revenue goals. Assumptions about

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what constituted success in improvements opposed “industry” to “agriculture,” and these oppositions were enlisted to help do the work of figuring out what was inside and outside the city and eventually the economy. The city was variously imagined either as a space that would motivate hungry migrants to become productive or as a space to be shielded from agricultural crises by keeping hungry migrants out. New practices of rule broke down social relations into their parts, classifying them distinctly, and reorganizing them, and mapping the inside and outside of the city onto regimes of legibility and illegibility, legitimacy and illegitimacy. The labor and popu­ lation problems that stretched across the new rural-urban boundaries were thereby exacerbated and ignored. Two causes of rapid change in colonial Bombay were the cotton boom in India resulting from decreased US production of cotton during the American Civil War in the 1860s and the famines across western and southern India in the 1870s and 1880s. These could have had opposite effects on the lives of migrating peasants and laborers—a boom increasing opportunities and a famine causing intensified downward mobility—but the results of both events reproduced and exaggerated inequality. The British demand for cotton steadily increased between 1820 and 1850, and until the civil war, the American South provided most of that supply. But just before the civil war, Bombay was the third-largest cotton supplier in the world, behind New York and Liverpool. By the 1850s, India had carved out its share, providing 20 percent of the British demand in cotton. Upon the civil war’s onset, India provided 46 percent, and from within India, Bombay provided an estimated 90 percent of raw cotton. But once the civil war ended, America returned to supplying 54 percent and India’s share reduced to 25 percent for English industry. Yet the cotton industry returned, and by the 1920s and 1930s, Bombay was one of the most significant suppliers in Asia.37 The famines of the late nineteenth century came on the heels of the cotton boom and subsequent crash and only further depressed cultivators’ access to a regular livelihood. This revealed the unevenness of hinterland-city relations and showed that Bombay’s hinterlands geographically shifted as sites of production changed. In total, the 1881 census of the city of Bombay saw an almost 20 percent (19.98 percent) increase since February 1872, and 17.8 percent of this was attributable to immigration.38 When comparing the proportion of males to every hundred females, the highest ratios of male to female immigrants were from the farthest places. Younger, unmarried women made up more of the working classes in Bombay than in the other cities in colonial India. The population of elderly in the city was always low. Compared to London,

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Bombay’s density was described as “fearfully more intense,” such that even the densest section of London was less populated than the twelve most densely populated sections of Bombay.39 The averages between London and Bombay were much closer (49 versus 52 persons per acre) because of the yet sparsely populated northern parts of Bombay. These suburban districts were referred to as “rural” in 1881 and included Parell, Sewree, Sion, and Worli, but they had all grown in density since 1872.40 Removing these sections, there were 99 persons to an acre, which was greater than London and Calcutta, Calcutta having 208 persons per acre as a maximum and an average of 33 persons per acre. Thus, Bombay was the densest city of the British Empire, even though London was by far the largest city. This desire to fix populations in space and fix space itself was a goal that could put the state at odds with private capital since the power of capital worked precisely by suturing together different logics of value production and articulating them through acts of coordination and control. During the cotton boom migrants were celebrated and encouraged, while during the famine they were blocked from entering the city. Such distinctions mapped the boundary between inside and outside the city onto the population itself; those perceived as enterprising and industrious migrants were allowed and hungry migrants excluded. The southern parts of the city and industrial laborers came to be seen as “inside the city,” while nonindustrial laborers, vagrants, the poor, and many circular migrants were seen as not quite citylike even when living within the city of Bombay’s administrative limits. Circular migration through Bombay intensified due to the opening in 1853 of the first rail line, which connected Bombay to Thana, and to the first cotton mill opening in Bombay in 1851.41 Migration of people and commodities through the city steadily grew as new hinterlands and frontiers were opened up to satisfy the ambitions of commercial men. But seasonal migrants could not depend on the promises of the city to rescue them from forms of bondage. While there may have been periods of higher wages for working in the mills as opposed to offering casual labor throughout the city, labor control and subordination rendered most coolies and construction workers increasingly bonded rather than “free” especially as building booms sub­ sided.42 Censuses estimated that in 1921 almost thirty thousand people were working in the “building industry,” but some twenty thousand of these included “carpenters, turners, and joiners” employed in mills and workshops and making furniture. Many such bricklayers, painters, woodcutters, pol­ ishers, and masons were seasonal workers whose wages rose and fell with booms and busts in building activities. They worked under mukadams, or

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jobbers, who mediated conditions of employment and even orchestrated strikes.43 Factors having to do with how capital was allocated and the decisions industrialists made constrained employment opportunities, rendering them unre­liable in the long term. The influence of the shareholders meant that “entre­preneurs had to maintain a rapid turnover, show quick profits and pay handsome dividends,” and “capital moved more readily into the safer outlets of usury and petty trade, mortgages and property than into industry.”44 “Nonindustrial” jobs made up the majority of forms of labor in the city, with even factory workers sometimes supplementing their employment with other forms of livelihood. Maintaining several occupations was common among all classes, not just seasonal migrants. Merchants were often usurers or moneylenders, and cultivators could themselves strive to become petty capitalists and moneylenders through strategic accumulations and networking, but of course many did not.45 As historian Jairus Banaji notes, “There was scarcely a ‘merchant’ who could not be classified as a ‘moneylender,’ and vice versa.”46 Peasants were internally differentiating into a large and small peasantry, extending relations of domination and subordination among themselves. “Optimizing peasants” took the best among a set of choices, some succeeding and becoming creditors themselves, while others fell down the social ladders.47 In the city, jobbers who connected laborers to employers could act as mediators for grain dealers and landlords, assisting in acquisitions of housing, credit, and labor.48 So both in the city and in the villages, credit, land, labor, and housing were interconnected often by the very same people who shifted between each or combined them to secure the power of capital. Many migrants found themselves newly stigmatized as they took up new occupations in the city, either simply because they were “migrants” or by the logic of caste.49 For example, when officials noted that increases in the lowest castes accounted for much of the increase in population between 1872 and 1881, this could not be accounted for by social reproduction and migration of low-caste communities alone. Dheds and Mahars were twice as numerous in 1881 as in 1872, and Chamars, the leather workers, increased threefold.50 It is hard to imagine that such an increase in low-caste population did not index the creation of new identities among occasionally downwardly mobile migrant communities. Those who took up the occupation of working leather in the city could come to be called Chamars.51 The status of different caste groups also confused census takers. The census writer for the 1911 census of the city of Bombay, when accounting for the growth of certain outcaste communities, noted: “The Mahars, Holiyas or Dheds, who

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represent the untouchables under names which vary according to the locality from which they come, are third on the list with 58,000. They fall into two classes, the Surati Dheds who earn a living as butlers and hamals to the European community and those from the Deccan who work as millhands. Both of these classes are rising superior to the position to which they have been relegated by the Code of Manu. They have increased 11,000 or 23% and are in addition materially prosperous.”52 Spatial and social mobility, downward and upward, seemed to be the rule at least before the First World War. Such mobility drove the construction of the city of Bombay and the differing collective identities within it, not by erasing caste in the city, but by depending on its ordering logic. The rise in price of cotton in the 1860s precipitated dramatic changes in the city and country, but the benefits accrued disproportionately to the top of the social ladder, not the bottom. The number of moneylenders operative in speculative ventures across the region increased, and expansion of cultivation in the agrarian economy was what historian Sumit Guha has called a “weak expansion,” largely due to stagnant wages and the “large increase in the number of moneylenders,” who raised the value of agricultural securities in the share markets. Prices demanded for planted cotton fields also rose and were often funded by speculators from Bombay.53 Officials found workers huddled together into tight spaces, sharing kitchens or outhouses and claiming any spot of ground to sleep on overnight, likely because they planned to return to the villages. Dr. Leith, the sanitation officer who reported on the state of overcrowding in the city in the census of 1864, wrote, “In a lane 9ft. wide ‘the houses on each side were of two or of three floors, and the various rooms were densely peopled, and the floors of the verandahs were fully occupied, while to eke out the accommodation in some of the verandahs there were charpaee or cots slung up and screened with old matting to form a second tier of sleeping places for labourers that were employed in the day time at the Railway terminus or elsewhere.”54 The designation “sleeping places” also belied official attitudes toward the native migrants’ lack of settled lifestyles. What was perceived as overcrowding and too much density in the city of Bombay from the mid-nineteenth to the early twentieth century was in fact experienced by the cohabiting dwellers as the actualization of new opportunities, a strategy for survival, or a voluntary and even ingenious practice of thrift geared toward social mobility. For many, such practices of thrift turned into perpetual states of abjection as they were continuously subordinated into the widening spheres of commercial life centered on Bombay.

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Migrant workers were, in many cases, wiser than the shareholders who had thought the cotton boom would last forever. The construction of a “second tier of sleeping places,” which alarmed Dr. Leith, was a result of an apt calculation on the part of the inhabitants. Some had done this every year, while others were newcomers to the routes of mobility, taking advantage of the cotton boom. They spent the vast majority of their waking days working in the mills, in the numerous small offices throughout the city, as porters or coolies, as domestic help, as railway workers, or as petty vendors of foodstuffs and other everyday articles. They would be taking their earnings back to their village homes in order to add to their family’s income. There was no need to spend more on shelter than absolutely necessary, and since they were working all day, they needed only a place to sleep at night. Social benefits, too, could be gained from the decision to sling up many charpaee, four-legged cots, in single rooms. Cohabiting created networks of information and community, information that could be used to find the best-compensating opportunities for work and a community that could be deployed to send and receive messages from families in rural communities. Amid the fluctuations of the 1860s through 1880s, the city came to stand in for, stage, and frame the beneficence or civilizing effects of imperial rule. Widespread speculation in response to the cotton boom raised private profits temporarily but, as in any crisis, also raised valuations through speculation. Eventually, the Bank of Bombay collapsed in 1866, just before the famines of the 1870s occurred.55 Census writers still managed to praise the city, as this description demonstrates: “From the intelligence, loyalty, and enterprise of its inhabitants, from the manifest advantages of its magnificent harbor, from its proximity to Europe, from its noble public buildings, which we owe to the forethought and determination of our late Governor, Sir Bartle Frere, and from its salubrity of climate, this great City is fast becoming fitted to assume its proper place as the Capital of India.”56 The faith in “this great City” in spite of its ups and downs reflected the faith in “the city” to index or frame colonial India’s improvement. Migrants could come and go, fortunes could be gained and lost, but the space of the city came to stand in for all that was good about the imperial project and the power of capital that it entailed. On City’s Edge In a section titled “Encouragement of Diversity of Occupations,” the Famine Commission’s report of 1880 pointed to an overdependence on agriculture

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as the cause for “the poverty of the people of India.” Rather than attending to the commercial dynamics and commodification of agriculture itself, the problem of famine was understood to be indicative of insufficient industry. Citing the “unfortunate circumstance that agriculture forms almost the sole occupation of the mass of population,” the report spoke of the “surplus population” that needed to be pulled out of agriculture into manufacturing. Seeking to remedy this dependence on agriculture, the report also went on to state that “the Government might further often afford valuable and legitimate assistance to private persons desiring to embark in a new local industry, or to develop and improve one already existing.” But then the report affirmed the principle of noninterference in trade, the importance of encouraging “private enterprise,” and the need, solely through investments in railways and roadways, to help India reach “such an advanced condition,” stating clearly that “otherwise than as indicated, we do not think that the Government should directly embark in any manufacture or industry in an experimental way. . . . [T]o be really successful . . . [intervention] must be carried out on a commercial basis . . . the fear [being] of incurring an undue expenditure.”57 Here was contradicting evidence that the government ought not to incur expenses, its sole aim being to maximize its revenues. Instead, it ought to seek out “economical” uses of itself such that it maximized revenue and minimized expense. Therefore, de-ruralization of the population was suggested as the prevention of future famines, that is, that peasants should be encouraged to leave the “overpopulated villages” and enter growing industries in the cities. But how this should happen was imprecise; besides affirming that the government ought to encourage this from a distance rather than direct investments, no concrete solution was provided. Meanwhile, migrants entered Bombay by the tens of thousands, most not arriving by rail or boat but rather “found crawling along the high roads and bye-ways converging to this city.”58 Between August 15 and September 30, 1877, in a mere six weeks, thirty-six thousand people entered the city.59 The prior decade had seen a boom-time economy and this decade, in contrast, revealed the frail nature of that growth. In both instances, city limits were at stake. Between 1864 and 1872, the population of the city declined as a correction to the temporary cotton boom, but then again, between 1872 and 1881, the population of the city of Bombay grew immensely due to famine victims entering the city. Upon arrival, many migrants found themselves barred from entering the city. A blockade was established on the Sion Causeway, the connector that had been built in the early 1800s between Salsette and Bombay. While this wasn’t a wall, it was in effect a mitigating

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barrier set up to exclude the wrong kinds of circulation. Meanwhile, inside the city the municipality did several things. It offered funds to support the blockade and set up temporary shelters, while continuing its reform measures in the inner parts of the city through expansion of roadways, sewage lines, lighting, support of manual scavenging efforts, and general regularization and establishment of order in the growing city. It was through these differential techniques of management on the edges of the city, through reform and inclusion versus demotion or exclusion that space was more clearly demarcated. Where the blockade was established on the Sion Causeway, police patrolled the entryway to exclude and include the right kind of circulation—or, more bluntly, to keep famished migrants out. The city was coming to serve as a spatial infrastructure that could selectively incorporate, subordinate, or exclude the wrong or right kind of circulation. The city also coordinated processes across the subcontinent encompassing diverse regimes of accumulation that incorporated varied laboring conditions ranging from free to unfree. In colonial India, rather than bonded peasants liberating themselves into free laborers in the city and through industry, people regularly switched spaces and occupations. It is better to think of this as a fluctuating “urban peasantry” and “rural proletariat,” since freedom and unfreedom together characterized the experiences of imbricating oneself in production regimes, and bonds of tenancy and obligation transected the nominal divisions between agriculture and manufacturing. Many patrons and clients traveled between city and country in not only horizontal but also vertical networks of migration into, through, and out of the city. When asked why they were coming into the city, migrants replied “pote bhurnea sate,” basically, “to fill my stomach.”60 Many migrants came in through the northernmost part of the islands in Sion, across the causeway, where an official witnessed the inflow of people and reported on it. This official made it clear that these people were, one, cultivators and not beggars; two, self-respecting members of communities who had been driven by hunger to look for relief; and, three, those who, as a rule, took pride in their work. His vivid description is worth quoting at length because of the rarity of such experiential details: I went to Sion yesterday to inspect some of the immigrants into this city from the famine districts. . . . They knew no one in Bombay nor one portion of the City from another, and beyond that they were going to Bombay—“pot burnea sate,” as they said—they had no more definite

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idea of their destitution or what they would do when they got to Bombay. One o ­ f the children appeared about 2 months old, the other a little older was trying to suck, but neither its mother nor the mother of the other child had any milk; they said their milk had stopped owing to want of food. Two of the other children were nothing but skin and bone. The only property they had was a small basket, in which they carried their smallest child. They had supported themselves on charity by the way. They appeared to have been respectable people of the cultivator class. I came to the Sion Causeway and found 178 people—73 men, 64 women and 41 children—who had come over the Causeway during the night and in the morning. I inspected them all carefully, and one by one. None of them were so ill as to be unable to walk, but they were all weak and worn and very fatigued. Some were very emaciated, and of the whole number not one was fit for any work. The children were as a rule much emaciated, and the strongest of them had large pot bellies and painfully pinched ­features. By half past two 257 more immigrants had passed over the Cause­ way and were collected for my inspection. From half past two till 4:30— 111 more had come, and more were still coming along the Causeway when I left at 5 o’clock. Out of the 546 people I saw during the day only twelve were strong and healthy and fit for work; all the others were weak, and if not absolutely so ill as to be unable to walk, were merging into illness and disease. Some of the children and a few of the men had fever. I saw some women who had come by themselves bringing their children with them, their husbands having deserted them. In one case a girl and two children had come from Weidis near Mahableshwar. Some of the immigrants had been as many as 17 days travelling before they came to Bombay. They were very frightened at being stopped at Sion, as the only hope they had was of getting to Bombay, where they believed they were sure of food. There were only two professional beggars amongst them all. They seemed with a few exceptions to be of the cultivator class; they received the utmost gratefulness any little assistance given them, but the [sic] neither begged nor asked for it. Looking to their miserable, hungry condition I was somewhat astonished at the amount of self-respect they displayed. From the heat and fatigue of their journey they were intensely thirsty, the only water they could get to drink was from the foul tank by the roadside, but they lapped it up most eagerly. A Vehar standpipe near the Causeway is a public want. The tide of immigration towards this City unless stopped will very soon place in the greatest jeopardy the health of the whole community.

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Since the 15th instant, 7,302 paupers have passed into the city: the admission of these famished people exposes the public health to the greatest peril. The health and safety of the whole community is endangered by their presence, and it is impossible not to view the prospect with the greatest alarm. They are now weak and feeble, and if their constitutions have not been undermined by the fatigue and suffering of a long journey on foot through an unknown country; that their condition in this city will soon become worse and worse is perfectly certain, that many of them will soon succumb to fever or cholera is almost equally certain, and if in this crowded city they will not taint the health of the whole community and produce a pestilence all our experience will be at fault. There is only one way by which the crisis may be averted—by forcibly preventing any more paupers entering the city, and if necessary, sending all the destitute that have already found their way into the city out of it.61

After such a lengthy description of their wanton state and even surprise at the “amount of self-respect they displayed,” it is rather surprising that the passage ended with prioritizing the health of the whole city as against the migrants’ needs. In coming to the city, the cultivators had perhaps been expecting official mercy: grain stores opened up to them, social institutions of poor relief such as choultries, dharamshalas (rest houses), temples, mosques, or charitable organizations to provide simple meals. What they found was not nearly adequate. Although many migrants reported intense hunger as the motivator of their seeking out the city, hunger itself could not become the official’s object of concern or inquiry. Instead, hygiene, density, and sanitation were the primary concerns. Hungry people were in some sense unused laborers, or equivalent to land remaining as “waste,” and putting them to proper use was called for according to the logic of improvement.62 The health inspector’s office had been distributing food and money to the destitute, and to justify some relief works for poor migrants, the Indian Famine Commission used a simple cost-benefit calculation, asking how “the saving in relief-expenditure might justify the construction of works not otherwise remunerative.”63 It was now up to the municipality “to say whether thousands of starving and sick strangers in this city shall live or die, or whether the preservation of their lives shall be left to the uncertain and undisciplined efforts of private charity.”64 There were some relief works set up across western India that utilized now alienated landed labor. In Pune in 1876, half of the fifty thousand working on relief sites were “holders or

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underholders of land.” In Khandesh and Berar, land cultivation areas were still expanding, so migrating cultivators could still find opportunities there. Twenty-two percent of those living through relief works set up by the state were cultivators.65 Cultivators and those left in want during the period of famine struggled to survive, going wherever opportunities might take them, either to other sites of cultivation or to the city for other kinds of work. Compensation for agriculture was on the decline, and this incentivized the rush to the city. Upon arriving in the city, migrants found public and private initiatives toward their relief, but these were always temporary. Some were able to find temporary camps, which were put up by city officials for containing the migrants. The Municipal Corporation allotted Rs. 10,000 of its money toward a temporary site at the flats, called the refugees’ camp. It was in operation March 30–May 29, 1877, and admitted 1,566 people, of whom 105 died. In addition to the Municipal Corporation’s contribution, the Deccan and Khandesh Famine Relief Committees added Rs. 3,000. Private initiatives were also incorporated. Toolajee Fukirjee, a Bombay city resident, donated grain and clothing of his own. Dadabhoy Nusserwanjee and Nagoo Syajee loaned the wood for the construction of temporary sheds and served as contractors for the Municipal Corporation. They charged the corporation only the cost of putting the sheds up and taking them down. The construction of temporary sheds and not the allocation of resources for permanent accommodations indicated to the famished peasants that they were to return home and were not welcome in the city on a permanent basis. Through such efforts, the Municipal Corporation was able to spend less than one-quarter of its Rs. 10,000 toward these relief efforts.66 Being concerned with public health, any relief provided was temporary rather than a permanent solution. Migrants were thus kept at city’s edge, legally and physically. But actually goading the migrants into the camps was no easy task. Officials “were thwarted and opposed” in their efforts, culminating “in a strike amongst thousands—some say ten thousand laborers, the castemen and brethren in religion.”67 Not wanting to appear hostile to the “customs and feelings” of the masses, the officials did not move anyone forcibly to the camp. Nonetheless, eventually the camp filled, and a few other camps were even created by the municipality. At some point, they had to stop the migrants: “On the 29th of August, Gov’t by telegram ordered the Collector of Tannah to stop emaciated wanderers from the famine districts from approaching the Sion Causeway and entering the city, and to form relief

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camps at Coorla, Tannah, and Panwell.” But the situation steadily escalated, as more migrants crowded into the city, risking the spread of disease and threatening order. Common sense among sanitation officers was that “the causes of these epidemics lie . . . in the poverty of the people, and the misery in which they live.” Strangely, poverty caused disease, which in turn caused their current impoverished states. The city was no place for such impoverished migrants. More police and enforcements were requested to more sternly evict the famine victims from the city. Localizing agriculture became the counterpart to the worlding of cities. Famished migrants remained in the city but now as interlopers—some ten thousand migrants wandered the city aimlessly according to accounts from the 1880s. A regular migrating stream of “paupers and indigents,” as they were called by officials, wandered the southern neighborhoods and were stigmatized as a burden and nuisance that had to be overcome. The chair of a standing committee for the municipality, Dosabhai Framji, reported in 1889: “For a great part of the year, the city was infested by a crowd of paupers, mostly sturdy vagrants from Kathiawar and Guzerat, who refused honest work that was offered to them, and, as beggars, were a source of nuisance and danger to the health of the city. They were ultimately induced to depart, and it is hoped that measures will be devised to protect Bombay from a recurrence of this infliction.”68 From at least this point onward, paupers, vagrants, and migrants were routinely cast as sources of “nuisance and danger to the health of the city” but also occasionally as lacking the motivation to overcome their condition. Both city and country were bound more tightly than ever before, and ideologies of essential distinction arose to separate the two. While the Famine Commission suggested one as a remedy for the other, that is, encouraging depopulating “agriculture,” the actual existing migrants seeking out the city were barred from entry. Links between producers, moneylenders, and merchants tightened as usury and forms of debt bondage thrived, creating intense dependency. Dispersing Surveillance Census taking became a mode of dispersing productive power across colonial space. As a pedagogical tool, it would inculcate classification and differentiation among the population and authorize nested scales of power and control among differentiated communities. Technologies of enumeration

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and classification did not arise with colonialism. The history of these technologies is certainly older, but to what ends such technologies were deployed was new.69 Also, rather than a “colonial form of knowledge” monopolized by foreign authorities to rule over natives, the taking of the census actually made widespread particular ways of ordering the world.70 It differentiated not colonizers and natives from each other but elites, aspirants, and upper castes over and above laborers, migrants, and outcastes. The census was imposed not unilaterally by colonial might onto a passive native terrain but through its very dispersal, and even lower castes could take up census taking and then use it to for their own aims.71 One of the effects of the census procedures, in short, was to generalize surveillance and create “the city” as an object of collective concern. Localizing agriculture and simultaneously worlding the city by enumerating it through commensurable categories was a project undertaken by officials and by natives to differentiate even among themselves. As such, the census served to instruct natives in the importance of the “health of the city” so that more of the population was enlisted into the rationales of rule that demarcated and enlisted space. This type of power, by instructing and enlistment, is very different from monarchical power. In surveillance, “there is no need for arms, physical violence, material constraints. Just a gaze. An inspecting gaze, a gaze which each individual under its weight will end by interiorising to the point that he is his own overseer.” 72 This “interiorising” meant not only that new identity categories were created by the census but that self-identifiers of those collective identities—Muslims, Hindus, Parsis, low castes, homeless, and “dangerous classes”—came forward to help account for and manage the population. While this interiorization certainly had indeterminate outcomes—it was not as if the aims of the colonial regime could dictate by fiat outcomes in advance. Goals such as the cleanliness of a city or the need to increase the industriousness of dependent cultivators came to be widespread desires among even the most unwitting inhabitants. Counting the population, fixing inhabitants in space, describing housing conditions as a stand-in for knowledge of the people, and evaluating the appropriateness of kin relations were slowly being trained into wider and wider spheres of the population. Census operations in the city were part of worlding the city through generalizing the urban gaze, in which objective and even quantitative measures could stand in for a holistic understanding of social life within the space, such as when crises were scapegoated onto characteristics of the migrant populations. One police sepoy was assigned to each of the city’s 689

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“beats,” which in 1872 were designated by marking the house nearest to a boundary. A permanent enumerator familiarized himself with his beat, distributed the forms, and was duly employed for ten days up to the day of the census. These men were paid Rs. 1 per day and, if possible, employed in the beat in which they resided. Detailed instructions specified what enumerators were to do on the day of the census and what kind of information they were going to collect.73 Each beat would be divided into two districts on the day of the census and an assistant enumerator assigned to one of the districts. The printing of an English, Marathi, and Gujarati set of directions for the census forms was an acknowledgment of the diversity present in the city, but this didn’t indicate an awareness of the various ways that migrants made their lives.74 The census collected information for sanitary purposes. It included the number of streets in the city, the population quantity in them, the number of houses in each street, and the number of gardens, divided into decorative or agricultural kinds. It also distinguished housing types by the number of floors, source of water, and type of roof, categorized as tiled, thatched, metal, or terraced. Taking the census required training the population in its own surveillance. Public papers and native language notices were distributed, and native gentlemen of all classes were recruited to dispel fears about the census. A total of 1,479 people were engaged in conducting the census. Census writers noted “the great order everywhere” as “remarkable,” reporting that people “seemed anxious to assist the Sirkar [government], and came forward voluntarily to deliver up their Householders’ Schedules. Not the slightest opposition was offered to any person engaged in taking the census by any one, and the work was completed for the night in some districts by 9pm, in all by 10pm, when the houses were closed.”75 Even though there were people eager to assist, migrants were much less forthcoming. Census takers remarked on the trepidation, hesitation, and fear looming within the communities of new migrants, who having heard stories of quarantining and containment befalling fellow migrants were deeply suspicious of officials. Some went out of their way to avoid being counted, leaving town on the night of the census, not reporting how many women were in the household, and, especially if homeless, wandering around from neighborhood to neighborhood for the entire night. Officials policed the few roads that led into the city, but with so many entering the city from the famine, counting alone was a tall order. Representatives of each community were brought into the municipal office to attend meetings designed to generate goodwill and a sense of collective effort among disparate identity groups.

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Even enumerators of low castes were recruited in order to properly count their fellow low-caste inhabitants. A few days before the 1881 census, some twenty thousand Muslims left Bombay to make a pilgrimage to the shrine of “Bhawa Mulung Saheb,” and so Muslims were undercounted in the census that year. A meeting of ulema and prominent Muslims was used to mitigate the situation and encourage anjumans (assemblies) to inform their community about how the census functioned and garner their cooperation. An ishtihar (notification) published by the municipal commissioner was to be read after Friday prayers. Census officials even attended important community meetings and acquired the assurance of Muslim community leaders that they would receive full cooperation from the inhabitants. All these pedagogical efforts were successful; the attitude among the Muslim community changed. An official said, “I have no hesitation in stating that this change of attitude and the successful enumeration of Muslimin [sic] was due to the influence and help of the prominent Muslimin who attended the meeting in the Municipal Office.” Muslim leaders came forth offering their help in ensuring community cooperation.76 Among the Hindus, the laboring classes in particular were singled out as being the most uncooperative. Just as with the pedagogical efforts upon the Muslims, a meeting of influential Hindus was held in the municipal office on January 31. A leader of the community, Javerilal Umashankar Yajnik, suggested convening a second meeting to explain the purposes of the census to the public, and it was held in Madhav Bagh, where Varjivandas Madhavdas presided as chairman. Some four thousand to five thousand people attended this meeting, where false notions about the purposes of the census were dispelled. Attendees were assured that the census was not a tool for additional taxation. Inhabitants were also suspicious about being asked how many males and females were in their household; who was married, unmarried, or widowed; and other general details about their family life. Officials explained that the census was designed to understand the condition of the people and the changes to these conditions. Officials and community leaders assured residents that information from the census would be used for schools, hospitals, and sanitation and “in a period of famine for increased supplies of food-grain.”77 They also explained the method of the census, which was very important for fixing flows: namely, that throughout India, the census was taken on the same day, on February 17, and individuals would each be marked for where

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they were on that night. This way the floating population would be counted in one place, bureaucratically fixed while practically mobile. Inhabitants were also informed that domestic servants were counted on the form of their employer, called a “master” in the report, regardless of whether the ser­ vant slept in the house or outside of it. Other prominent Hindus attending the meeting included Rao Bahadur Gopalrav Hari Deshmukh, Raghunath Narayen Khote, Goculdas Jugmohandas, and Gangadas Kishordas. Rao Vishvanath even offered suggestions to the officials about how to speak of the advantages of the census so that it could be a greater success.78 The Parsi community was not uncooperative initially, but a similar pedagogical procedure was used with this community. High-ranking members of the community were made to explain the causes, procedures, and need for cooperation for the upcoming census. Nowrozjee Furdonjee suggested that the Parsi priests be employed to explain the purposes of the census to the lower classes. Among the Parsi leaders were Nanabhai Byramjee and Kaikhushroo N. Kabraji, who suggested that the Gujarati instructions for the census be reprinted with some alterations. Lectures were given by honorable “Dustoors” (Zoroastrian or Parsi priests) of the community, including one by Dustoor Jamaspjee Minocheherjee, which the official census takers attended.79 Specific instructions were provided for the population that was “houseless,” inculcating in the census a sense that the houseless were particularly problematic for effective rule.80 Enumerators were to wait until after 8 p.m. and count those houseless persons found wandering the streets or residing in dharamshalas (resting houses) within the beat in which they were found. Enumerators were given blank census forms in anticipation of such findings. The idea was to get a snapshot on the night of the census of the makeup of the local population. Only if persons were traveling out of their house for the one night of the census were they to be included as “houseless” in the forms. Those family members who departed to other locations at the time of the census would not be included in the city population; they would be counted where they were visiting. This was the point of conducting the cen­ sus on one day throughout the British Indian Empire. Counting of the “houseless” was more careful in the 1881 census than in the prior one.81 The census writer reported of his experience on the night of February 17 and the morning of February 18: “I spent the greater part of the night in watching the enumeration of the houseless. It was a sad night—bands of timid, fear-stricken vagrants—crouching and shivering—caught and brought

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together to be counted, the officers of Police seated at tables questioning each homeless one by faint candlelight, and the questioning had to be patient and gentle, to soothe frightened minds to speak.”82 The number of “houseless” on the streets of Bombay must have increased through the 1870s. There were expected places where such persons could find shelter and perhaps even food, usually at religious rest houses for the wandering, called musafirkhanas, or at sarais, which were inns. Census officials warned authorities of people collecting in mosques, temples, and rest houses. Authorities in these places were told to keep the “houseless” within their institutions on the night of the census, so that after 10 p.m. the “houseless” were also tabulated. Besides the homeless, there were other challenges to taking the census. Kamathipura was already known as an area inhabited by “dangerous classes.” The northern portion of the city, from Tardeo to Parell, was thought to have “elements of difficult enumeration.” Those wanting to avoid being counted resorted to all sorts of tactics gen­ erally to evade the census officer, including “walking round the streets all night.”83 The census-taking procedures served to render concerns about houselessness and falling wages neutral. By dispersing productive power through census keeping, concerns with “the health of the city” came to substitute for knowledge of the people. Even committed nationalists could rally for the cause of improved infrastructure. Census taking was one of the tools that streamlined notions of what is a “good house” or an appropriate size household. The procedure trained members across communities to operationalize such measures whose object was spatial order. Leaders of various collective communities were developing lateral connections with each other to evaluate, enumerate, assess, manage, and discuss the varieties of lifestyles among their communities below them. They were developing a collective sense of themselves as a single community, each with vertical linkages to people under them. Not long after such pedagogical effects of the census were generalized, residents would take it upon themselves to manage their space, their environs, and their neighborhoods and together develop a concern for the “health of the city.” In colonial Bombay, throughout the 1860s through 1880s, the city came to stand in for, stage, and frame the civilizing effects of imperial rule. Since participation in commerce was a sign of the beneficence of imperial rule, attempts were made to prevent crises that could forestall capital’s flow. These attempts relied on establishing a regime of intelligibility over populations in space—on the labors of city making. Agrarian crises were localized at

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the same time as the worlding of the city, reflecting a process that “the economy” would later continue. This was done by particularizing agriculture, preventing “bad circulation,” and designating spaces in the city to rule through intervention or rule through positive neglect. Through simultaneous exclusion and inclusion of the precise kind of migrants, and various tactics used to control and differentiate populations, spaces and populations were ordered to achieve desired ends. Such practices conferred legibility or illegibility, and inclusion or exclusion, within the city. In Bombay, those residing in the southernmost part of the city were amenable to intervention, while those in the northern parts were met with endorsement or neglect. Together, this produced the city as an internally differentiated space where, in spite of a growing critique of imperial beneficence, rationales of rule fixated on “the health of the city” dispersed productive power among inhabitants. It was through these differential techniques of management via reform and inclusion on the inside and direct exclusion that space was more clearly demarcated. The city provided a spatial infrastructure both within it and at its borders that could selectively incorporate, subordinate, or exclude the wrong kind of circulation.

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3 Shelter Rendering Housing Technical

The domestic pr actices a nd habitations of people have often been a marker of rank and status within society but in historically changing ways. Moreover, the provisioning of shelter has long been a means of exerting control. In India’s Mughal centers, shelter practices reflected and produced political proximity to the sovereign and his retinue. Aristocrats and statesmen secured their rank and status in society by maintaining their homes and enforcing the rules of who could live near them. The capital city was an “imperial mansion” in which the sovereign and his retinue lived in palatial dwellings, while small, straw-thatched mud huts sheltering small traders, craftsmen, soldiers, and others surrounded elite mohallas (residential quarters) at degrees of distance from the center.1 Changes during the Mughal period included increased demands for cash revenues and a declining capital, as commercial ports and towns were fortified by the Portuguese, Dutch, French, and English armed traders starting in the sixteenth century. Increased commercialization changed the pathways for social reproduction. Yet, especially given the importance of caste, shelter was probably for long a “nested entitlement,” or part of a bundle of rights remunerated with other goods in exchange for service and labor.2 Precolonial comments on the housing conditions of locals can be found in official records, early ethnographies, and travelogues, but these pale in comparison to the extent of descriptions of housing by the late nineteenth century.3 By then, shelter had become housing, a governable object and commodity in addition to still being a basic necessity that could be exchanged or promised for services and labor. The commodification of basic necessities and demographic changes demanded new rationales of governance. Scholars who study the “‘techniques of government’. . . devised to reconfigure the modern city as a governable space of calculability” have identified house numbering and street addresses as significant spatial practices of rule, but they also agree that “the practice of house numbering actually appears more as the exception rather than the rule.”4 So, although Foucault explicitly mentioned the way that “individuals were made visible” by localizing each to a 84

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house, most cities seemed to have struggled to achieve that ideal.5 This should prompt us to ask specifically how the governance of the city of Bombay was pursued, through which particular tactics, and in which particular historical circumstances. Bombay did indeed become a distinctly governable space, and we find that enumeration of housing, the creation of averages and norms and deviations from these, was an important part of assessing and producing Bombay city as a durable space for commerce. Shelter was not an obvious shorthand or index with which to tabulate and manage demographic changes and commodification. Rather, it was only after unsatisfactory attempts to assess criteria such as crowding, density, disease, hygiene, or the family in the nineteenth century that housing was seen to be the idiom through which spatial order could be secured. Colonial officials were still focused on improvements by maximizing land use, optimizing labor productivity, and accounting for all natural resources. But by the early twentieth century, housing had come to stand in for prior problems of effective rule such as hunger, famine, population, hygiene, disease, and disorder. Housing was the way in which order came to be managed through the space of the city as opposed to the country; it was a tool in the labors of city making. This was even more so due to the numerous crises that crossed city-rural space, as we saw in chapter 2. “Shelter” as opposed to “housing” reflects two different conceptions about habitation practices. While shelter connotes a basic resource for survival, housing functions as a governmental object. This is not to say that shelter was not political or embedded in a social field of unequal relations—it surely was—but distinguishing the words is useful for considering the problem of habitation: shelter reflects the point of view of the person seeking and acquiring it, while housing reflects that of the person tasked with governing space and order. The word house was used to describe shelter, buildings, and structures as early as the 1870s in the annual municipal commissioner’s reports, but sometimes even earlier by East India Company officials to describe the landscape of the Fort area. By the late nineteenth century, shelter became housing, a technical feature of city management that coded legitimacy and illegitimacy. In colonial Bombay, as elsewhere, the task of governing the city through housing usually fell upon municipal officers, sanitation officials, health inspectors, tax collectors, or land surveyors, but it could also guide the thinking of neighborhood groups and associations. The production and acquisition of shelter was prone to crisis. The social reproduction of laborers depended on their ability to acquire shelter, but this was more difficult. Labor costs were halved in the nineteenth century, and

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the returns on component materials to make housing were also a fraction of where they started, reducing remuneration for work over the decades. Shelter and housing were increasingly harder to come by. Even among elites, wealthy natives could price Europeans out of housing. Robert Lewis and Richard Harris have shown with excellent detail how markets in housing pro­duced segregation that could not be neatly mapped onto “white town” versus “black town.” As they note, “A 1901 census official described the Esplanade area as a multi-class and multi-racial world; rubbing shoulders with the well-to-do Parsis and the Europeans, and a stone’s throw from European schools, hospital, theatres and colonial offices, were families of municipal bigaris (streetsweepers) who lived in one-room tenements.” A native European complained in 1899, “The best part of Bombay is the Ridge and Malabar Hill, and here house after house is passing into native occupancy.”6 Thus, by the turn of the century before the formation of the City of Bombay Improvement Trust, shelter was increasingly commoditized and harder to obtain. Its production, acquisition, and distribution indexed changing relations between landlords and tenants, industrialists and laborers, and migrants and settlers. It served to garner rent, control labor, and combine other component markets in materials and labor. Through housing, migrants became embedded within larger markets in land, labor, commodities, and consumption practices. In shelter’s shift to commoditized housing, the need to govern a more clearly demarcated city in a more technical manner became necessary. Housing became the answer to questions and provocations that necessitated more precise projects of rule. The Dur able City Durability was central to the mission of creating the city. The collision between residential practices and the municipal commissioner’s regulations revealed that municipal regulations were attempting to manufacture a longterm spatial future, while (most) inhabitants were managing the fragility of their present. Ideally, durable structures would ultimately dispense with the need to govern the space at all. The roadways, zoning laws, boundary markers between commercial and residential space, diverse elements of the built city such as vertical or horizontal structures, distribution of like inhabitants into manageable sections, spaces for capital to accumulate and be repurposed, and labor regulations that would govern the spatial meanderings of potentially rebellious subjects would all function together toward governmental aims without much interference.

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Toward this ideal self-disciplining end—a goal, not an actuality— interferences and interventions were created so that the space of “the city of Bombay” could become permanent. The city of Bombay was becoming the single location—before the abstraction of what would later become “the economy”—through which to imagine the tangibility of some larger totality of productive and commercial relations. Making it into a durable structure would ensure that those larger functions would not be halted but be constantly at work. Achieving the ends of governance entailed instilling the value of durability in inhabitants, even Indian capitalists who regularly skirted attempts to make them care for laborers, produce durable structures, or mitigate their desire for short-term gains. Pipes were imported from Europe at times to provide less fragile infrastructure for drainage and sewage; the municipal office itself temporarily undertook the construction of bricks for building so as to encourage enterprising natives toward the use of longer-lasting materials; lighting was supplied to neighborhoods by the municipality when inhabitants achieved recognition of their long-term intentions; and other amenities were either selectively provisioned or cast as self-evident goals of every community. Incentivizing the ordering of space through subtle and indirect measures was a form of policing through “mechanisms of incentive-regulation,” such as the economy and management of the population, and was part of a “double system.”7 Besides piecemeal interventions in supplies of water, roadways, lighting, or other amenities, officials became interested in finding a more scientific process of tabulating, counting, assessing, and intervening in the order of the city. The tension playing out between logics of livelihoods and desires for durability culminated in concerted efforts to catalog “housing,” substituting it for other descriptions of social life. It provided a simple quantifiable sign of spatial and social order or disorder. Housing norms were to become the new instrument of governmental rule especially in Bombay, where population density was the highest across the British Empire. Especially after the plague in 1896, housing became the answer to almost every question about order in the city. Housing became a kind of data for a soft science that was a nascent kind of urban planning where land use patterns, a knowledge practice best seen as continuous with agrarian quantifications by physiocrats, could be described. It also became a “thing” that stood in for sociality, and as a “thing,” it became a language through which to read and classify relations between men and things. By tabulating the relationship between “men and things” through the enumeration of housing

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density, this knowledge appeared objective, neutral, disinterested, and therefore easier to use to justify interventions.8 The City of Bombay Improve­ ment Trust’s housing schemes, in which tenements were upgraded starting in 1898, focused on the most densely inhabited tenements throughout the city and served to mark them as “slums.” Such projects, discussed in chapter 4, occurred because of elite interests who were dependent on the city as a venue for world trade. Differentiating housing types served new regimes of making legibility in the city. The conferral of legitimacy to a housing type on the basis of the materials used to construct it, the type of tenurial arrangement of its inhabitants, or water source, sewage lines, electricity, or roadways was established more rigorously upon the outbreak of plague. But before the plague, though we can see officials beginning to document those concerns, they do not consistently form a set of traits meant to distinguish legitimate from illegitimate housing or rich housing from poor. Rather, a variety of building materials such as bricks, pipes, wood, roofing, and so forth used in habitation practices went from being unmarked to marked in new ways. Before the plague, the government’s role in mediating shelter was influenced by the “house tax” collected by the municipality, an important stream of income. Once the British government made the house tax a source of revenue in Bombay city, there was a need for a census of the city that tabulated housing. The value of the collectible house tax was adjusted based on the materiality of housing forms, on both the size of the dwelling and the materials used. So there was a push from city officials for the improvement of housing to standards of higher quality. Importantly, however, officials had little power to influence the production of shelter. It was calculated that, in the long run, it saved money for the government to provide incentives and means for the inhabitants to build high-quality housing from the outset rather than have to continuously remedy and rebuild deteriorating forms of shelter. Building housing on diminishing and scarce parcels of land required highly organized and coordinated acts of human effort such as access to information about a neighborhood’s proximity to places of work or its proximity to networks of people who could find work. There was a tendency to want to live as close to sources of income as possible, which was an obvious desire for migrants but alarming for officials. Health officer T. S. Weir wrote to the then acting municipal commissioner of the city of Bombay in 1886: “The reality to be understood is, that 37 percent of the population live on 3½ percent of the surface of the Island.”9 The proclivity to density was read

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as proof that city residents did not know what was best for them. Building housing also required access to resources and information about various inputs such as materials and labor, calculations about long-term or shortterm needs for shelter, and anticipation of changes to these. In colonial Bombay, housing was used to frame the space of the city as an exterior object available for intervention. Tania Li has shown that there are two key practices that turn the “will to improve” in colonial Asia into programs: one is problematization and the other is what she calls “render­ ing technical,” a “shorthand for what is actually a whole set of practices concerned with representing ‘the domain to be governed as an intelligible field . . . defining boundaries, rendering that within them visible, assembling information about that which is included and devising techniques to mobilize the forces and entities thus revealed.’”10 Housing was the most innocuous and measurable technical shorthand for the complexity of unequal life and the crises of reproduction and political stability that thus ensued. Whereas wealth creation in colonial agriculture depended on landed property, Timothy Mitchell notes that “the idea of the city offered both a parallel and an alternative to landed property as a space that gave concrete and visual form to the new relations of wealth creation.”11 The census reports of what came to be called “the city of Bombay” in 1872 increasingly made it seem as if forms of housing were the main inhab­ itants of the island of Bombay. Housing served to displace the people and provide a more neutral or objective measure that would eventually become the “built environment.” Housing was thus “rendered technical,” a strategy to aid in demarcating the city. It was the central feature of an emerging discursive register of urbanism that helped position the city as an object of governance apart from other objects. Tabulating housing was also perhaps convenient, expedient, and even simple, since housing was relatively easy to count—once one agreed on the definition of a house. It circumvented the need to corroborate information from too many people. But rendering housing technical was no fait accompli; the task ran up against numerous problems in classifying the fluid practices of shelter it sought to fix. Enumerating the density of housing and its varying types— building materials, roof materials, neighborhood densities, extent of ver­ ticality, familial and seasonal practices of occupation, and relations among built structures and between structures and land—became the register through which the art of colonial government manifested in colonial Bom­ bay, but the register was uneven and inconsistent. In Lahore, the colonial census takers in 1891 were frustrated with equating the English word house

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with the Hindustani term ghar, which prompted a census official to remark that sending someone in search of a house was like sending one “in search of a social and moveable, rather than a structural and immovable unit.”12 Census takers further struggled with the fact that one door might lead to hundreds of residences or that buildings could have multiple entryways on different streets. In Bombay, constant flux meant that census takers often numbered houses before each census, only to have to repeat the procedure at the next census a decade later.13 The unevenly codified practices of shelter made rendering housing technical all the more difficult and therefore necessary, prompting false starts in defining housing, the proliferation of enumerable objects, the enlistment of eager underlings, and nimble adaptation with tactics. More permanently numbered houses were confined to more central locales in “Modern Town” rather than in “Native Town,” leading many scholars to con­ clude that neglect of natives and self-interest among Europeans produced a bifurcated city, one where technical rule prevailed in one part and in the other an ungovernable space. But by analyzing the intensification of enumeration practices in some areas and neglect in others as conjoined processes, it is possible to identify the guiding rationales that produced both simultaneously. In fact, house numbering was only one of several possible mechanisms through which to make governable the relations between “men and things.” In ways besides house numbering, “Native Town” was also governed and not outside of these practices of governance. The way housing types were cataloged and read was inconsistent. For example, a temporary structure “inside” the city was alarming, while the same type on the periphery could be a sign of ingenuity on the part of migrants. This is why the East India Company at times of famine in the 1830s and the Crown decades later applauded and even provided the resources for making shacks for migrants in some parts of greater Bombay, while simultaneously intervening among temporary structures in Bombay’s central districts. Such shifting definitions and inconsistency toward intervention were only made logical through the work of the urban gaze, which used census and municipal reports as its instruments to limit, order, and ultimately produce distinct spaces that could be correlated to appropriate forms of governance. The “inside of the city” became a space of a particular kind of governmental action, while “outside the city” became a space of a different kind of governmental action, both of which served in cost-effective ways the needs for revenue and commerce. To achieve a selective durability, a

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variety of regimes of punishment, discipline, and security were distributed throughout colonial cities. Census reports from other cities circulated across the empire as pedagogical tools, which themselves became the real object of rule; in other words, producing them was the goal. Bombay’s officials frequently consulted the London reports and vice versa. Comparisons served to justify different solutions to the problems of density, poverty, and spatial disorder, but comparisons also suggested a kind of parity, and these comparisons continued into the postcolonial period, where municipalities sought self-governance rights on par with London.14 If London and Bombay were different, then solutions to urban problems or the encouragement and management of growth in Bombay could be different. But when there were different solutions proposed, it wasn’t always clear what the precise difference was that justified different solutions. Across cities, officials were beginning to fear the growth of the “masses,” and unique solutions were sought for each city’s unique problems. Commodification of Shelter The problems identified as those of density, sanitation, and housing by the end of the nineteenth century were an effect of a slow but steady transformation of the islands of Bombay from agrarian land-use patterns to commercial, industrial, and city uses. This trend can be seen in the surveys of the island-city in the late 1860s. Upon the establishment of the Municipal Commissioner’s Office in Bombay in 1865 with Arthur Crawford as the first municipal commissioner, one of the first tasks was annual surveys of the entire island by Major G. A. Laughton. Nine surveyors were employed in what was called the “Old Town,” in areas such as the Market and Mandvee, and twelve surveyors collected data in “the country around Wudalla, part of Naigaum, Parell, Chinchpoogly, Sewree, and the Flats near Worlee.” They found that more than half of the surveyed acreage was agricultural. Of a total of 2,855 acres, 847 acres were rice land (as opposed to 1,038 acres from the year before); 872 acres were garden land (compared to 898 acres from the previous year), which “consist[ed] of estates, surrounded by high walls, containing within them pucka-built houses, fruit and flower gardens, dense plantations of mangoe and cocoanut trees.”15 Officials were already noting the existence of more durable structures by the use of the term pucka, meaning “solid” or “durable.” Lands used for agriculture were steadily replaced

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by multiunit housing structures, offices, factories, and shops. This was the consequence of a growing population’s new demands and the likely calculation on the part of landholders that subdividing structures to rent out for purposes of shelter or factory work were more profitable than the sale of rice, mangos, or coconuts, which required the employment of labor on land. By 1911, only twenty thousand persons counted in the city census of a population nearing 1 million were agriculturalists, of which almost four thousand were dairy farmers.16 The definition of what constituted a “house” changed with every census. Writers of the City of Bombay Census of 1872 asked, “And here we are met at the outset with the same question that has perplexed statists in Europe— What is a House?” They observed that the Digest of London’s Census of 1871 said a house should be considered “all the space contained within the external and party walls of a building” and “a room or story of a building [should not be treated] as a separate house, although one or other might be separately owned or occupied.”17 Thus, subdivisions by tenants did not constitute separate domiciles in the 1872 census. The discrepancies in conceptions of shelter were due not to a simple cultural distance between Europe and India, for example, or one between colonizer and colonized, but to a fundamental ambiguity over how to classify and eventually construct the “house” as a new object of inquiry. Even visitors from Calcutta struggled to read the physical features of Bombay’s dwellings. Rajendralala Mitra, remembered as one of the few “native” orientalists of Bengali origin, gave a lecture called “The Parsis of Bombay” at a meeting of the Bethune Society in Calcutta on February 26, 1880. In the very first few sentences of the lecture, he said of Bombay: “Its houses are the most magnificent; there is no other part of India where so many rich and lofty mansions can be seen together; but they are all roofed with tiles of the kind called in Bengal khaprael, which the officer in charge of the last Census of Calcutta took as the most prominent characteristic of huts.” The material used for the roof of a house didn’t correspond to its status; the census officer thought Bombay’s mansions’ roofs characteristic of the huts in Calcutta, and Mitra himself thought the mansions very grandiose. Later in the same lecture, Mitra made a correspondence between the shelter of laborers and their moods, dispositions, and future, using it to argue for the better outlook of Bombay’s laborers than those in other cities such as Calcutta, for example, with which he occasionally compared Bombay. Unlike laborers whose houses “are dilapidated and weather-worn; their homes cheerless and miserable . . . abodes of dirt and disease,” Bombay’s laborers were “entirely the reverse.”

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Mitra said, “In their new abode everything is before them—everything onward and forward,—and they live with . . . buoyancy and enterprise.”18 The roof type of each dwelling space served as one of the earliest attempts at classifying houses. Structures could have several types of roofs: tiled, thatched, metal, or terraced. Each city census from 1864 onward divided and counted houses according to the kind of roof they had, but officials couldn’t necessarily attach a consistent meaning to these distinctions. Certain types of roofs could be condemned or well regarded; they could indicate differential access to materials on the part of the people constructing those houses or even the degree of permanence of its inhabitants. There was, for example, a steady decline in thatched roofs from 1864 to 1881, dropping from 6,676 buildings to 3,735, and then to 2,169.19 This perhaps indicated a decline in the building of temporary structures during the famine of the 1870s, when, with large numbers of migrants seeking relief, people overcrowded with relatives into rooms rather than expend what little money they had to build even frail structures. Perhaps even some building activity with other roof types was able to keep pace with the growing demand for housing. In this period, Kamathipura had the highest number of tenements and Kumbharwada was the most crowded section of the city, having the highest number of people per tenement. Crowding was the main source of concern because of its relation to sanitation and its status as a variable in the emerging science of epidemiology. Before this, the dwelling type did not correspond to legitimacy and no one type was consistently condemned as “unfit for human habitation” (UHH) or rendered illegitimate as a rule. Through the changing definitions of a house—first, from that space enclosed between four outer walls in 1871; second, to individual tenements in 1881; and, third, the whole building under one divided roof, with any roof of any material, in 1891–1911—what was legitimate housing was very broad. In fact, there is nowhere in these reports a clear account of illegitimacy in housing itself. Numerous types of housing styles were included as legitimate forms of housing in the city reports. Huts with barely completed floors or roofs were included: “A house will therefore represent in Bombay . . . the Jowlie hut, under the eaves of which one can with difficulty stoop down to find the entrance into the one miserable mud floor cabin.”20 Up until 1911, huts were legitimate forms of housing and were even well regarded because they tended to prevent overcrowding. The census report noted, “The largest number of houses are to be found in the northern sections. Warli, Mahim and Sion, but many of these are huts and do not indicate overcrowding.”21 There were also the chawls, or

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native tenements, located in the northern parts of the city. These were distant from the Fort area and the southern portions of the island, where British officials and elite natives tended to dwell and conduct business. One particularly overcrowded example was “No. 1” on Parell Road recorded in the 1872 census, in which 122 families, totaling 466 persons, were reported as living in “one house,” since a house was the entire structure within four walls at the time.22 Such shifts indicate that crowding was a primary concern, much more than the quality of the buildings and structures. Ownership of property did not indicate control over its parts. It became very common for the owner of the property to have no awareness of who occupied his building, since he had given the right to find occupants to someone who would find inhabitants. That person, too, could successively find more inhabitants and undertenants. Basically, from the point of view of “undertenants,” they acquired a right to occupy a unit on terms of exchange with the person whom they had negotiated with, without a necessary claim on the structure’s legal status. The highest city official would have a very hard time sorting these chains of occupancies out from each other and finding individual owners to hold responsible for the taxes and for sanitation. People could generate legitimate housing status among themselves by assigning units or rooms to other people in exchange for money or work. The official bureaucracy was not needed to recognize these appointments, except when it came into dispute. Officials sought merely to manage, upgrade, and amend the infrastructure required for the upkeep of a house—such as plumbing, lighting, roadways into the building, and even removal of night soil and other waste—after private persons accomplished these activities on their own. So such activities to complement infrastructure more often than to provide it anew demonstrated how official intervention and state involvement that conferred legitimacy were selective, expedient, and inserted into activities already well organized and developed by inhabitants. Night-soil management is an example of the way private arrangements preceded official interventions. It also reveals the intersections between commoditized labor markets and the hereditary claims of caste. Night soil was removed by a caste of “recyclers” called Halalkhors, whose name meant “those for whom everything is halal and thus consumable.”23 While they had hereditary rights to their occupation within certain neighborhoods, locales, and streets, they were also interpolated into markets in labor. The municipality provided night-soil depositories in response to complaints. A “Halalkhor tax” was also collected. Often occupants paid the tax to the municipality to

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have night soil removed, and that money was used to reimburse the Halal­ khors themselves by city officials. Yet in other circumstances where the city officials had less influence, private homeowners made their own arrangements with the Halalkhors in the vicinity to have their dwellings cleaned. The question of the Halalkhor tax was always a topic of discussion for municipal officials, who regretted their dependence on this caste community for the sanitation of the city. Several Halalkhor strikes, especially during the time of the plague, made that dependence most visible. These strikes were also a response to attempts by the city officials at achieving greater labor effi­ ciencies, as they sought with each passing year to have a greater volume of night-soil collected through the employment of fewer and fewer Halalkhors. But it was likely the caste solidarity of night-soil removers that made their own organization feasible, a labor movement that depended on hereditary status. The hereditary right to their occupation was tightly woven into markets in their labor, and this created opportunities for labor solidarity and thus conflict with the power that prioritized the needs of capital in the city.24 Budgetary constraints meant that officials were regularly torn between the desire to manage the sanitation of private areas and the need to ignore it. For example, when it came to scavenging of refuse, newspapers were reporting on its insufficiency in 1872. A health officer complained to the municipal office that not enough people were employed for scavenging, and it was estimated that ten thousand fewer tons of garbage had been picked up in 1872 than in 1868. But the municipal officer responded by distinguishing the degree of cleanliness of public versus private streets. He defended the cleaning of the “public streets” and distinguished it from the “private” ones: “The real point in which our scavengering falls short is, as the Health Officer points out [in his report], in the cleaning of the numerous lanes, gullies, courts, and by-ways which are private, i.e., which are not vested in the Corporation, and which the Municipality is not legally bound to clean.”25 He strongly suggested that the municipal office be given the funds to clean the private streets and was aware that there would be too much cost. One suggestion he made was to increase the “Halalkhor tax,” to make up this cost. Thus, whenever it was financially feasible, new streets would be incorporated into the municipal office’s areas of responsibility. Official involvement in the issue amounted to a management tactic after private arrangements had been made. Officials could merely augment or slightly amend the terms of private sanitation efforts. For example, the carts used for the removal of night soil were originally made of wood and became highly insanitary, nuisances that would process through the streets at night.

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In 1867, the municipal office became involved in providing upgraded nightsoil carts for the Halalkhors to use. They sanctioned seventy-five new iron carts with approval through a budget meeting of the finance committee. The iron carts cost the officials money, but the expenditure was justified on the grounds that the iron carts could hold double the volume of refuse and make multiple trips since they did not retain the stench. After some time, a lid was designed and provided to the night-soil carriers. The municipal commissioner said about the new carts: “It is not too much to say that while these carts have doubled the working power of the Halalcore Brigade, and abolished those hideous nocturnal processions, and the necessity for the collected soil to stand fermenting all day at the depots, they will repay their cost in a single year by actual saving in the item of bullocks and drivers.”26 Through such small measures, the city officials attempted to constrain, manage, and mitigate the mostly private initiatives that made up the substance of city life. Lighting, plumbing, and roadways functioned in similar ways, with private enterprise first and then public management later. Private peoples extended roads into new building sites as they became necessary. They provided lighting and plumbing of their own accord as well. Official involvement was minimal and often focused only on the densest, southern parts of the city, where officials resided and where the shipping industries were dependent on such infrastructure. Whenever overcrowding was noticed as a problem in the southern parts, a health officer or city official may have commented on the need for “communications” and roadways that would encourage people to settle farther from the commercial center of the city. In some such circumstances, major roadways including north-south or east-west thoroughfares were built. Additionally, a slow and steady process of widening already existing roads in order to enhance ventilation and mobility across the city meant that some property owners were regularly displaced or moved back. However, these projects were few compared to the numerous and imperfect private initiatives, often roadways that were unkempt and hard to traverse or did not drain properly. Residential areas, too, were products of mobile migrants making do within structural constraints set out by commodity markets and their ability to avoid, circumvent, or appropriate for their own gain the benefits of official intervention. In 1884, officials involved in the paving of footpaths complained, “One of the chief difficulties that the Municipality has to deal with is the never-ending encroachment which beginning with a plank, a box, or a stool advances to a semi-attached bench, which again is insidiously

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converted into an ‘otla’ [a narrow raised entrance], first temporary, then permanent, and this becomes (unless detected in time) the boundary line of the future wall of the house.”27 This was the way many residential areas got started: through steady colonizations of land by ordinary, mobile people. Petty shopkeepers used a similar procedure for settlement into the city. The provocations of ordinary people’s settlement patterns justified the creation of new powers. The process was comparable to the one in London, where scholars note that regulators were “never quite catching up with the builders” and expanding regulations in a piecemeal manner.28 In 1886, the chairman of the Municipal Commissioner’s Office, Dosabhai Framji, worried about “the very serious encroachments on the sides of road[s] and foot-paths which [are] everywhere going on from shopkeepers and house occupiers being allowed to project stalls, &c., over the road way.”29 He used this complaint to ask for consideration that executive powers be instated that would allow the city to remove such overzealous users of the streets. But municipal budget meetings were the site for many Haussmann-like ambitions to be extinguished. Large-scale spatial reform projects were to be discouraged unless absolutely necessary. Official expenditure could be approved only on “large works of permanent benefit to the city” rather than small-scale projects, because each had to be justified to the current generation of taxpayers.30 The municipal budget was managed like a business, where revenue ought to exceed expenditures. In an environment where the main source of revenue was taxes and the taxpayers were prone to revolt against appropriations of most kinds, expenses had to be strictly controlled.31 For example, in the 1860s, municipal commissioner Arthur Crawford failed to move industry farther from the urban center because of a wealthy native named Kessowjee Naik, who used the Bombay Association to resist this move.32 Crawford had also attempted to install extensive drainage and collect municipal taxes to cover it, but landholders protested, and he resigned. Native representatives then said they wanted to be in charge. So in 1873, the principle of electing representatives to the municipality was established. Many times, projects for drainage works were contracted out to private firms, and this happened in cities such as London too.33 This was the main reason so many infrastructure projects went undone; each office had a budget and each officeholder a role in maintaining the budget. Amenities such as water and lighting were provided depending on which inhabitants could garner the attentions of official concerns at the right time and whose dispossession could be managed effectively to pursue governmental goals. Some neighborhoods such as Colaba received prompt

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and repeated attention due to its vicinity to the Fort area and housing of European troops.34 To have access to water, communities and neighborhoods could receive public “house connections” into buildings once officials decided it was important enough and financially feasible. In 1886, such house connections were provided for Kamathipura, the red-light district, for “sullage.” There was regrettable delay in completing this project due to “an abnormally large percentage of breakage” of the pipes while being transported from England, for which contractors were held liable.35 Lighting, too, was extended on a case-by-case basis. Colaba was redeveloped significantly in the early twentieth century again when markets in housing justified upper-middle-class redevelopment projects. Only the fisher caste, the Koli, managed to deploy their aboriginal status to be treated as customary claimants exempted from property markets, and they were provided with a koliwada, a Koli habitation, by the sea in Colaba. This was an expedient form of managing the dispossession that was often necessary to engage in any infrastructure projects.36 Officials did not want the government to become a permanent player in the production of shelter but rather wanted to make simple interferences that they thought would have long-lasting effects and render the space more durable and the business of the municipal office more sustainable. The official complaint that the native style of building construction did not produce structures that would last long reflected the concern with durability. The average life span of a native building was forty years, while many did not even make it past twenty years of age. Officials suspected that the bricks used by natives in their construction projects were of an inferior quality. They described the native buildings, both shops and homes, as made of jungle teak, which was used for the main structure of the buildings. Spaces between the wood were filled with whichever bricks were sold in the open market. Better-quality bricks would not require the jungle-teak structure, because they could withstand air, moisture, and the weight of the structure. When poor-quality bricks were used instead, the native buildings succumbed to “wet rot” because the teak gave in to environmental pressures. In contrast, the bricks made by the municipality were of higher quality and could now, because of the decline of the cost of labor and coal required to make those bricks, be offered into the larger market. Officials were able to justify their interference based on their desire to make local buildings last longer. Their hope was that native brick makers would be enterprising enough to learn how to make the higher-quality bricks once introduced to

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them and eventually the municipality’s brick production process could stop, and then the ultimate goal was for the municipality to buy higher-quality bricks on the open market. In 1877, the municipal commissioner of Bombay remarked, “The style of building known as the native principle would then be entirely abandoned, and that known as the European principle adopted in its place.”37 A monetary projection justified this simple intervention, which underscored the difference between a long-term and short-term perspective. Supposedly, 450 buildings were constructed annually until the late 1870s at a cost of between Rs. 4,000 and Rs. 5,000 each. Officials guessed that constructing a building in the “European style” with the higher-quality bricks would cost the same or just slightly more, perhaps Rs. 100 more each, and that such a building would last twice as long, about eighty years in total. Thus, “the adoption of the former method would therefore reduce house rents with­out lessening the value of house property.”38 In the long run and according to the hypothetical computation, the use of European-style bricks would be a cost-saving measure. But this long-term calculation was an official logic, not the time horizon of inhabitants unsure of where they would be in the coming season. This appropriation of production by the municipality was thus being used to effect a permanent shift in the building quality of construction projects throughout the city. Furthermore, poor-quality buildings were being indexed as of a “native” type, while higher-quality buildings were being indexed as of a “European” type. But just as with night-soil removal, technological improvements did not replace manual labor in colonial India; since labor was so cheap, some combination of technology plus labor was often more desirable. The municipality owned a machine in the Panwell neighborhood that made the Europeanquality bricks. Native brick makers could produce bricks of a similar, or just slightly inferior, quality without the initial outlay of expenditure on the same machine at other sites of brick production. The municipal commissioner said, “There is no necessity to use machinery such as we have at Panwell. Bricks little inferior in quality could be made by hand, if the same precautions are adopted as by the Municipality to properly mould, press, and burn them, in accordance with the practice followed in Europe.”39 Furthermore, the monetary cost of the manual labor of the brick makers would not be obstructive since the labor market had already brought labor costs down. Thus, doing without machinery could be monetarily justified because the market involved in the production of housing before this report was

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written had already brought down the input costs, a virtue of even the municipality’s appropriation of brick production. The municipal commissioner explained: The price of the bricks originally made at Panwell by the Municipality was Rs. 35 per 1,000. The reason why I am enabled to make such a large reduction in their cost is on account of the price now paid for coal and labour, and the reduction I have made in the working establishment. The price of coal was formerly Rs. 48 per ton; it is now Rs. 18. The rate paid for labourers was formerly 6 to 8 annas per day; it is now from 3 to 4 annas. The engine and machinery are in thorough working order, and no outlay is required for repairs before utilizing them. There is a quantity of clay on our ground sufficient to last for several years.40

Already by 1877, the price of coal had decreased by a third and the cost of labor halved, following the falling rate of profit. The Municipal Acts were meant to function as a set of regulatory bylaws for the city, yet the gaps between their prescriptions and what actually ­happened were sites of provocation to hone the practice of ordering and rule. They provided the municipal office formal jurisdiction over the organi­ zation of space. Municipal officers could limit the boundaries of building sites, authorize details of building structures, set guidelines for infrastructure such as lighting and sewage, and apportion space among private actors. Often officials complained about either the inadequacy of the Municipal Acts or their enforcement, warranting their augmentation with some updated measures. Revisions and amendments of the Municipal Acts, starting in 1865, then 1872, and 1888, only cemented what one scholar calls a “restive alliance between the elitist and selective urban development ambitions of the local colonial state (the Government of Bombay) and landlordmillowner class interests.”41 Outbreaks of cholera and other diseases resulted in regular occurrences of epidemics in the city, and these were blamed on the uncleanliness of the city and its inhabitants and on defective municipal acts. In 1885, surgeon D. C. Davidson of the Indian Medical Service for the Bombay Municipality complained of the defective Municipal Act and felt himself particularly burdened by his job. He said, “The Health Officer is in the position of the London Policeman, who has orders to make the street Arabs ‘move on,’ but has received no instructions from the Municipal authorities as to where they are to go.”42 Regulating building structures was also ineffective through the

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use of bylaws in the Municipal Acts. Davidson recounted with considerable frustration the following incident: Plans for almost every description of insanitary buildings are submitted. . . . A man intends to rebuild his house, in the rear of which ten or twelve feet of open space had been left for ventilation. On submitting plans he is perhaps called upon by the Municipality to set back his house ten feet. What is the consequence? He does not diminish the size of the house and still leave an open space in the rear of ten feet; he literally sets his house back ten feet, and then builds on the open space which had originally been left for ventilation, thus shutting out light and air from the rear portion of his dwelling, and rendering the back rooms dark, unwholesome dens, into which light and pure air never enter. . . . The most perfect drainage . . . etc. will not effect public health if house sani­ tation is so woefully neglected as it is in Bombay in present time. A privy is occasionally built inside a house and overhanging a well; on another occasion a similar structure is built within three feet of a well of drinking water, and a drain is constructed to carry sewage within a foot and a half of the same well; a privy is built or rebuilt underneath inhabited rooms; and yet, notwithstanding the self-evident danger to the public health ­arising from this and that, such arrangements are opposed to the most rudimentary principles of sanitation, so accustomed have people in Bombay become to them that I have been gravely informed by otherwise fairly intelligent men that such contrivances are “unobjectionable.” In such cases it is hopeless to argue and useless to make comments. . . . [A]ny intelligent man ought to be able to comprehend and understand how his own health and life and the health of his fellow-citizen may be sacrificed to a disregard of the first principles of house sanitation.43

The health officer was bemoaning the limitations of official power and the influence of other motivations besides “the health of a fellow-citizen” in the construction of dwelling units and their necessary sanitation. While money was being spent by the municipal office on “sanitary improvements” such as the widening of roads, street drainage, and so forth, the fact remained that housing was being constructed by private citizens without any regard to the sanitation of the city at all. Thus, the municipality’s work on utilities and spatial widening was being undermined by practices in housing just as it was proceeding. Inadequate bylaws and the lack of their enforcement were blamed. The problem was the cost of each; the costs of municipal sanitation

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in public spaces were too high, and there was no financial motivation for private persons to follow sanitary principles. The health officer cited a prior report from 1870, in which a Dr. Hewlett, speaking of respiratory and other illnesses borne of unsanitary urban conditions, stated, “How can it be otherwise in a city where, in that portion where the masses live, every square yard is of fabulous value, and where there exist no laws to regulate the height of houses and width of streets, or space between the adjacent buildings, and where the internal arrangements are not under any control; where, for the sake of greed, owners of property run up ranges of buildings, divided into as many compartments as possible.” The health officer gave as an example a building on “Dewjee Dongria Street,” which was eleven feet wide, with a depth of seventy feet, separated from a house by a “sweepers’ gully” three feet across.44 Buildings were constructed as large as possible and subdivided into as many “compartments” as possible, in order to accommodate the most number of people at minimum cost. “Greed” is what this health officer used to describe that proclivity. The homeowner in question was unable to value the health of his fellow citizens more than the money he could make by letting out as many units in his building as possible. The logic of commodification consistently ran against the desire for durability. Although the health officer thought the lack of concern for fellow citizens was a problem of the average Bombay homeowner in particular, the fact was that on the basis of financial motivation alone, nowhere and in no city had house sanitation and thus a disease-free city been achieved without state intervention. Housing supply was being produced at minimum costs by capitalists reluctant to invest or solely for the sake of a speculative market in which “the functions of buildings changed frequently.”45 It was difficult for the state to intervene in the property market in the growing city.46 When the Bombay Builder even suggested that employers supply decent housing, which would in turn allow them to reduce wages, employers rejected the proposal.47 It took public funds, financial incentives for private builders, or enforcement of severe penalties in order for sanitary standards to be met and for a durable city to be formed. This fact, that government intervention was necessary to create durability, which ran against the logic of commodification, guided most interventions. Quantifying Housing As official reports, censuses obscure much more than they reveal, but what they do reveal are the methods, tools, and tactics by which governmental

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aims and rationales are imagined. The census reports that claim to record such objects are themselves artifacts of the process of knowledge production. The census reports were themselves tools of city-making projects that began to substitute quantitative information about houses for understandings of social structures, dynamics, and power. In table 1, we can see a tabulated summary of the information found in census reports from 1864 to 1911 for what came to be known as the “city of Bombay.” Since the 1864 report was the first, it could serve as a baseline for understanding Bombay’s growth. The numbers merely follow the data that the census reports provided, and no attempt is made to correct for the frequently changing definitions of housing. The range of housing density across Bombay’s neighborhoods shows how closely people lived in parts of Bombay and how the number of housing units, even with changing definitions, almost always increased. That an “average” is a distortion is readily accepted, but less evident is the use to which “averages” are put and the role they play in marking the emergence of new rationales that need new calculative technologies. For example, although in 1864 the average density per housing unit was 30.59 people per house, this average obscures the fact that in some of the densest areas, such as Dongree, density was 83.57 people per house. The average and the housing density have nevertheless long been used to measure a city. It is through such averages and norms that the space of what comes to be called the city is enframed as an exterior object prone to management, within which housing is a deceivingly simple measure or sign. It becomes a shorthand, replacing understandings of inequality and the fact that untouchable workers lived in worse conditions than caste members, with numerical data that can be plotted to suggest order and the effectivity of governance.48 An average renders a complex reality simple so as to measure its conforming or deviating from a “norm,” the norm itself often being an average of select averages. Housing density was one such technical measure, and each particular measurement conformed to or deviated from a norm. Such practices quantified experiences that were expressed and perceived qualitatively. The technical practices created numerical abstractions and substituted single variables for multiple ones. The constantly changing definition of what constituted a “house” did not render the measure dubious but rather revealed that the tactics of governance could fruitfully evolve in response to the provocations of perceived incompleteness, ineffectiveness, or imperfection in the craft of measurement. Such tactics could be and were perfected.

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23.00 19.56





776,006

979,445

1901

1911 —

30,125

56,959

73,033 tenements, 29,823 buildings

29,691 (23,882 tenements)

25,664

Housing units







*

20.93

30.59

Housing density (persons per house)



51.47

57.70

52.52†

52.14



Persons per acre

22.80

22.40



22.00

18.00



Area of city included in census (sq. miles)

Sources: Compiled by author based on data collected from census reports. Notes: Lack of data reflects lack of information in the reports themselves. Between reports, criteria for measurement changed and the same data were not always provided across reports. * For housing density data for 1881, see table 4. † In 1881, the average number of persons per acre reflected a range of 12 to 67 from Sion to Second Nagpada, respectively.







1891

27.76

20.11

773,196

1881

31.13

62.00

644,405

1872





816,562

1864

Population

% Bombay-born

% male

Table 1. Distribution of Bombay’s population by housing and acreage in the city, 1864–1911

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This method of rendering space technical also made the method a readily transferable and teachable skill through which to enlist numerous others in the task of effective rule. But the skill need not have been explicitly taught. Merely by circulating census reports as officials did across cities throughout the British Empire and beyond, such measurements and averages became commonplace and served to frame the space of the city as an object outside of governmental measures. Each and every aspirant in the task of good governance came to measure his own progress through such quantitative signs to be compared with others. Comparisons also become much easier to perform. Projects that attempted to close the gap between ground reality and aspirational norms became easier to justify. The census report functioned as a pedagogical manual as well as the real object of rule, and producing it itself was the goal for the many offices and officeholders who became enmeshed in the task of governance. It is worth underscoring and repeating that each census was conducted with a new set of concerns and a new set of criteria for measurement. While these changes in criteria attest to the way that housing was culturally constructed and always changing, they also make it hard to justify broad generalizations or discern patterns. For example, in the 1872 census, a distinction was made between the 23,882 tenements and the 5,809 inhabited outhouses. It wasn’t clear what an outhouse was, and census writers themselves disagreed on these definitions. The census official said, Opinions as to the distinction between a house and an outhouse would differ; enumerators in different portions of the city might hold different opinions as to what constituted a house, and what an outhouse, and even in regard to the definition of a “house” there was room for a perverse difference of opinion and interpretation; there could, however, be little room for misunderstanding as to the number of stories or floors in a building, and as to whether a building was inhabited or uninhabited: therefore it is possible that the number of houses by floors at each enumeration afford the most accurate data for ascertaining and contrasting the dwelling accom­ modation of the population at each period.49

As another example, before 1881 the multifamily building or the tenement counted as one house. If it seems that the number of houses increased drastically from 1864 to 1881, one must correct for the fact that what counted as a house also changed. In 1881, each individual unit within a tenement building counted as a house. Due to the overcrowding created by the rural influx

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into the city from the famine, the “tenement” was introduced into the vocabulary of the city census and referred to an individuated unit within a building. This was justified as a “census conception” of a house, whereas the house of the previous census was pertinent to the assessment register, that is, the taxing body.50 The counting of houses and people had to accommodate the habitations and practices of those being counted in order to obtain a more accurate and useful view of city life. After using the previous definition of a house, as that space enclosed between four external walls, officials stated that at a later stage a further definition was considered necessary with a view to ascertain more fully the collocation of the population; this definition was necessarily arbitrary, but still it was capable of practical application and easily understood; a house—or, as I shall speak of it hereafter, with a view to distinguish the house of the first definition,—“a tenement”—was defined to be “a building used for any purpose, or a dwelling-place of one or more families, with tenants, occupants or servants having a separate entrance from a public road or thoroughfare or yard or open space.51

Separate entrances were separately numbered, so that individual tenements could be counted as separate homes. This was different both from what was occurring in England and from the definition used in Bombay in 1872, where one building was one house. Thus, the sheer quantity of houses that increased in this census may reflect that more units were being counted, not just that more units were built. Regardless of how houses were counted through the entire second half of the nineteenth century, it is likely the case that crowding was more of a problem than the quantitative analyses of the census reports tell us. People were likely to underreport how many people slept in a single unit, and officials were likely to overcount units that probably should not have counted as individuated units. Officials likely missed units entirely in their surveys. Additionally, one house, that is, one unit, could have been and often was a multifamily unit. Bombay was also full of multistory homes, a unique feature of the city. An official noted the verticality of Bombay’s building structures when he said, “Of 23,751 buildings in Calcutta, only 6% have more than 2 stories against 33.5% in Bombay (and the buildings in Bombay having more than 2 stories are 3% greater than in 1872).”52 The alarm expressed by census officials in their reports when they walked into houses and encountered overcrowding firsthand tells us more

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Table 2. Neighborhood population density, 1872 and 1881 Area/ neighborhood

Persons to an acre in 1872

Persons to an acre in 1881

Chakla

763.19



Kumbharwada

634.19



Oomburkharee

582.01



Khara Talao

575.83



Market

512.31



Bhuleshwar

501.37



Mandvee

447.19



Dhobi Talao

442.57



Dongree

376.59



Fort, northern

320.18



Parell

9.74

16.74

Sewree

7.95

12.99

Mahaluxmee

7.75



Sion

3.78

4.06

Bombay average

52.14

52.52

Sources: Compiled by author from City of Bombay Census, 1872, 1881. Note: Empty cells indicate data were unavailable.

about the extent and state of poor housing in Bombay in this period than the quan­ti­tative figures can. Many such houses were completely unvisited and unseen by the official gaze. Therefore, estimates about the cost of housing when provided in census records are guesses. According to some, houses ranged in value from Rs. 80 annually, or slightly less, to Rs. 1,000 and upward annually.53 One can see how nonrepresentative an average is by noting that the average was 52.14 persons per acre. The numbers in table 2 show the deviation from the mean.54 In the 1872 census, a table was provided that divided the population density by neighborhoods. Some similar numbers were provided in 1881 for the areas of greatest population increase, called the “rural and suburban” districts: Parell, Sewree, and Sion.55 While table 2 shows population density per acre of land, population density per housing unit also revealed similar inequities across neighborhoods and changes over time. For example, in Dongree, one of the densest neighborhoods in the 1860s and 1870s, the housing density was double, if not more, that of the average in the city, as shown in table 3.

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chapter 3 Table 3. Dongree’s housing density, 1864 and 1872 Census year

Housing density in Dongree (persons per house)

Average housing density in Bombay (persons per house)

1864

83.57

30.59

1872

40.69

20.93

Sources: Compiled by author from City of Bombay Census, 1864, 1872.

The booms and busts of business cycles affect people unevenly depending on their social occupation and positioning. Land-workers, laborers, landowners, and millowners experienced booms and busts very differently. As the cotton boom and bust progressed, the housing density more than halved in Dongree, whereas in the city as a whole it became two-thirds the original amount. Dongree lost more housing stock upon the subsiding of the cotton boom than did the rest of the city, as seen in table 3. These data about Dongree suggest that, while those people residing in Dongree were probably some of the least well-off residents of Bombay through the cotton boom and bust, their housing conditions were also more amenable or responsive to the changing dynamics of the markets in cotton, land, housing, and labor. By 1881, the city’s neighborhoods had continued to grow and transform in uneven ways, and housing density reflected that. Table 4 shows the neighborhoods of Bombay with the six-highest housing densities in the city. Although the average housing density was not provided for that year, we can recall that in 1872, the housing density averaged around twenty-one people per house. Dongree was no longer one of the densest neighborhoods in 1881. Second Nagpada was the densest, and it would remain so for decades to come and also later become the first large-scale project of the Improvement Trust in its first “scheme.” Building structures vertically suggested optimizing land use and increased demand for land in certain neighborhoods. The number of floors per building increased by about 25 percent, and census takers voiced concern that there was no regulation over this or requirements for open spaces around buildings. Most six-story buildings were found in Fort North, while the majority of onestory buildings were in Sion, which was called the “section of groups of villages.”56 As noted, Bombay’s multistory buildings distinguished it from Calcutta as well, where two-story buildings were more common. Tenements, or individuated units within buildings, were most often built from the inside out and were later recognized, tabulated, and intervened in by officials. It was inhabitants and subcontractors who constructed more

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Table 4. Neighborhoods with the highest housing density in 1881 Sections

Persons to a house

Second Nagpada

67.18

Esplanade

55.18

Tarwaree

46.60

Kumbharwada

36.40

Mandvee

35.82

Chakla

33.43

Source: Compiled by author from Census of Bombay City, 1881, 35.

and more walls within units to divide and subdivide housing as the need for accommodation grew. Any building could much more easily have its number of units multiplied from the inside rather than add space on the outside. Given the chains of subcontracting, the owner of a building was unlikely even to know how many units were inside his structure. Thus, units became smaller and smaller. For example, Kamathipura, the section then known for prostitution, had the highest number of tenements of any neighborhood in Bombay.57 The buildings divided into tenements in such a great number indicated intense human effort and organization from within the mobile population producing a hierarchy of occupants, with profit-seeking landlords and indebted tenants combining to form the density that officials observed and maligned. The chall (or chawl), too, was included for the first time in 1881, although it was not specifically defined. It was clearly the local word for a multiunit building that could be used as a dwelling place or a workplace; however, it is not clear in the reports what distinguishes a chall from another type of tenement, but there must have been something, since not every tenement was a chall. Out of a total of 28,315 houses or “tenements,” 4,139 were challs; that is, they were that class of tenements called challs.58 After the plague hit in 1896, the definition of a house changed again in the 1901 census. This constant shifting reveals what an imperfect measure this was and how a drastic event such as the plague necessitated new techniques of management. This time, not the space within the four external walls or the multifamily tenement determined quantity of housing; rather, a “separate house was held to mean a building under one undivided roof.”59 Subsidiary roofs, which connected servants’ quarters to the main roof, rendered the whole roof one roof.

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Figur e 2. A “typical” one-story chawl as rendered by census takers. Drawing provided in the Census of Bombay City, 1901, as an example of a single-story chawl. Re-created by the author.

2]

Such changes in definitions of a house made comparisons of number of houses with previous years all but useless in understanding trends, but they did reveal how housing was still an emerging category through which to read social life in the city. While individual units within one large building counted as a house before 1901, now the shared roof rendered the whole building one housing unit. A sketch of a “one-floor chal,” a prevalent structure throughout Bombay, was also provided in the census report to show how a previous seven-unit structure was now considered only one house (figure 2). In the prior census, “A” through “G” would have been seven different houses; in this drawing, they were considered one house. This made temporal comparisons once again futile. Whereas in 1891 officials found 56,959 occupied houses, in 1901 they found 30,125.60 The drawing, devoid of people, neighborhoods, neighbors, other natural elements such as wandering animals or plant life, traffic, shops, or imperfections in structures of shelter, made a messy object simple. The census was a pedagogical tool, and the inclusion of the drawing revealed that. It was meant to instruct census takers on a suitable method for doing their work. By circulating census reports, such measurements and averages became commonplace; they trained the readers of the census in a particular way of looking. Comparisons would in theory become easier to perform, as did identifying the projects that good governors ought to aspire to. The provision of the drawing in the census report showed that the census was a training manual, not a representational artifact of a distinct reality.

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The census was a tool in a city-making project. Some officials recognized a gap between the official representations and people’s own selfrepresentations, but rather than a gap between representations or a gap between representations and reality, this was turned into the incompleteness of the pedagogical goals of city making.61 The definition by officials of a house as meaning a building under one roof was at odds with the way people experienced their dwelling space, often referring to a single unit within the building as their house: “The illiterate tenant or owner of room A or D or G, calls that room his ‘house’ or ‘ghar’; and we believe that this view of the ‘house’ was adopted by the census authorities of 1891, and that a separate census number was affixed to each of those separate rooms. But, according to the arrangements in 1901, the whole building containing those seven rooms was looked upon as one separate house, and was marked with one house number: while the seven rooms were regarded merely as tenements in that one building.”62 Thus, the number of houses between 1891 and 1901 could not have shown the accurate increase brought about by human efforts at building and subdividing buildings, especially as needed to accom­ modate their growing numbers. Northern sections of the city, especially Mahim, Worli, and Sion, had the largest number of houses. However, there was no overcrowding problem, because a good portion of them were “scattered huts.”63 This showed that the style of housing did not matter, since officials were merely concerned with density of housing on an acre of land. Scattered huts were not considered illegitimate forms of housing. The City of Bombay Improvement Trust’s targets were overcrowded areas from which disease was thought to spread. There was no consistent demand to have housing made of permanent materials. The huts were not marked as illegitimate in any way because they were well spaced out, and that was true throughout the Trust’s operations.64 The tendency among the population was to relocate northward, where more open space could be had and they could potentially escape the plague. Officials said, “If plague leads to suburbanization it will have had one good result. So long as a city refuses inoculation its only safety lies in evacuation.”65 The government had little influence over the patterns of urban settlement until the Trust was formed. By the 1901 and 1911 reports, the City of Bombay Improvement Trust’s work was well under way. In First Nagpada, the site of the Trust’s first “scheme,” the Trust had pulled down many “insanitary rookies [tene­ ments].”66 The most built-up areas were Chakla, Kumbharwada, Kamathipura, Market, Khara Talao, Bhuleshwar, and Second Nagpada. Some census

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officials saw a link between poverty and housing, but not much was made of it: “These facts point very clearly to the high cost of living in the city and the poverty of the majority of Bombay residents.”67 Due to the plague, some areas had up to one-third of their houses empty. The main areas from which people fled the plague were Fort North, Market, Dhobi Talao, Bhuleshwar, Girgaum, and Chowpatty. A major exodus from the plague also happened in Wards C and D.68 While this did create temporary relief in the demand for housing, housing was no less of a concern for officials after the plague. Temporary housing camps sprang up, made by those wishing to leave the dangers of illness but not having homes in the “interior” to return to. Temporary camps also emerged in the northern parts of the city at Mahim, Dadar, and Sion as well as more sparsely throughout the city.69 Watching neighbors die or become infirm created a general state of panic throughout that led people to alter their housing conditions very quickly. Those who could leave did, and those who could not stayed or fled to the temporary camps, which were not considered an illegitimate use of space in the city. In colonial Bombay, housing was used to frame the space of the city as a bounded object available for intervention and to create a durable space for revenue production. Housing was made an innocuous and measurable technical shorthand for the complexity of unequal life and the crises of reproduction and political stability that such inequality produced. The measurement of housing provided a register through which life in the city could be rendered technical and become officially legible and governable. But officials struggled to fix the meaning of a “house,” and the definition changed with every census. As units became subdivided from within to accommodate more people and divide families from each other, it became more difficult to keep track of what counted as a single house. Housing was not an obvious index of city life. It was only after unsatisfactory attempts at trying to assess criteria such as crowding, density, disease, hygiene, or the family in the nineteenth century that housing was settled on as the language with which to govern the city. By the early twentieth century, housing had come to be a stand-in for prior problems of effective rule such as hunger, famine, population, hygiene, disease, and disorder. It became the answer to almost every question that brought to the fore the problem of effective governance.

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4 Disease From Body to Milieu

The global plague of 1896 marks a discursive tr ansition in the city of Bombay’s history in methods and objects of governance. What began as concerns that demanded intimate interventions upon bodily practices of both colonial subjects and their spaces transformed into an art of governing at a distance—of intervening through bodies rather than upon them. Whereas prior targets of intervention were bodily practices of hygiene, the prevalence of miasma in the air, a migrant’s familial connections, and the problem of utilizing natural resources such as land, the target of intervention afterward became a more clearly demarcated city as a set of structures that housed both good circulation and bad. Balancing the movements between commerce and contagion served as an index of “the health of the city” in colonial Bombay and in cities worldwide that were networked into pathways of imperial capital accumulation. Disease spread across East Asia through Hong Kong and Canton as early as 1894 and was found in cities across South Asia including Bombay in 1896 and 1897, continuing onward through ports across the Middle East and sub-Saharan and North Africa, throughout the Old World and into the New World. The plague instigated the transformation of piecemeal urban interventions into concerted and coordinated projects meant to thoroughly renew cities as distant as San Francisco, London, and Bombay.1 Upon the plague, officials could not avoid the fact that the mobility of people was causing the immobility of capital. Restoring what was called the “sanitary credit” of Bombay demanded that mobile human lives be scrutinized as vectors of commerce and contagion, and the city served as a conduit of control for both. Reformers considered broad measures “along sanitary lines.”2 “Slum” removal was taken up to create spatial order so that the city could become a more permanent container for desirable worldwide flows. The problems of keeping the city clean and the population stable had been learned from experiences before the urgency of the plague, such as the riots of 1893 and the numerous cholera outbreaks in the city for decades prior. The riots were reported in British and Indian media as either communal or 113

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anticolonial, each representation a distortion of the factors that led to civic disorder in parts of the city, including collective organization according to class and locality.3 Foreshadowing the problems of population control and labor supply that would become paramount with the plague’s arrival, some ten thousand people overcrowded Bombay’s trains on one day alone upon the riots of 1893. Surveillance measures during the early months and years of the plague had also resulted in riots, but this time the violence, looting, and fleeing of potentially diseased migrants and agitators could no longer be tolerated or circumvented, so new objects of control were sought. According to notions of miasma, the diseases of cholera, dysentery, and plague were caused by subjects inhaling noxious or toxic air that made them ill, leading to illnesses and death and threatening revenue production in colonial spaces. Densely inhabited spaces and unhygienic practices demanded interventions such as ensuring the entry of light, establishing residences and thoroughfares by the sea, and, what was among the most politically costly measures for the colonial state, the quarantining of diseased bodies. But the political and social costs of such interventions were too high. Quarantining people and inspecting their homes against their will could result in political unrest. New strategies were needed that could incorporate notions of miasma but act upon a different site, not on people’s bodies but on a milieu, “the medium of an action and the element in which it circulates.”4 So the built structures and the spaces between them, the medium in which diseased people were thought to act to spread disease, were taken up as the site of intervention. Efforts were made to widen streets, produce less dense habitations, and enlist natives more closely in city reform projects, all to increase ventilation. In doing so, the object of governance shifted from the plague-ridden body to the wider space of the city—from body to milieu. Governing at a distance would overcome the problem of potential and existing riots and resistance to colonial control. As a result of the plague, institutions of governance in the city proliferated to reconstitute the power of capital in the city. According to the census of 1911, the British made up just less than 0.6 percent of the urban population.5 Thus making power effective necessitated dispersing it and enlisting more people in the governance of the city. Concerns about the city’s cleanliness were widespread. Even Tilak, the Hindu conservative anticolonial revolutionary, apparently remarked in 1896: “It is indeed hard to believe that Bombay the beautiful can really be so unclean and unhealthy.”6 The City of Bombay Improvement Trust, the Port Trust, native reform societies, and the Municipal Corporation appropriated new powers and enlisted actors from

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across the colonial divide to coordinate the functions of control. Rather than ally with self-proclaimed leaders of various religious communities to ensure bodily compliance, the environment of the city and the relations between structures served themselves up as more innocuous and effective sites of intervention, circumventing the problems of compliance and resistance. It was through the ordering of the space of the city and subjects within that space that Bombay, colonial India, the commercial world, and something close to but not quite yet “the economy” could be made visible and managed. The City of Bombay Improvement Trust formed in 1898 and consolidated new authorities to the moneyed classes, the most vocal dependents on the city, turning conflict into consensus. Without able-bodied laborers, contagion-free conduits for trade, and prospects for new capital investments, the moneyed classes’ fortunes dwindled. They sought to restore the “sanitary credit” of their city, cleansing their city environments from even the future potential of plague and the flight of capital and labor that could ensue as a result. Rather than understanding the spread of disease as an effect of inequalities endemic to capitalist transformations that had produced compromised practices of shelter, they saw unclean and dense housing as a primary cause. Bombay’s city censuses had constructed a kind of knowledge about housing, living conditions, and family life that could now serve as a tool for the reordering of the city’s spatial relations. The City of Bombay Improvement Trust enlisted such men of capital into the regulation of space through land acquisitions, slum demolitions, building incentives, and opportunities for financial growth. The Trust would supplement the work of other institutions including the Port Trust and the Municipal Commissioner’s Office and voluntary associations such as Gopal Krishna Gokhale’s Servants of India Society, which formed in 1905. Together such institutions made town planning and wholesale town building along sanitary lines shared goals. Such projects, by focusing on the spatial relations within the city, also more clearly demarcated the boundaries of the city and used it to frame what was legitimate and illegitimate. During the early years of the plague, health officers, sanitation workers, the police, and port authorities attempted to identify, quarantine, and racialize unhygienic natives. But what were more effectively being quarantined and bounded were the central and southern business and commercial districts of the city of Bombay. This spatial quarantining demarcated the city or the urban and had long-lasting effects even after the contagion was managed. Plague quarantines were met with so much resistance that better medical and surveillance tactics had to

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be created. But “the city,” once produced as a distinct category and mapped onto Bombay’s “core” central and southern neighborhoods, proved much more enduring than the plague measures through which it had materialized. Such demarcation fixed a relationship between the city, commerce, business, and finance—between the “money economy and the metropolis.”7 The city could now represent or stand in for all the relations of production and exchange, serving as an index of the whole of economic life in colonial India. If the commercial districts of Bombay were doing well, then it could be assumed that colonial India had also recovered economically or would soon. The city turned into the actual site where the totality of economic life began to be imagined, a precursor to “the economy” as an index, a shorthand for the sum total of all its parts.8 Two hundred thousand residents fled plague measures in Bombay, many clashing with authorities violently. This overt conflict between residents and officials has influenced the historiography on the plague in Bombay. Scholars cite this moment as evidence of an insurmountable gap between the colonizers and the colonized, as exemplary of colonial imposition and intervention in native society.9 Indeed, the plague was certainly a galvanizing moment for anticolonial and nationalist sentiment. Several leaders used disaffection with plague measures to argue against colonial authority, and Mohandas Gandhi famously critiqued colonial modern infrastructures such as railways and ports that encouraged long-distance travel and trade as causing the plague to spread.10 But such interpretations require mirroring the very justifications and explanations given by self-proclaimed representatives of the “masses” and officials who spoke of a cultural chasm between English models of hygiene and native ways of life, many of them also, and not coincidentally, the authors of the records that historians have to rely on. Plague measures were certainly used to justify confrontations against colonial officials, but the impetus to intervene in the spatial order of the city in Bombay was one part of a widespread technology of displacement and rehousing of the urban poor in every major city of the world. Interventions to quell the plague were not just a product of racial divisions in a colonial society but were themselves productive of race and class distinctions within the city. The need to respond to the plague created new alliances and consensuses across the colonial divide and against the agency of the laboring and poor. Building upon scholarship that challenges the notion of a monolithic “Western” medicine used by colonizers upon the colonized, we can see how the plague justified the emergence of town planning worldwide.11 By positioning the

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space of the city as a site of collective governance, the city became a more clearly demarcated object of rule that would progressively subordinate and exclude the laboring classes. Every measure to halt the plague had resulted in a countermeasure to resist or circumvent control, which in turn required retooling on the part of governors, a learning process that would ultimately change the targets of intervention from bodies of travelers to the milieu of the city as a whole. Once quarantining, exclusion, and medical campaigns had been deemed ineffective measures, urban planning was created to serve the aims of epidemiology. Such efforts homed in on the “slum.” A “slum” came to indicate shelter in which mostly migrant workers dwelled together, where there was little ventilation, lighting, or means to dispose of waste. It was also the name given to less revenue-producing housing from the point of view of municipal taxation. “Slums” had the ability to reduce the commercial viability of the city; they were the overcrowded or dirty quarters, which were especially troubling if they were located in the center of the city, near the elite quarters in southern Bombay. Slum clearances and building of spaces “along sanitary lines” were the only way to restore the city’s status as a world port, or so it was argued. Conduit of Control The plague severely threatened Bombay’s commercial status within colonial India and across the world. Laborers were leaving the city, and even the smallest shops were closing their doors; very few people felt safe in the city. As a result, business stagnated, investors retreated, transactions halted, and commercial firms sought out new centers from which to conduct their operations. The effects could be felt on every rung of the social ladder. Merchants experienced a decline in the quantity of purchases and sales. Migrant and settled laborers saw their incomes decline. Even those who chose to stay found themselves bargaining their wages even lower in the more competitive labor market, where demand for their labor had contracted. Before the outbreak, Bombay had been the center of India’s cotton production. The cotton industry employed over seventy thousand workers, or 10 percent of the total population. The ships that carried goods traveled out of Bombay and were themselves seen as threatening to the commerce and exchange they made possible. As one scholar has noted, “It was frightening that not only cholera but also the dreaded Black Death could make its way on British ships from India, through the British-controlled Suez Canal, and

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into Europe’s Mediterranean or Atlantic Ports.”12 The British, faced with the threat of embargoes against Indian goods, quarantined ships at Indian port cities, isolated the ill, and took greater control over people’s mobility. In 1897, the Epidemic Diseases Act was passed, which satisfied some international trading partners. The act allowed for inspection of ships, isolation, and quarantining to prevent the spread of disease. The impact of illness and death varied widely across the world and was not confined to cities alone. In a span of twenty-five years starting in 1896, India’s mortality rate due to plague outnumbered that of the rest of the world combined by a factor of four. In India, approximately 12 million people died, whereas in the rest of the world combined 3 million succumbed.13 Rural mortality surpassed urban mortality by the beginning of the twentieth century, and yet much of official attention was focused on the cities. A physician on staff at Johns Hopkins University visited Pune during the plague and reported that the experience “left him ‘with an indelible impression of dreadful nightmare’ similar to what he imagined physicians felt in the fourteenth century.”14 But every measure to halt the plague resulted in a countermeasure to resist or circumvent control, which in turn needed a rethinking and reorientation of tactics on the part of governors, a learning process that would ultimately change the targets of intervention from bodies of travelers to spaces of communication. Prior riots in the city in 1893 had already underscored the importance of controlling space. The city became a space to control, and the decades immediately following the plague were when management, reform, and planning were beginning to be codified practices. Port towns and inland areas provided nodes in which to potentially halt the spread of contagion. By reducing human mobility, reordering space, and setting up spatial conditions to avert outbreaks, officials believed they could halt the disease in the present and secure Bombay’s status as a commercial center well into the future. Consider the case of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca by colonial India’s Muslims. The practice was undertaken by a minority of Muslims in India yet was used to stigmatize the entire religion, justifying interference in the businesses of particular Muslim merchants. Imperial officials across the world were appropriating hajj networks into imperial networks, with imperial aims, and so the plague served as an opportunity to exercise control.15 Sick and diseased bodies were on the move, causing panic throughout imperial systems. Pilgrims were targeted as carriers of the plague and thus posed a threat not just to colonial India but far beyond, and especially to

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Europe. The Bombay Gazette reported in February 1898 that the British Medical Journal advised following Russia’s lead: The importance of Mecca as a . . . disseminator of cholera, by means of Mohammedan pilgrims, by whom it is visited annually, is thoroughly understood, and it is not surprising that all European Governments, including Turkey, should hold strong views regarding the possible danger of plague being spread to Europe by pilgrims proceeding to Mecca from infected areas in India. . . . Jeddah, the port of Mecca, was last year an infected port. . . . This is a subject of importance for those concerned not only with the pilgrimage from India, but from every part of the Mohammedan world. It is reported that Russia has decided to maintain the prohibition of Mohammedan pilgrimages from Russian territory for the current year; and it would seem that this is an example which other Governments— European, African, and Asiatic—would do well to follow.16

The British Crown, especially after 1857, had resolved to practice noninterference in matters of native religion, at least in theory. The plague, however, and the suspicion it aroused about mobility changed that. According to the gazette’s report: “In January and February, 1897, plague in Bombay was increasing by leaps and bounds. . . . It needed no little moral courage to depart from the traditions of non-interference with religious customs by which the Indian Government has been guided so long.” This religious interference could now be justified since there was a commercial venture tied to the pilgrimage. The report continued, “It is believed that the plague was introduced by Hadramaut and Yemen merchants who trade with the pilgrims at Mecca.” The religious pilgrimage turned into an opportunity to blame Muslim commercial actors. The British government of India followed suit, halting all pilgrimages to Mecca from Bombay. The aims to increase circulation had spread not only commerce but also contagion. Distinguishing good circulation from bad entailed drastic measures at times. So exceptions were made and mobility was almost halted, not only of contagion but also of commerce. “[The] Government of India has treated the Bombay Presidency as an infected country, isolating it from other parts of India. No person resident permanently or temporarily in the Bombay Presidency is to be permitted to embark from any port in India with the object of making a pilgrimage to Mecca. . . . The ports which are open to pilgrims are limited to Karachi in Scinde and Chittagong in the lower provinces of Bengal.”17 But to the frustration of officials, many

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circumvented these measures and undertook the hajj regardless, occasionally using the ports left open. In Bombay, it was only once the contagion was recognized as a threat to commerce that the problem of intervening in housing in a broad scale way was conceptualized. Whereas in London, even before the onset of plague, the Cross Acts and the Dwelling Acts were at least legal recognitions of the fact that poor housing was prone to market failure, or a result of no one wanting to build housing for the laboring poor since it was not remunerative. “Slum properties” were understood to be logical outcomes of low-rentpaying abilities on the part of poorly compensated workers, since no builder would be willing to build for the laboring poor because they could not recuperate the costs. Kamathipura, a very dense neighborhood with vertically built structures, provided an example of how unclean Bombay had become. The neighborhood’s infamy as a place of sex work only served to further justify intervention and reform.18 The municipal commissioner wrote: I take one district in Kamathipura. Seventy percent of the buildings in this district are more or less unfit for human occupation from imperfect ventilation, and until Dec 1896 the effects of the imperfect ventilation and darkness were intensified by dampness caused through the position of the water pipes generally at the back of the last of the rooms. Most of the buildings consist of double rooms separated by a narrow passage. Some passages were so narrow that it was difficult to walk down them. On both sides of the passages are rooms. At the back of the rooms is a little open space wide enough to allow one to easily turn. On one side of this space was a water pipe—on the other side a privy. All the clothes of the house are washed in this little space. The pavement is cemented and sometimes paved roughly, and is always wet from the dripping of water or from the washing of clothes. The walls of the outer rooms are splashed and wet. Except the front rooms, which often have no openings other than the door ways and the back rooms which open on to this little space, with the privy at one side and the water pipe on the other, the rooms have no means of ventilation. The entire rooms are in darkness and sometimes have a water pipe inside them. Dwellings of this kind depress the vital powers.19

Seventy percent of dwellings in Kamathipura were designated “unfit for human habitation,” but Kamathipura was not alone in being stigmatized in this way. Kamathipura’s residents along with their counterparts in other

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neighborhoods had lived like this for years, if not for decades, before the plague, taking up residence in vertical structures, dividing and subdividing units, constructing connecting passageways, using their space as nightly shelter after working long hours during the day, and even turning their homes into places of work. Numerous descriptions such as these were proof that a new kind of intervention was necessary, one that shifted the focus from the bodies of migrants, pilgrims, and the infirm to the spatial relations within which they lived in the environment of the city. The description of buildings in Kamathipura was driven by prevailing notions of miasma, namely, that poor light and bad air harbored disease, while ventilation and good lighting could get rid of it. Narrow passages certainly did not let light or air through, which meant that moisture and darkness prevailed. The focus on passageways for ventilation and lighting foregrounded the relations between units and buildings rather than the contents of each. Instead of focusing on who lived inside the units, it was the units themselves and the spatial relations formed by them in total that caused concern. Quantitative assessments belied notions of norms and averages from which Bombay’s structures deviated, which could only be corrected by large-scale projects. In the following description, the final rhetorical question conveys this shift: “[L]et us enter a building in Khara Talao inspected by His Excellency the Governor. There is a ground floor and a room over it. The length of the ground floor room is 111 feet and the width 18½ feet. There is no means of ventilation on either side. In fact the room is a passage with a door in front between closed walls. We counted in this room 19 men, 21 women, and 17 children. What a life! What can anything done outside this room do for the people in their misery inside?”20 It was clear here that the task was to sidestep the people themselves, and act upon them from at a step once removed. But now, by more systematically quantifying the conditions that facilitated and ameliorated miasma, such descriptions started to turn the focus of intervention from bodies to the environment as a whole, what would later be called the “built environment.” What would have to be changed was not exactly the insides of the houses but the relations between the housing units, the relations between the rooms, the relations between the buildings, and the relations between the closed and open spaces that encompassed everything inside a building and the building’s relation to all other buildings and structures outside of it. Roadways, connectors, parkways, paths, and particularly shaped buildings all became objects of great concern. Such descriptions paved the way to justify removing the right to build housing at all; instead,

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regulations and standards would have to be met. The growing crisis required thinking of “housing” in a new way, as a field of conditions including communications between houses. Cities were surely nodes of human mobility but were also fixed structures within networks of trade, and, as the latter, they could be improved. The immobility of capital was caused by the city breeding disease. The global context of plague mapped onto the routes of capital and labor flows. What was called a decline in the “sanitary credit” of Bombay meant that business declined, investors retreated, transactions stagnated, and foreign firms exited Bombay. The effect of this was a decline in business, job losses, and the reduction of the population of Bombay. Thus, many vested interests, both British and Indian, had to restore the sanitary state of Bombay in order to restore commerce. The laboring poor were most stigmatized by the onset of plague. In seeking refuge away from the plague measures, they were criticized as being ignorant, for presumably not realizing that by moving they were spread­ing the disease. Forms of temporary settlement had meant that people did not invest in building clean and suitable accommodations for themselves; instead, people crowded together. In Bombay, the residents huddled together in dense and squalid ways, several families to a unit, within dense buildings and neighborhoods built over the several decades before the plague. Then the plague prompted a mass exodus of Indians and Europeans alike. Officials left when they heard of those among them succumbing to the illness. They began to fear for their own lives and asked leave from the imperial bureaucracy for permission to return to England. Those left in the city became embroiled in the give-and-take of fear and suspicion, inhabitants fear­ing the sanitation officials and sanitation officials suspecting inhabitants of har­ boring contagion. Those Indians who could, returned to their villages seeking refuge from the disease and from the city, while those who could not, migrated a few kilometers northward to sparsely populated neighborhoods such as Sion, where marshlands became sites of temporary accommodation, only worsening the condition of the built structures of the city. From Conflict to Consensus The plague heightened latent tensions and created new anxieties between governors and governed in colonial India. The entire affect in Bombay was changed by the plague. Officials on behalf of the colonial state including health officers, sanitation workers, the police, the army, port authorities, and

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railway officers sought out more effective forms of control, while other vocal observers of Bombay became more suspicious of the aims of governance. It made sense in such a context that people would seek their own housing rather than live in official shelters. So people were on the run, literally running away from checkpoints at shipping ports, railway stations, and hos­ pitals and throughout the city. Two hundred thousand people fled the city during the plague.21 Wards C and D had the highest number of entirely abandoned houses.22 Migrants sought refuge not in good housing but from sanitation officials, medical workers, the police, and even other sick people. At the same time, city officials, including those who worked in the Munic­ ipal Commissioner’s Office and those who were new and would later be placed in the City of Bombay Improvement Trust, were scheming and plotting ways to take full control of the city’s plague problem. City officials complained that native residents were becoming aimless, even emaciated, wanderers or worse, purposeful fugitives. One official’s account made a resident’s desire for mobility seem almost like insanity, as if mental illness were a result of the disease: The following is a case that escaped from Bombay on the 11th of October, an account of which will be interesting. A labourer by name P. T., caste Wani Waswul, was living on the north side of Musjid Bridge near the Police chowkey [post or station] and working in a godown at Colaba. In the afternoon of the 11th October, he felt feverish and afterwards noticed a swelling on the right foot, and became anxious to leave Bombay, and sent a telegram to a brother in Dhulia that he was coming to him. He left Bombay on the night of the 11th. On the morning of the 12th he arrived at Chalisgaon station. There he hired a tonga and on the way became very ill, but he now noticed that a bubo had appeared in the right groin, and, according to the account given by himself to the doctor at Dhulia, before his death, he was so terrified at the sight of the bubo that he fainted away. He reached Dhulia that evening, and died in hospital on the 14th of Bubonic Plague. This case illustrates the extraordinary desire to go somewhere or wander anywhere, that came over people suffering from Bubonic Plague.23

According to this account, presumably given firsthand by the ill man to a doctor, the man’s sight of potential illness in himself, in the “bubo” on his right groin, was so terrifying that he fainted. People had become afraid not only of illness but of everything that could suggest it and was suggested by

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it. Bearing witness to one’s own body succumbing to illness signified not just personal disease, but also potential interference from city officials and all the loss of autonomy that would necessarily entail. The official observed, “The desire to wander—the delirium of the disease—is very strange and pathetic. A patient, with a temperature of over 100 degrees, suddenly becomes influenced by his desire to wander. He leaves [his] house, and if he is wealthy, he drives to a Railway station and tries to proceed to some place, and he cannot tell you why. I noticed this desire to wander in all classes, and it often precedes high fever and delirium.”24 The wealthy, the poor, Europeans, natives, and even people once accustomed to being transported by ambulances, were found to have jumped out of the ambulance midway through the journey just to avoid quarantines and treatments.25 People were motivated to keep their illness and disease from the officials. One official reported that he was told no one was in a room in Kamathipura when he visited. While standing outside the home, he heard a moan, upon which he opened the door. He found a woman inside with a fever.26 In another house in the same neighborhood, he found a very ill man locked up in a room. Apparently he had been confined there by a relative or friend who had gone away the night before and in his absence presumably wanted to protect the man from officials.27 Yet another instance involved the case of a “madwoman” from a chawl in Mandvee, who had no one to take care of her. When removed to the hospital by plague officials, she purportedly recovered.28 The majority of officials’ narrations of such encounters included their noticing that the room of the ill inhabitant was completely dark. People were so petrified of officials’ interference that they sometimes threatened to kill themselves rather than see a loved one removed to a hospital. According to one account: On one occasion in Kamathipura an incident, at once hilarious and pitiful, occurred. A boy, a Hindoo, had been living in a Parsi family; he contracted the disease. He was in a house near the entrance and on the way to one of our stables. We made the usual arrangements for the removal of the boy. The family in which he lived were much attached to him. As soon as the Health Department Inspector told the family that the boy would be removed to the hospital, the Parsi ladies objected and exclaimed they would not permit the boy to be removed; and before the lad could be removed, 13 Parsi ladies surrounded the bed, and with knives in their hands shouted that they would kill themselves if the boy was removed.

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The affair was telephoned to me in office. The Assistant Health Officer and I directed the Police to be sent for, and the Officers of Police came. By this time a large crowd had collected, the street was full of people, and the streets converging were thronged with great crowds. The crowds were kept back from the house, but the Police and the Health Department had formidable opponents in 13 Parsi ladies, who threatened to take their lives if the boy was removed. It was now past dark and we decided to wait till next morning, and next morning when I came to see the boy he was dying. He died while I was in the room. This is an instance of opposition met with, yet the boy was a Hindoo and the family were Parsis.29

As formidable a force as thirteen Parsi ladies threatening to kill themselves undoubtedly was, this was not even the most extreme case. Such episodes would not serve any official well in making the case for keeping his job. Officials struggled with such outbursts, most especially from elderly women, who seemed categorically against officials’ efforts to halt the spread of disease. Elderly women appeared in the records as insurmountable obstacles: “On another occasion we were followed through the streets by an old woman with her hands up who called down curses on our infamous duties.”30 Mistakes were also liable to occur, as sometimes ill people were mistaken for healthy and at other times perfectly healthy people were mistaken for ill. Closing the gap on such mistakes was important to the legitimacy of public health: Here is what I saw one morning in the street behind the Municipal stables and running past the end of the chawl occupied by Municipal sweepers. The Municipal ambulance carriage was standing in the street. In a verandah lay a boy, unconscious, and apparently dying. As I came up he was being lifted into the ambulance. By the door of the ambulance stood one man, and two men lifted the boy into the ambulance. Before he was placed inside and before the hands that were joined underneath in lifting him had parted, he suddenly sat up, jumped on to the ground and ran away up a narrow gully. We followed him and caught him in a passage, and to our surprise found he was not ill from plague. Apparently he was liable to fits of unconsciousness in one of which he had fallen on the verandah and been caught by us.31

These kinds of mistakes created tensions between those trying to stop the disease from spreading and those trying to avoid falling into official hands.

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It undermined the notion that plague officials were acting with discretion and for a public good. It also cast officials as unable to know the population, in that they could not even make out when people were healthy or ill and distinguish between those who needed help and those who did not. The first case of a European becoming ill was on November 12, 1896, in the Fort area. The European, referred to as “Mr. S,” had gone to Pune for a short period, where he reportedly “moved about the slums of this city . . . and may have contracted the disease.”32 Also, that someone in the Fort area was infected was very alarming given the large European and merchant population there. An entire large chawl, where eight hundred people resided, was said to be infected in Fort.33 An official observed, “The desire of the people, when ill, to go somewhere, and especially to their country home, even when their homes were far away, was very remarkable. The same disposition I noticed in Europeans, when ill.”34 No area of the city seemed spared from the illness. Accounts were offered as exemplary of conditions in neighborhoods and locales found throughout Bombay, from Colaba and “a lunatic asylum in the far south” to Worli and “huts occupied by scavengers” in Upper Mahim and Mazagaon.35 Municipal lands required permission to occupy them, and such permissions often caused the production of sheds for housing. Some residents, knowing that dead rats were signs that rodents transmitted the disease, took it upon themselves to acquire permissions to settle lands farther north that were owned by the municipality and where they would live in sheds. A request from one resident stated, “As some dead rats are found in the house I am living in, and as I am afraid that it is infected with the plague, I want to vacate it temporarily and live in some sheds.”36 This request and the permission the resident obtained demonstrate that temporary sheds were officially recognized as less likely to be infected, and their construction allowed people to vacate diseased buildings without too much financial investment in their housing, all of which was officially sanctioned. Officials decided that natives were not willingly sacrificing enough for the sake of the city. There was too much resistance, they felt, to interferences that were meant for their own good. A plague official remarked: “The people here had no conception of the sacrifices willingly made in European cities for the prevention and suppression of infectious diseases. Even in a free country like America, and in the city of Boston, I find the following regulations in respect of the isolation of children suffering from infectious diseases adopted: . . . Every parent or guardian of any child or ward infected with small pox, scarlet fever, diptheria, or membranous croup shall immediately

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cause such child or ward to be conveyed to some isolated place or room approved by the Board of Health.”37 There should have been a willful giving up of one’s personal desires for the greater good, such as occurred even in “a free country like America.” Instead, riots and revolts against official agendas of quarantines, solitary confinement, demobilization, and forms of medical and bodily violation added to the frenzy brewing as illness spread recklessly across the subcontinent. Hospitals were seen as suspicious; they were where one went to die, and, what was worse, the sick were made to die in isolation. That women’s bodies were exposed to the official gaze was particularly unnerving. Social reformer Pandita Ramabai commented: “The poor Purdah women who would never think of uncovering even their faces before strangers, had to submit to the most repulsive and humiliating treatment by male doctors, and had at that time to be exposed to public gaze. . . . They did not even so much as put a screen between the women patients and male visitors.”38 Some particularly confrontational episodes allow us to see how housing played a role in the management of laboring populations during the plague. In one episode, a Bombay mill was overtaken by approximately one thousand workers, who demanded that patients inside be released.39 Another case of mill workers involved an attack on a hospital: On the 20th of October, 500 mill-hands assembled on the road outside the Arthur Road Hospital and threatened to wreck the building and carry off the patients. On the 29th, some 900 or 1,000 mill hands collected and rushed into the compound of the Hospital and threw stones at the building chasing the staff into the offices and inside the hospital. Even some of the patients were struck by the missiles and all were greatly terrified. The news of the disturbance was at once telephoned to the Police who promptly appeared on the scene. In this disturbance one of the ambu­ lance vans was smashed, and the roof of the hospital damaged.40

Regarding this incident, the official distinguished mill hands from scavengers. The mill workers were a class of laborers who were easier to manage since they lived in worker housing and could therefore be isolated: “The mill hands could more easily than even the halalkhores and scavengers be segregated in their own buildings, and besides the Managers of the mills had erected huts on open ground for their workmen.”41 That the managers had constructed housing, more specifically “huts,” for their workers meant that the mill hands could be kept separate from other workers and could

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be monitored since they lived at their place of work. Worker housing for these mill hands included huts on open ground, proving once again that building housing with impermanent structures was not just a migrant worker tactic, but was also a tactic of capitalists, imperial managers, and offi­cial bureaucrats. The Halalkhors and other scavengers, were another story, serving as an example of how tactics to control the plague were developed in response to resistance. The entire city was gravely dependent on the scavengers, without whom the health of the city was doomed. But the scavengers threatened to leave the city and were stopped by officials blocking their means of transport: They spoke of leaving the city, saying that if the “setts and sahebs” left, they would also require a change of air. A little later they tried to leave the city, and we had in despair to appeal to the Agents of the Railway Companies and the Agents of the Railway Companies and the Agents of Shepherd’s Line of Steamers to refuse tickets to all scavengers and halalkhores. It is not necessary, even if it were wise, to dwell long over all the difficulties that beset us, but great peril had been avoided by prudence. I will only add that the men were watched without flagging by the Sirdar Abdul Ali under the instructions of the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Vincent, and that they did not baffle the skill nor evade the vigilance of the Police.42

This forceful blocking of the scavengers movement aroused the sympathy of many people. The commissioner of police warned the Municipal Commissioner’s Office that riots were about to break out if something was not done. People were not going to put up with being forcibly removed to hospitals and other measures. The municipal commissioner pleaded that without those measures and the maintaining of the Halalkhors in the city, the city would be ruined. An official notice was issued on October 30, 1896. That announcement saved the city. Had it not been issued and had a riot occurred, all business would have ceased; the people, including all the scavengers, halalkhores and drivers of the Health Department would have surged out of the city in a panic-stricken mass, uncontrollable in their frenzy and flight, carrying pestilence to the towns and villages around Bombay. Bombay would have been ruined, and every town and village close to Bombay overtaken by the calamity. The stricken crowds of people flying from the city would have been so vast that no force could have

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controlled them; at the same time portions of the town might have been fired and plundered, and total ruin might have come on the city.43

The Halalkhors held, particularly up until the 1890s, a near monopoly on the sanitation of the city. The city was dependent on them, and they had thus engaged in strikes and bargaining tactics to secure and enhance their positions. In the country, during the famines, price rises, and starvation episodes, rioters destroyed account ledgers; in the city, ambulance vans, hospitals, and plague officials suffered the anger of the people.44 For instance, a group of Muslims reacted with hostility when they were asked to isolate an infected twelve-year-old girl. Fearing that she could not be protected from medical observation, riots broke out in Bombay in March 1898. Hospitals and other buildings were attacked.45 On Falkland Road, a crowd stoned an ambulance. Soldiers were brought in to quell the anger and “drive the crowd back.”46 Many ambulance vans were reported damaged. Complaining of police having to be constantly called in, disturbances having to be settled at every occasion, and the need to rescue those employed for the sake of sanitation, an official said: “Fortunately, the hostility was not directed against the men on conservancy duty; it was directed against the men removing the sick and those engaged in treating buildings. But a more dangerous problem was the sympathy between the scavengers and halalkhores and the mass of the population.”47 The sympathy among the natives against the officials was most worrisome for officials, as it threatened to undermine their efforts even in places where they still had people’s trust. The most infamous protest against British authority in particular was in Pune, where Walter Rand, in charge of antiplague measures in the Bombay Presidency, was killed by two brothers belonging to the Chitpavan Brahmin caste. This was an important moment in the beginnings of Indian nationalism and had a particularly Maharashtrian undertone to it in Pune. It also showed the way that the con­ flict over official interference in public health was widening a gap between what was perceived as a repressive state.48 In addition to open rioting, relations of tenancy frustrated sanitation efforts. When asked why they did not have their houses and buildings cleaned, residents claimed that the landlord should be responsible, but of course no one could find the landlord: “In the large buildings in Mandvi the tenants would not employ people to clean down the passages and spaces outside the rooms, as they said it was the duty of the landlords. They maintained that the landlords should do it, and we could not find the landlords.”49

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Divisions within buildings and units were made among inhabitants and sublessors and sublessees; owners and landlords were far from the scene. There was not even an effective law to hold landlords accountable for the housing conditions they were providing. Temporary measures were established allowing officials to forcibly remove the ill to hospitals, break into houses for inspection, and forcibly quarantine people or buildings to prevent the spread of contagion.50 Evaluations of housing styles led to condemnation, removal, and reconstruction and were suggestive of how “civilizations” did or did not progress. But it made sense for capitalists all across the empire to become absentee landlords, to not take on more expenditures than necessary, and to switch focus from agriculture, to commerce, to industry as opportunities availed themselves. Yet some officials insisted on their worldview and often spoke of customs and traditions that they believed prevented the making of more clean housing: To show what strange customs prevail, I need only refer to the defence put forward in the Police Court in a case where cows were kept on the ground-​ floor of a dwelling. The plea urged was that the cows were kept for religious purposes, the ladies of the household having to worship them in the morning. I believe the plea was true. . . . In September, a large number of Bunniahs living in Mandvi went in procession to the sea and thus showed themselves willing to do everything to appease the gods; but at the same time they did little to cleanse the overcrowded houses or chawls.51

While that was the official view of local housing conditions, locals had their equally extreme explanations for official places of sanitation. In response to the temporary measures and the extent of force used throughout the city, residents petitioned the municipal office against such measures, saying: “It was stated that the hospitals were places of torture and places intended to provide material for experiments. The Officers of the Health Department were charged with a brutal pleasure in dragging the sick from their homes and in killing them, and it was stated that our Sovereign Lady the Queen had demanded 500 livers of the people of Bombay to appease the wrath aroused at the insult offered to her statue. Men have said to [us], ‘You think we are like mad dogs, and you want to kill us, as if we were.’”52 Such sensibilities were clearly in response to a very real fear of quarantining, isolation, and death. Another account described a petition from a group of influential citizens:

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Hospital life being unknown amongst the people, the patient himself was most averse to being removed and deprived of the care and comforts he could count on in his family, and his removal was looked on, both by himself and his attendants, as certain death. In this petition it is stated that, if the regulations continued to be enforced a much larger number of inhabitants would fly from Bombay. The petitioners demanded that the regulations should be carried out by all municipal subordinates with care, judgment, and tact; that friends and relatives did not like to part with their sick nor see them taken to hospital “recklessly”; that “house measures” should not be entrusted to young and raw European and Eurasian lads; otherwise there would be more discontent and panic, and so on.53

Many inhabitants left or threatened to leave the city. They were aware of how dependent on them the city was, and they wanted to have a voice in the course of treatment and sanitation. The municipal commissioner claimed in his defense in 1896: “From the beginning the greatest attention was paid to the disinfection of houses and to the segregation of the poor. I believed from the first that the room where the patient lay was the place from which the disease might spread. There were, therefore, two principles kept in view to the treatment or disinfection of the rooms of the building and isolation of the patient. We never had to adopt the system carried out in Hongkong of walling round an infected area.”54 But this had not been enough to calm people’s fears, even if neighborhoods had not been walled off. The general logic could prevail at least for officials that if a city’s housing was unsightly, then the society could not progress and benefit from the new state of world trade. In every city hit by plague at the turn of the century, the laboring and poor were recast as unsanitary and unruly objects for governance, but the laboring poor, because of their proclivity to rebel, had to be circumvented for the sake of their control. The poor became racialized in particular ways in each place and in each neighborhood, positing cultural affinities for unclean ways of life. Just as Nandini Gooptu has shown for Uttar Pradesh, the urban poor came to be marked as particularly dangerous, prone to disrupt law and order, spread disease, threaten collective hygiene, fuel communal and nationalist agitation, and threaten the very viability of the city as a place for commerce and imperial civilization. Increased policing in the cities by the 1920s and 1930s sought to surveil and immobilize the poor, thereby not only responding to class conflict but fomenting it even further.55 “Natives” often turned on each other, trying to save themselves from illness

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by demanding intervention in others’ lives. Aged men, from whom officials expected “sage counsel,” became afraid, “calling out, ‘lost,’ ‘lost!’ and crying to [them], ‘burn,’ ‘burn.’ . . . Many fled from their own fears, and in fly­ing frightened others. Some who might have been expected to be calm, if they did not remain silent, kept calling to others to fly and save themselves. They wantonly called on the Health Officer to burn down districts as if [he] had not chemicals to do, with not less certainty, what fire does.”56 The habitations of the infirm, the poor, were stigmatized in opposition to superior qualities, occasionally associated with the natural condition of an advanced society, a potential only the elite of the cities had. To solve the problem of resistance to plague measures, local leaders formed new institutional bodies, from which they themselves could gain from reordering the space of the city. A committee of representatives of differ­ ent communities was created in December 1896. It included Balchandra Krishna Bhatawadekar, K. N. Kabraji, Ismael Jan Mahomed, O. V. Muller, A. D. Mody, N. N. Katrak, and about ninety other people, consisting of Parsis, Mohammedans, Hindus, and Europeans, all of whom sought the sani­ tation of the city.57 They issued a notice called “How to Avoid the Plague,” which suggested cleaning the crowded parts of the city. A consensus was created that the city, and the housing of the poor in particular, required major intervention. An attempt to rid the city of disease was made by flushing large quantities of carbolic through drains, sewers, and pipes, in warehouses and shops.58 Before the establishment of the City of Bombay Improvement Trust in 1897, several hundred slum dwellings were destroyed, as a part of what scholar David Arnold has called a “comically thorough campaign of urban cleansing.”59 In this period of consensus about the city, powerful Indian capitalists joined forces and continued to sidestep demands to improve laboring conditions and housing. But the Trust would undertake more widespread and different measures, shifting the focus from particular houses to the relations between structures. Rather than merely disinfect and destroy diseased structures, it would build new ones along “sanitary lines.” A cadre of reformers were made caretakers of the functioning and health of the city and were authorized to surveil current conditions and plan future ones. Conflict over the antiplague measures resulted in new consensuses across communities that agreed that intervention was needed in the arena of poor housing. Restoring the “sanitary credit” of the city was cast as a gain for the “whole” of the city and its inhabitants, obscuring the fact that the gains of such restoration would accumulate at the top. Not coincidentally, controlling the forms of habitation

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of the laboring and poor was recognized as one tool for the disciplining of labor. Further, by encouraging complacency, loyalty, or allegiance to landlords and employers, many of whom were often one and the same person, social bonds could be used to control the “dangerous” population. The official historian of the city of Bombay, Stephen Meredyth Edwardes, spoke of this newfound attitude toward governance as a result of the plague in 1902: A second most fortunate legacy of the plague is the wider mutual acquaintance now existing betwixt the official classes and the people, coupled with the presence in the city of a body of men, who are prepared to work gratuitously for Government, and to act in seasons of difficulty and distress as mediators between them and the uneducated masses. This condition of affairs has not been arrived at without trouble; distrust and sullen obstinacy were at first rife, and culminated in the plague-riots of 1898. But the city is less impatient now of the actions of “the Sirkar,” recognises more fully that the order[s] of the official, be he military officer or doctor, are directed toward the common weal[th]. . . . The spectacle of good citizenship and self-abnegation, which the census week presented, will not lightly be forgotten by him who witnessed it—the spectacle of men.60

Where there previously had been impatience toward the actions of the “Sirkar” (government), a “body of men” positioned across institutions worked towards the “common wealth” by intervening in poor housing and taking upon the government of the city. Because the “sanitary credit” of the city had declined, merchants, too, found themselves aligned with official interests. The outbreak of plague was the catalyst for government officials, for the first time, to successfully interfere in the totality of the field of housing in Bombay. Such interventions were made possible because of the newly forming consensus around the problem of poor housing as having an effect on the city as a space for capital. Capitalizing City-Space The plague instigated a discursive transformation in Bombay whereby new ordering tactics would reinstate the movement of capital. Measures such as quarantining individuals, stigmatizing subsets of communities based on assumed proclivities toward disease, and inspecting the interiors of homes met with resistance, rioting, and noncompliance. These methods gave way

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to a more innocuous and indirect method of rule, namely, a conception of the city as an ordered space in which adequate housing conditions were determined no longer by corresponding the number of houses to the population density, but by distributing physical objects in space in precise ways and according to neighborhood and town plans set out in advance, so as to increase the likelihood and probability of producing desired outcomes. This would make a more oblique but effective imprint on the problem of sanitation and produce a city as a sign of colonial India’s well-being. The problems of housing and shelter were incorporated into conceptions of the totality of the physical environs of the city, and, as such, the relations between physical structures served as a target of governance with temporal and spatial horizons that imagined futures and indexed economic wellbeing beyond Bombay’s immediate vicinity. The relatively simple numerical calculations that determined housing density before the plague were not abandoned, but rather were incorporated into broader conceptions of the city as planned space. Sanitation was still a preventive measure against disease, but it now found its aims addressed by this new focus on relations between structures, units, corridors, alleyways, roadways, rooms, windows, doorways, dark confines, number of inhabitants, number of privies, laboring hours of inhabitants, and so forth, all of which ensured ventilation and light to control the still prevailing notion of miasma. Most importantly, such measures served productive ends, not the merely preventive aims that sanitation had previously served. Rather than prevention of hindrances that blocked desired results, determining the relations between objects could produce effects. By setting out optimum dispositions in the population, town plans could ensure that the city order would guide inhabitants toward participation in commerce and the production of wealth. In doing so, the city’s economic well-being was a sign of the economic wellbeing of colonial India and, for some, even the colonial world at large. The actual words used in the official archive of the Trust reveal the rationale of the time. In the title of the institution, “improvement” was meant to indicate a “comprehensive scheme” including all of the following terms, but not in a piecemeal way as before: “ventilation, density, insanitary dwellings, overcrowding, prevention, market value of buildings, revenue.”61 Each of these words appeared on the opening page of the Trust’s first published report. They were discussed together as a way of systematically thinking about the totality of the buildings, structures, and spaces between them as a single object, with each a component part that functioned best

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when placed in optimal relation to the other parts to encourage commerce and ameliorate contagion. There was no ambiguity or confusion about the relation between ­working-class housing and the need to contain sustainable governance of the city, the latter of which depended on a steady revenue stream so that city improvement would be not only financially sustainable but also beneficial from the perspective of capital. In the first few pages of the report, the priorities of the Trust were clearly laid out, including “surveys, etc., for providing better housing for the working classes, that being a matter of great urgency, second only in importance to the measures to be taken to develop the revenue resources.”62 The need to provide police accommodation was also noted, and the neighborhood of Nagpada was marked as an early target of the Trust’s intervention. In total, five initial schemes were proposed that would reorder space and produce revenue. These were “large projects of magnitude” rather than “petty projects” and included First Nagpada and the construction of some fifteen thousand feet of new streets, forty to eighty feet in width, “running for the most part through back lanes and alleys, and the acquisition in connection therewith, with a view to their reconstruction, of extensive areas of badly built, overcrowded and insanitary properties lying on both sides of the lines of roads.” In spite of the Municipal Corporation’s efforts over the past several decades, its piecemeal efforts at hygiene had produced limited results, as evidenced by the plague having halted trade. The problems of housing and shelter needed to be solved in a more coordinated fashion. The municipal commissioner admitted to the importance of trade when he was defending his measures against petitions by people who were threatening to leave the city: “Had at any time matters been pushed to extremities, there infallibly have been a general exodus of the halalkhores, scavengers, labourers and cartmen, and in the general panic the dock and mill-hands would also have fled the city, putting an end to the last remnant of trade, and completing the ruin of Bombay. The Plague would have been carried throughout the Presidency where there was no organization capable of controlling the movements of the fugitives.”63 The remaking of Bombay as a commercial center needed a variety of social classes. That dependence on the working classes was crucial in forming the kind of political consensus necessary across colonialracial lines to enact the interventions in the space of the city. Housing for mill workers had included huts on open ground constructed by millowners, proving once again that building housing with impermanent

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structures was not just a migrant worker tactic but also a tactic of capitalists, often condoned by the Municipal Corporation and even sanctioned through official colonial state policy. These huts served to isolate mill workers from other workers so that any agitations would not be generalized and thus would remain ultimately ineffective. In this way, it was likely the relation between huts that was at stake—the closer they were to one another the more likely labor combinations would arise. So what mattered was no longer the structure itself, not the building materials or the quality of construction, but rather how each structure worked with the others to form a whole. Scavengers had been particularly important to combating the plague, but managing them was not as easy as the mill hands, since they did not live in a clearly defined location but were spread out throughout the city, connected to their own “setts and sahebs.” Divisions between landlords and tenants, too, punctuated sanitation efforts. Absentee landlords could not be held accountable for cleaning up buildings, and yet residents were keen to defer responsibility to these men whom they had likely never met. Municipal officials blamed the residents’ customs for unsanitary housing conditions, citing a few instances in which they could not get residents to comply with sanitation suggestions. All such instances together pointed to the need to coordinate action to restore commerce. Governors of the city homed in on the newly identified problem of the slum, moving away from the governing of the colonized body into the governance of the space of the city, by its reordering. The slums of Bombay made an impression upon everyone who visited them. Given that everyone agreed that the urban poor could not continue to be housed in slums, the only question that remained was where the poor were to go. How were they to acquire compensatory housing once the slums were cleared? Who ought to assume responsibility for housing the urban poor, the state and its institutions throughout the city or private actors such as landlords or employers? The City of Bombay Improvement Trust was formed in 1898, with W. C. Hughes as the first chairman, at a moment when distinctions between public and private, state and society, and imperial governance and selfgovernance were being worked out. Through the history of the Trust, we can see a reorganization of the aims between public and private, for example, rather than assume that these were already formed and operationalized in the institution. To restore what was called the “sanitary credit” of Bombay, the Trust would work indirectly upon inhabitants by rearranging the relations in the space of the city, circumventing the problem of the poor’s resistance and their not wanting interference in their lives. The drive to

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reform housing and improve the sanitary condition of dwellings was the main activity, even if there remained disagreement and naysayers who doubted the effectiveness of such measures. For many critics, the Trust was yet another example of the failure of topdown interventions to deliver on its promises. Critics throughout the Trust’s history mobilized competing conceptions of the virtues of public as opposed to private enterprise or imperial governance as opposed to self-governance, in each instance producing a distinction between society and the state. However, such critiques produced that distinction even though both society and the state, both private initiatives and state initiatives, were implicated in one and the same project, namely, to reorient Bombay’s population to the benefits of commerce. In other words, situating the working classes on behalf of the interests of capital. What the Trust exemplifies is not the failure of colonial might or the lack of implementation of city planning but the power of capital and finance to coalesce with an evolving and dynamic state apparatus. The space of the city was central to that process of coalescing moneyed interests with state authorization. Most scholars look at the Trust as an institution of the state and so see it as enacting a “public” function, albeit poorly and mostly failing at its goals, but such a view is misleading. The Trust was not a “state” institution but rather an institution in whose history the meanings of state as opposed to non-state, public as opposed to private, and imperial governance as opposed to self-governance were reconstituted. In contrast to the view that the Trust served as a colonial state institution for a failed project to produce a public good or was a public-private partnership is the understanding that the Trust was an entity that reorganized the Municipal Corporation’s prior distinctions between “public” and “private” by coordinating the interests of private capital in the city of Bombay. Some scholars have also argued that the colonial location of the city meant that access to financing was limited for expenditures on infrastructure by employers.64 Yet others have pointed to the fact that Bombay had the most international banks in all of India and “more Indian merchant bankers, financiers and accepting houses than . . . any other city of India.”65 Strangely, Bombay was both a seat of capital and a space in which relatively low capital investments were made. But because it was a financial instrument, the Trust combined finance capital precisely with disinvestment in space since the problem of low resources for investments in housing or infrastructure was overcome by the deployment of financiers and financial logics in Bombay, which kept both “public” investments low and financial gains high.

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Financializing or capitalizing the space of the city was an innovative solution to the problem of poor housing. A vast network of moneyed men converged on Bombay and used the Trust to elevate their social positions and extend their affiliative bonds with one another. The Trust functioned as a financial instrument whose capacities to securitize the purchase and control of land and housing in the city were deployed by the imperial government, employers, and moneyed elites in the city. Ultimately, the Trust ended up seizing lands across the city by using limitless financing by the government; finance became integral to city making. There was no motivation to keep the cost of acquisitions down, creating a speculative boom and pricing out portions of the population whose inclusion in the space of the city had been the original reason for the Trust’s creation. As before, resistance by Indian capitalists to improve housing led to new practices of governance to overcome their resistance and encourage them. One way to manage their nonparticipation was to make spatial reordering beneficial to them, by enlisting them through opportunities in land, labor, and finance as the Trust provided. In spite of working at a monetary loss, the City of Bombay Improvement Trust displaced and rehoused a significant portion of the city’s laboring and poor populations. One of the justifications for creating the Trust, according to the board of the Improvement Trust upon its founding, was that property was a source of revenue and thus should be able to fulfill its revenue-­ producing potential. The Trust offered to become the poor’s permanent landlord, a paternalistic position they welcomed given all the gains to be had from it, including revenue. The housing tax was still collected, and better structures meant the potential to regularize an income stream for tax collectors. A secondary reason for creating the Trust was to provide better housing conditions such that dwellings would not become crowded locales of contagion. The Trust would ideally reinstate a revenue stream in the city, through the house tax, but also reinstate and even enhance revenues through trade for private actors and the city as a whole by creating the conditions for trade. The removal of some housing either from the purview of employers who had become slumlords or through sale on favorable terms to developers was a recognition by the Trust that neither the Municipal Corporation’s piecemeal regulations nor the shortsighted and individualistic aims of particular employers/slumlords had provided sanitary housing for the poor and laboring classes. Sanitation in the city required much more coordinated action than could occur with employers acting on their own, so the Trust enlisted private capital into a coordinated effort at governance. Most especially by

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bringing instruments of finance into the renewal project of the city, the Trust reorganized the governance of the city in ways that lived even beyond the Trust’s dissolution in the 1930s. By the end, its use of a commercial logic and attempt to deploy commercial agents on behalf of governance was the Trust’s own undoing. Even though the Trust was dissolved and folded into the Municipal Corporation, its effects were far-reaching. Elite moneyed interests gained from managing the problem of sanitation in the city, but the governance of the city on behalf of capital became seen as a public good that did not favor inhabitants differentially. The City of Bombay Improvement Trust also had a pedagogical function. It served as a site through which experiments with resolutions to unsanitary cities played out, solutions that could inform similar efforts elsewhere. In the 1930s, the Delhi Improvement Trust was formed. But undertaking the Bombay Improvement Trust’s pedagogical lessons required local will and the availability of finance, which was not possible everywhere. Some tension remained as a conflict between merchants and city officials. For local merchants and commercial elites, unsanitary housing was profitable because it kept the costs of social reproduction low for the laboring classes. The Bombay Trust’s activities proved to be a temporary moment of agreement between the two groups. Where commercial elites and merchants could get away with not supporting interventions in poor housing, they did so, keeping their labor costs low. This was especially possible in other major cities of the Bombay Presidency such as Karachi and Aden, which served as Bombay’s peripheries, and even within some unofficial parts of Bombay itself. The financial schemes set forth by the government to finance the City of Bombay Improvement Trust were able to keep moneyed interests invested in poor housing in Bombay, but the financial schemes were not broadly applicable due to changing economic conditions by the 1930s. The plague of 1896 transformed the targets of governmental intervention in colonial Bombay. Whereas prior targets of intervention were bodily practices of hygiene, the prevalence of miasma in the air, a migrant’s familial connections, and the problem of utilizing natural resources such as land, the target of intervention afterward became a more clearly demarcated city as a set of spatial relations that housed both good circulation and bad. Striving to achieve the optimum balance of commerce and contagion meant promoting good circulation over bad circulation. This served as an index of the city’s well-being. Methods of governance after the epidemic shifted from the plagued body to the space of the city so that governing at

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a distance could overcome the costs of political resistance to control. Institutions of governance in the city proliferated to reconstitute the power of capital. The City of Bombay Improvement Trust, the Port Trust, native reform societies, and the Municipal Corporation appropriated new powers and enlisted actors from across the colonial divide to coordinate the functions of control. The total environment of the city became the innocuous and effective site of intervention, circumventing the problems of compliance and resistance. It was through the ordering of the space of the city and subjects within that space that Bombay, colonial India, the commercial world, and something close to but not quite yet “the economy” could be made visible and managed.

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5 Capital A Self-Governing City

I n t h e h istory of t h e g ov er n m e n t of c ol on i a l I n di a, municipal offices were the first elected and partly representative bodies. While the municipal commissioner was appointed, other members were elected. Municipal governance had been transformed in the 1880s by the viceroy, George Robinson, known as Ripon, in the spirit of bureaucratic decentralization of the British Raj. These reforms gave municipal corporations legal autonomy by authorizing elected seats over appointed ones and giving elected representatives more control over their still very limited budget in terms of raising revenues through taxation and prioritizing expenditures.1 The reforms extended the franchise to salaried and propertied inhabitants three- to fourfold between the 1880s and World War I, according to some estimates.2 But representation still paled in comparison to that in other cities such Glasgow or London; this was a source of constant agitation as voiced by the leading newspapers in the interwar period. Scholars claim that establishing municipal autonomy exemplified the devolution of colonial power from the upper echelons of the imperial Raj towards localities that sought self-rule, fueling anticolonial nationalism but also nullifying its effects. This, scholars have contended, is because in reality “autonomy” meant that mostly English-educated elites and propertied men were given the power to “represent” their communities within the structures of imperial governance.3 Reforms thus offered room to critique colonial practices but not the power to dismantle imperialism, since only those who sought better imperial governance could and would participate in municipal affairs. Relative municipal autonomy also meant that fewer funds were disbursed from the imperial center. Municipal councils and corporations were made responsible for sanitation, lighting, and town infrastructure, which they now had to pay for themselves by establishing a tax base. Ripon himself explained this measure by claiming that the devolution of power gave natives an opportunity for instruction in self-rule, thus furthering the colonial civilizing mission. Ripon argued that such educative concessions would do more to secure imperial control than excluding 1 41

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natives, as was advocated by the administration of William Ewart Gladstone and exemplified in the very exclusive India Council in London.4 Critics at the time and subsequent scholars have thus argued that although municipal corporations were partly elected bodies, this masked the ways in which the governance of the city was productive of the state’s power. But there is more to be understood about such reforms than the critique that “autonomy” was a guise of imperial control or that it was too severely restricted to be effective. The emergence of the City of Bombay Improvement Trust in 1898 occasions an opportunity to reconsider the productivity of governance in Bombay. Rather than mourn the limitations and incompleteness of offers of self-rule or its ineffectiveness in practice, we might consider what was actually produced by appeals to the promises of selfrule.5 Such an approach would focus not on a gap between the doctrine of liberalism and its practice in colonial spaces but rather on a patterned set of critiques of state-practice that produced effects in governance. In colonial Bombay, this meant that just as critique of the lack of representation in municipal affairs was mounting and becoming successful, vested propertied interests were allying to form other, alternative institutions such as the City of Bombay Improvement Trust and the Bombay Development Department to sidestep such demands. While numerous strikes including a major textile strike in 1919 were pressuring the government to extend the franchise to those paying Rs. 5 per month in rent, and some were even championing universal franchise in the city, a silent coup transferred power and authority from the Municipal Corporation, now too political and compromised, to the Trust in 1898 and then again to the Bombay Development Department in 1920, sidestepping limitations to the power of capital at each turn. The Bombay Development Department was meant to “ensure the coordination and subservience of [the Municipal Corporation’s and Trust’s] schemes vis-à-vis their own” and was to “become responsible for ‘all questions regarding the acquisition of land in Bombay city’ and for dealing with the Municipal Corporation and Trust applications for loans to finance their own urban schemes.”6 Clearly, every action produced a reaction, and movements produced countermovements. The municipal offices had been up until then, in spite of being at the lowest rung of the bureaucracy, authorized to disperse funds to schools and hospitals and for public works.7 But if the Municipal Commissioner’s Office seemed like a localized or private corporation inside the colonial regime, then the opposite appeared true for the Trust. The Trust appeared, at least initially, to be a partially public body for a public good that brought the

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concerns of trans-imperial space to bear upon city environments. It could do this by enlisting the government and private capital. But its overt “public goals” of health and sanitation concealed its imbrications in state-financial networks. The Trust created new mechanisms for investments, land acquisitions, and rearrangements of the social order through the rearrangement of spatial relations to secure revenues. By partly masking its statist imbrications, such an institution could serve to legitimate state agendas ostensibly by extending the practices of “self-governance” that had begun with the Municipal Commissioner’s Office. Celebrated first for the changes it would bring to Bombay, it was later criticized precisely for those imbrications. The Trust would reappropriate public functions into private hands through the instruments of finance and new rationales of governance. In doing so, it would solidify the distinction between finance and usury, with the former framed as legitimate by the space of the city and its banks and the latter as illegitimate, tolerated but admonished. The distinction descended from and was dependent on a distinction between public and private. As early as 1872, the Municipal Corporation had distinguished between public and private, advocating for scavenging and cleaning to be a public function, as the health officer at the time, referred to in the following comments, suggested: Remarks have recently been made in the newspapers on the imperfect manner in which scavenging has been carried out of late. . . . I must say that, as regards the scavenging of public streets, there is very little indeed to complain of. It is impossible to find any accumulation of garbage. Of course we cannot keep up men enough to enable all the streets and lanes to be cleaned by 8 am; and people who go about in the morning, and see that a street has not yet been cleaned, are apt to fancy that it will not be cleaned at all. The real point in which our scavengering falls short is, as the Health Officer points out (in his report), in the cleaning of the numerous lanes, gullies, courts, and by-ways which are private, i.e., which are not vested in the Corporation, and which the Municipality is not legally bound to clean.8

The problem at the time was that private streets were unlikely to be cleaned without force.9 Much frustration was expressed in subsequent reports over the lack of care taken in privately run properties in the city and the need to make sanitation a task of the Municipal Corporation. But resistance from property owners and taxpayers always resulted in partial gains. The Trust

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was formed in recognition of the fact that only through enlisting the interests of private capital could the city be “cleaned” at all. It thus cemented the networks that would keep credit and commerce moving and trained them on city space. The meaning of the Trust was therefore formed by excluding the prior conception of the state as a site of repressive and negative power. Instead, the Trust displayed or staged the state as an arranger and coordinator of the aims of the people. It rearranged the links between finance capital, banks, bankers, land, housing, space, occupants, law and regulations, and elected bodies. Most importantly, the Trust provided a new content to the meaning of “public” as apart from “the state,” a meaning that made the governance of the city itself appear like a public good. In doing so, the Trust legitimated the Sirkar, as Edwardes had noted when he said, “But the city is less impatient now of the actions of ‘the Sirkar,’ recognises more fully that the order[s] of the official, be he military officer or doctor, are directed toward the common weal[th]. . . . The spectacle of good citizenship and self-abnegation, which the census week presented, will not lightly be forgotten by him who witnessed it.”10 The Trust proliferated institutions that took the “city” as an object of governance, seeking through town planning to “improve” the city toward particular ends such as commerce, trade, and revenue. The Trust through the “government” of the city made the colonial state appear almost absent in urban life, at worse, “self-governance” providing costume for imperial circuits of finance. Governance by local merchants could provide the appearance that unfair commercial relations were being tilted in favor of Indian merchants. The colonial emphasis on agricultural improvements and production also made the British Raj appear like an agricultural regime interested in cultivating primary products for export rather than an urban one interested in spatial order for commercial security. But it was increasingly through cities that such governance was operationalized. Numerous anticolonial and nationalist leaders, who campaigned in villages and the countryside, received their political education in city offices. Commodities were traded through exchanges located in the cities, banks that financed production were located in the cities, shipping houses were located in ports in the city, and the money changers, usurers, and overlords who facilitated extraction from the villages had investments in the city that were routed through more “legitimate” and financial circuits. Both the colonial regime with its concerns for agricultural production and municipal offices located in cities were networked into the same routes of credit and power, even as the municipal offices were partly elected bodies and the Trust

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was enjoined by native capital interests. This was what one historian has called the “urban-centered logic of colonial state space.”11 In the Trust, members spoke of the “commerce” and “sanitary credit” of “the city,” but not of “the economy,” “the market,” or “urban life.” The latter are abstract concepts that refer not to particular and concrete relations of production and exchange but are shorthands for the sum total of them; such abstract concepts would only emerge years later. During the first part of the twentieth century, the Trust was still using notions of the city as a particular city, in this case Bombay, that had a particular revenue base; commercial prospects due to its unique infrastructure that included physical things such as roads, ports, buildings, warehouses, and factories; and social infrastructure that included particular people of capital and labor. When plans were made, they were “town plans” that would encourage city improvement. Thus, “the city” was coming to be seen as a concrete referent, an index that could make the entirety of world commerce conceivable and manageable in one site. The Trust needed methods that would induce dwellers rather than restrict them toward sanitary goals that would serve commercial ends. This is why governance of the city necessarily entailed a “comprehensive” scheme that was distinguished from and not a “petty project.” In other words, at least in the imagination of Trust officials, they were going to undertake a total renewal of the city, not just single changes that would spur growth. A Comprehensive Scheme The City of Bombay Improvement Trust housed and rehoused a total of 9,928 people of the “poorer and working classes” in thirty chawls between 1898 and 1908, that is, in the first ten years alone, and the Trust displaced even more people. By the end of its existence, before it was joined with the municipal office in 1933, it had housed a total of 44,900 adults and spent Rs. 148.27 lakh on its projects. It estimated that it spent Rs. 330 per housed adult.12 The total cost of the Trust’s activities always exceeded its revenues. In the initial decade of activity, the Trust spent Rs. 2,137,364 and collected rent of Rs. 2–4 to Rs. 3–6 per room, making Rs. 101,797 annually in revenue. It estimated the “capital cost per adult accommodated at Rs. 215.”13 Commerce in Bombay depended on ensuring particular flows beyond its immediate vicinity for its functioning as a viable space for capitalists to collect and enhance their portfolios. The retreat of capital due to the plague was detrimental to the city’s functioning. Vocal elites both in favor of and opposed to the formation of the Trust were aware of the consequences of

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not solving the sanitary issues in their city. The stated goals and ambitions of the City of Bombay Improvement Trust were so vast and multifaceted that at the Legislative Council Proceeding of 1898, the Trust’s chairman, W. C. Hughes, said, “I was recently asked if this was only a paper scheme, or does it really mean business. Being as it is no mere paper but one of very real intentions, it has been impressed upon me that no time should be lost in making a start with the improvements, as I am told such a step would go a long way to increase confidence on the part at least of foreign traders.”14 Likewise, Balachandra Krishna, a proponent of city improvement, echoed, “If it [the bill for city improvement] succeeds in its object its benefits will be derived not only by the city but by the Presidency; and even the country at large. In fact, if the ideal is fully realized its good effects will reach in a manner the whole civilized world. As a great trade centre Bombay can claim kinship with the whole world.”15 There was agreement that something had to be done to clean up the city, and the Trust’s goals were generous and necessary, even in spite of the differences of opinion about how exactly the task would be accomplished. Rearranging the spatial relations in the city was a priority most especially for those who experienced losses to their financial and commercial enterprises and wanted to restake their claim to the world of commerce. The Port Trust and the Chamber of Commerce joined with the Improvement Trust and the government of India to restore business to plague-struck Bombay.16 The Trust anticipated and accepted that it would lose money to house the working classes. In subsequent years, it continued to build housing for the working classes, but the financial losses started weighing on the institution. Critics from both within and without pointed to its mismanagement of money, failure to achieve its lofty goals, and inability to sustain itself financially. The Trust was ultimately amalgamated into the Municipal Corporation after the depression of the early 1930s, putting an end to the ambitious intentions of its founders. Everyone from census writers to concerned or frustrated urban inhabitants had used vivid descriptions of slum life to achieve varying goals in the past, and the motion to pass the bill to form the City of Bombay Improvement Trust was also one such moment. William Mansfield, first Viscount Sandhurst, or Lord Sandhurst, the governor of Bombay from 1895 to 1900, accompanied on one such visit by Balachandra Krishna and Mr. Dharamsi, had visited slums in Bombay, and this increased his zeal for the Trust’s activities. City leaders praised magnanimous imperial visionaries as they worked together to rehouse the poor. The overcrowding of laborers into

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forms of shelter beset by illness and death made an impression on all visitors and motivated reform. Dharamsi, however, succumbed to the plague himself, dying before the meeting to present the bill. On his behalf, Krishna spoke of the “beneficent measure” of the bill, which would always be remembered and “cherished as a blessing.”17 In his final closing remarks at the proceedings of the Legislative Council of 1898, Lord Sandhurst said, The re-housing of the poorer classes is one of the most important and attractive provisions of the Bill. I do not wish to refer too often to my visit to the slums with two honourable members, one of whom is alas no more. But when I visited those slums they reminded me most graphically of the stories that one used to read a few years ago regarding the dens and cellars in London; where the poorest classes of the great metropolis herded together; where those who had to live by the sweat of their brows had to drag out a miserable existence. We do hope that by these particular provisions of the Bill we shall conduce to a higher state of civilization and of greater vigour on the part of these people who contribute so much to the material wealth of this city. These people deserve our sympathy and assistance. We desire to place them in better houses, so that not only will it let the sun into their houses but into their hearts and into their very existence, and thus terminate the sad state of things amongst them which at present cannot but be one of unhappiness, combined with toil. My honourable colleagues, the times are troublous in Bombay, and the cloud hangs yet heavily over the whole of us in whatever position we may find ourselves placed. But I do believe that a brighter future must be in hand, and that the most efficacious way of bringing it about, is on the lines which I have endeavoured imperfectly to explain. With the confident hope and earnest belief that what I say is true I ask you to give a first r­ eading to the Bill.18

His words brought together the temporal and spatial framework in which Bombay’s slums were seen. For Sandhurst, the slums were not unlike London’s slums, which had achieved notoriety all throughout the nineteenth century and continued to remain at the forefront of all imperial officials’ minds at the turn of the century. Municipal officials and census writers circulated their reports and read analyses of demographic growth and especially urban problems all throughout the British Empire. The City of Bombay Improvement Trust was formed to remedy the city’s sanitation problems, making the city “a medicalizable object.”19 Before the plague, the only engagement with housing conditions had come through

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the Municipal Commissioner’s Office. Now the colonial government of India was inserting itself more explicitly into Bombay’s affairs, resulting in the deployment of numerous actors in the projects of slum clearances and poor housing reform. Before this moment, the Bombay Municipality operated like—and its officials believed themselves to be a part of—a semiautonomous institution apart from the British Crown’s authorities. The creation of the Trust changed the relative autonomy of the Municipal Corporation. Now the Municipal Corporation was imbricated in a network of institutions more explicitly focused on the city. Through the Trust, the imperial government reinserted itself more explicitly into local urban affairs, and private capital became enjoined in the task of governance. Criticism of the financing of the Trust’s work was based on the notion that the imperial government was giving the Trust full reign to take money from the Bombay Municipal Corporation, and lengthy debates ensued between corporation members and trust members. But in effect, the Trust would integrate the Bombay Municipality into an institutional network of imperial governance structures including the Port Trust, reform societies, banks, land surveyors, developers, and planners, bringing the question of the city’s housing into the broader question of the optimal spatial arrangements for the movement of colonial capital. The Trust succeeded in coordinating these by enlisting colonial capital in its aims. The formation of the City of Bombay Improvement Trust in 1898 began with a debate in the Legislative Council. Upon discussion of the Trust’s for­ mation, “Bill No. 1 of 1898: A Bill for the Improvement of the City of Bom­ bay and to Provide Space for Its Future Expansion” was introduced by the president of the assembly, Sandhurst, who acknowledged that it was unusual for the president to introduce a bill, but he assured the members present that this was a “most unusual occasion” and that his “action need not be con­sidered a precedent.”20 Several key people were present. Both Indians and English­men had taken it upon themselves to be the caretakers of the city and placed themselves in a rather paternalistic role, seeking to care for the poorest of their fast-growing city. It is important to remember that this meeting was conducted at the onset of the plague in the city, in a state of panic when procedures could be justifiably improvised. The meeting had been delayed for legislative reasons and because illness had struck even members of the council such as P. M. Mehta and Dharamsi, whom Sandhurst acknowledged with gratitude.21 The timeliness of the Trust’s formation could not be contested, as Bombay’s conditions needed intervening in, and only ambitious and drastic measures could restore the city’s sanitary credit.

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While the mobility of the plague was the most important impetus for the bill’s introduction, India’s particular conditions demanded “a bold and comprehensive scheme for the improvement and extension of the city of Bombay.”22 Before proposing the bill, officials had consulted the reports of the Bombay Extension Committee of 1887, England’s Housing of the Working Classes Act of 1890, and the Bombay Port Trust Act of 1879.23 Comparisons to the issue of housing England’s working classes were made repeatedly throughout the meeting of the Legislative Council. Sandhurst stressed that the city was denser than London, “crammed with people of various nationalities, creeds and castes, with their ancient customs and habits and beliefs[, which] make it extremely difficult to deal with them under circumstances of such an epidemic as the plague.”24 Sandhurst vocalized some of the unique characteristics of Bombay, which would require forms of intervention well above and beyond simple improvements in living conditions. These included the excessive diversity of the city of Bombay, the caste system, and the numerous religious practices, customs, and beliefs that must have seemed strange to official observers. Simpler solutions to the problems of sanitation had been proposed, such as demanding death registration and creating building codes and bylaws that would have to be enforced, but Sandhurst argued that such administrative changes would not permanently improve the condition of the city. The main goal of the Trust would be to ventilate crowded areas and restore the activity of building on sound principles, suggesting a need to rethink the particularities of individual buildings as structures to a guiding logic through which the activity of building ought to take place. At evidence was the shift from individual bodies and units to the relations among them. A report from a concerned health officer was included in the municipal commissioner’s report of 1898–99, in the earliest stages of the Trust’s activities. The health officer recognized as priorities of the Trust the construction of buildings, the laying out of streets, identifying the best distances between adjacent structures, and allocating open spaces accordingly. The health officer questioned the power of such interventions given the other factors including “economic conditions,” “wages,” and the lifestyles of the poor that contributed to the insanitary condition of some areas. The fact is, the poor classes in Bombay will not tolerate interference beyond a certain amount. The economic conditions that oppress them are so rigorous that they will defy interference when it proceeds beyond a certain stage. The weight of opposition is so great that it resists and repels the

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pressure of authority. The authorities are few, the people are many. The real matter is this: if overcrowding is to be diminished, not only dwellings but relief for the poor must be given, and much higher wages. The construction or improvement of buildings is but the first step in relief. All relief is now voluntary, and generous as the relief in each community is, it is only to help the healthy who can seek it. . . . There are over 100,000 people in Bombay who sleep on the floor and on the outside of buildings! Imagine the effect of this state.25

This was certainly an attempt to make the wage a concomitant concern with the construction and reform of the physical structure of dwellings. When a locality has been improved, what is to be done about the improvement of the state of the people? This in time will be asked. I wrote last year on this subject: “The city may give water and keep the ways of the city clean, and do all else that is sanitary, but it cannot give clothes nor food to all the destitute, nor a bed to each one of the 100,000 or more who sleep on the damp ground.” Take the most sanitary building in Bombay and allow the poor classes to enter it, and in a few weeks they will make it as insanitary as the most insanitary area. So that, therefore, the improvement of dwellings and localities is but the first step and easiest step.26

But even the health officer agreed that the physical environment was the “first step.” He later suggested providing infrastructure for communication to “Dharavee” in the northern suburbs to relieve the pressure on the population in the south: Other areas in the suburbs should be prepared for population by com­ munications being opened to them and through them. In some of these portions the only buildings are huts, nestling amongst mango trees, or hidden in garden foliage. More than one-fourth of the island is sparsely populated and large portions unoccupied; to this area roads must be constructed. I attach great importance to a railway proposed to be run by the Port Trustees from the harbour, N.-E. and N.-W., across the island. The tramway ought to be extended to the north, and a roadway ought to be constructed on either side of the Tulsi pipe line from Dadar right north. All the roads in the suburbs should be widened before buildings are erected on the sides of them. This would open a large area right up the centre of the valley to the sea estuary at Dharavee.27

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The disagreement could be characterized as one in which the health officer argued that the inhabitants made the housing, and their low wages and poverty prevented them from making the housing clean. The Trust, however, functioned as if the physical housing made the people, so the Trust focused on the physical environs of the city rather than the inhabitants. The Trust’s endeavors in Bombay served as an opportunity to imagine Bombay’s future as a potentially permanently disease-free one. Sandhurst spoke of needing to find permanent solutions that “strike at the root of the evil,” not just in localities where disease had struck in the past but in antic­ ipation of the future needs of the city.28 Rather than just create durable individual structures, the city itself needed to become a durable structure. Sandhurst wanted to anticipate the future growth of the city. He would accomplish this by creating new powers to make new streets, widen thoroughfares, acquire houses that had been “condemned under section 178 of the Municipal Act as unfit for human habitation,” build poor housing, buy land, reclaim foreshores, and house the police.29 Diseases such as the plague were to never halt commerce in the city again. Hughes, speaking on behalf of the Port Trustees, said that the trustees had unanimously approved of the bill and “fully appreciated the value of the concessions Government propose making to the new Trust.” Apparently they were so excited about the scope of the bill that they wanted to know whether it was just “a paper scheme” or whether “it really mean[t] business.”30 Other critics, such as Balachandra Krishna, who otherwise resented that the Municipal Corporation would have to make a financial contribution to the new body, still conceded that “the future well-being and prosperity of the city depend upon its sanitary credit, and it is the bounded duty of both the Government and the Corporation to establish it with the utmost expedition.”31 The plague created the conditions for the pursuit of widespread consensus across the colonial divide in colonial India’s greatest commercial city to restore what was referred to as the “sanitary credit” of the city. This would be done by “making new streets, opening out crowded localities, reclaiming lands from the sea to provide room for the expansion of the City, and the construction of sanitary dwellings for the poor.”32 With fourteen people on the board of trustees, a combination of elite Indian and colonial officials together made up the core group of men who embarked on the project to reform the built conditions within which Bombay’s inhabitants lived, and they did not hide the fact that an explicit goal was to restore the movement of capital within their city. Along with the Municipal Corporation’s new members, people such as Bhalchandra K. Bhatawadekar and Ibrahim

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Rahimtoola, supported the Trust. The plague was crucial in reorganizing governance in the city of Bombay, resulting in new institutional arrangements that included the formation of the Improvement Trust in 1898 but went beyond such institutions to include residents. The good governance of the city was a goal many people of divergent backgrounds agreed upon. In the beginning, there was resistance to this totalizing vision. Most of the conflict at the meeting of the legislative assembly was about the creation of a new institutional body to carry out projects that many members of the Bombay Municipal Corporation felt reproduced the duties of, and impinged on, their authority within the affairs of the city. Moreover, the Municipal Corporation was being asked to fund many of the Trust’s projects. The Municipal Corporation had considered itself relatively autonomous up until this point, running its own assessments and expenditures of the city’s properties, managing the conduits of waterways through the city, and expanding on local forms of sanitation through the management of the Halalkhors throughout the city. Thus, members of the corporation saw the creation of a city improvement trust as a condemnation of their prior work. They worried that a new committee would undermine the Municipal Corporation’s authority and legitimacy in the city and, on practical terms, that the projects they initiated might be at odds with each other. Daji Abaji Khare spoke first against the creation of the new body, assuring everyone at the outset that he did not oppose the goals of “city improvement.” He said, “The whole city must congratulate your Excellency’s Government upon having the interest of the city at heart and having set in motion the wheels for the improvement of the city.” However, his reservations had to do with what he perceived as the lack of effort and imagination on the part of the government to enable an already existing city body, the Municipal Corporation, to accomplish these goals. He thought the justifications for making a new body were “not sufficiently convincing.” He even offered solutions to some of the main concerns cited against entrusting the task of city improvement to the municipality, namely that it did not have enough money, the legal powers, or the staff necessary for the projects. Khare reminded everyone that he approved in principle of the need to improve the city but merely disagreed with the means. Sandhurst, aware of these concerns, tried to assure the critics that the point was not to “belittle the Corporation.”33 In spite of this defense of the imperial government, many were not convinced. The particular means proposed for the financing of the Trust, namely funding by the Municipal Corporation and very favorable loans and an endowment,

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only assured the Municipal Corporation members that the scheme was not in their best interest. The Municipal Corporation had a simple proposal to avoid the problem of its reduced authority in the city: it suggested that at least half of the members of the City of Bombay Improvement Trust should be appointed by the corporation. The autonomy of the Municipal Corporation was fully challenged when its proposal was rejected on the grounds that the corporation did not represent Bombay’s interests alone, nor should Bombay be conceived as the sole concern of municipal officials. Sandhurst argued that the Chamber of Commerce and the Port Trustees also had vested interests in Bombay’s trade and commerce. Sandhurst decided that the members on the City of Bombay Improvement Trust’s board would number thirteen trustees in total, to be selected as follows. Six trustees would be elected, of whom four would come from the Municipal Corporation; the government of India would appoint three trustees and the chairman; and there would be three ex officio: the municipal commissioner, the general commanding the Bombay District (representing military interests), and the collector.34 In light of Bombay’s importance to trade in all of India and beyond, it was argued that the Trust needed to acquire city lands. Sandhurst argued, We have further had to remember that the interests which are deeply ­concerned in the welfare of the city are widespread, embracing not only the whole Presidency but other parts of India, of which it is a trading ­centre, and we have, with the sanction of the Government of India and Secretary of State, recognized this in undertaking to hand over to the Trust on very favourable terms Government land valued at nearly Rs. 57 lakhs, and reclamation rights valued at Rs. 29 lakhs, the usufruct of which represents the contribution made by the general tax-payer to the cost of this great enterprise.35

It became clear, then, that the right to control land within the city, and the potential to generate revenues from that control, was a major point of contention for all parties involved. The government had intervened and handed over revenue from existing government land to the semiprivate institution it created, and, not surprisingly, sentiments among Municipal Corporation leaders were defensive. In the very first pages of the board’s meeting notes of the City of Bombay Improvement Trust from 1898, it was written that the Trust’s intentions

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were to “develop to the fullest extent and as rapidly as possible their revenue producing powers.” It was further stated that “surveys, etc., for providing better housing for the working classes, that being a matter of great urgency, [are] second only in importance to the measures to be taken to develop the revenue resources.”36 Thus, leaders used the need to manage the city as a means to put the city’s budget on a more sound commercial footing. The founding document spoke of a “comprehensive scheme for the improvement of the City of Bombay” that would attend to “ventilation of the densely inhabited parts, the removal of insanitary dwellings, and the prevention of overcrowding.”37 Plague was the impetus for the ambitious measures the Trust would undertake. In its early years, the Trust was critiqued as a “slumdestroying agency.”38 But over the years, this transformed. Its goal was not only to improve the current conditions but also to lay the groundwork to prevent overcrowding from happening in the future. Much of the language of leaders of this time was greatly benevolent, even paternalistic. The Trust proposed to use both new powers and old to accomplish its goal of caring for the city. The previously instituted Municipal Act of 1888 allowed the “acquisition of houses condemned . . . as unfit for human habitation,” which the Trust intended to complement by constructing dwellings for the poorer classes.39 Sandhurst announced, “In all cases where the operations of the Board displace any considerable part of the population it will have to provide elsewhere for the housing of the people so displaced.”40 There was no intention to merely take housing from people even if condemned as “UHH,” or unfit for human habitation. The idea was to properly house Bombay’s residents. The spirit was self-avowedly generous. Speaking of the reclamation project to be undertaken by the Trust, Sandhurst said that “the spirit in which the project has been conceived in this as in all other respects is one of extreme liberality.”41 Benevolence, care for the poor, paternalism, and a liberality of spirit were combining to create—at least in theory— the rehousing projects of Bombay. The legislative body proposed new powers to acquire new lands for the building of compensatory housing for those who would be displaced by slum clearances. This gravely altered the rights of current landholders and property holders in Bombay. The only law available by which a government body could acquire land until this point was the Land Acquisition Act of 1894. Before the Land Acquisition Act of 1894, a Building Act and a Railway Act allowed acquisitions.42 The Land Acquisition Act of 1894 required that owners of any property that a government body had an interest in were to be given notification of their property’s impending seizure and thirty days

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to either approve or object to the transfer. Upon the government officially announcing its intention to acquire the property for a public purpose, owners were to have another fifteen days to present a case. Under the new scheme by the City of Bombay Improvement Trust, however, this was going to be reduced by half, to seven days. Compensation to property owners was also going to be reduced, most especially in cases where the building was deemed “UHH,” when landlords would only be given the value of the land, plus the materials, minus the cost of demolition.43 All of this was inspired by England’s Housing of the Working Classes Act of 1890. A more efficient form of eminent domain was in order. Financing the Trust Criticism of the financing of the Trust’s work was based on the notion that the government was giving the Trust full rein to take money from the Bombay Municipality. The creation of the new Trust challenged the notion that the Municipal Corporation was the “sole depository of the function of selfgovernment” in the city of Bombay.44 Before the formation of the Trust, munic­ ipal officials may have experienced power as operative on a local level. The introduction of the Trust reversed that. This reinsertion of high imperial power through new forms of finance, business, and commercial interests was no small influence in the making of “public” housing. Before the bill to form the Trust had been intro­duced in the Legislative Council, Sandhurst had already suggested it to the Chamber of Commerce one year earlier, in February 1897.45 The formation of the City of Bombay Improvement Trust has previously been studied with an eye to whether it was a success or failure. Most scholars exploit the gap between the Trust’s stated objectives and its eventual accomplishments, noting that many more people were unhoused, made homeless, and impoverished by the Trust’s operations because the Trust could not gain hold of its finances. Overpaying for land in the city and overcompensating homeowners when they built thoroughfares and highways meant that the Trust ran out of money often and quickly and, in the process, dragged the Municipal Corporation into debt with it. The Trust was a financial instrument connected to land in the city, involving new actors with new financial roles through the institution of the Trust in the city. What was actually produced by the Trust is of more interest here than how it failed. Nikhil Rao has demonstrated that the “mightiest achievement” of the Trust was to link the spaces of the city through the building of a road network into the

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northern parts. It also made an internally commensurable property regime, since the Trust converted land held under a variety of tenures and then leased it out in standard 99 and 999 year leases.46 Another major result of the creation of the City of Bombay Improvement Trust was the enlistment of financiers, small- and large-scale, in concerns over the city as a place of commerce. These new people included the city’s taxpayers, financiers, lenders, debtors, and industrial leaders, who were all concerned with the “sanitary credit” of the city; they were civilians invested in the reputation, livability, and world prominence of their city as a means to an end. What may have been unique to the colonial condition of the Trust’s formation and actions was that the Trust’s operations, as imagined by the government officials, needed to secure legitimacy in the eyes of a native population. Thus, native leaders were sought who could be “representatives” of the populace. These leaders were propertied men who tried to maximize gains as much as they could when their property was going to be acquired by the Trust. When they could not resist, they demanded greater compensation for their property. Two methods in particular, the “valuation by a hypothetical building scheme” and the subsequent “plotting scheme,” allowed property holders to gain more money than what their property was worth based on its potential to earn money in the future. Such schemes led to speculative increases in the prices of land and housing in Bombay. Property values surged between 1904 through 1907, pricing out more and more laborers and poor from adequate shelter. This also meant that the Trust was paying out more than it could afford; since it was backed by the government, it had less pressure to balance its own budget. Labor, too, was represented through capitalists, often their employers such as in the organization of millowners within the Millowners’ Association. Thus, the racial line that divided colonizer from colonized did not prevent the formation of financial instruments in property or limit the logic or rule of property. The division between colonizer and colonized enhanced it through the creation of an institutional body with a limitless capacity to create demand for housing in the city. Financiers were central to creating that demand, and urban land and housing became a financial tool that enhanced the influence of such moneyed interests. The first loan was raised in London due to difficulty “attracting capital” in Bombay, but once the example had been set, it was easier. J. P. Orr, who was first collector of Thana in 1899 before being appointed chairman of the Trust in 1908, stated, “There was naturally in the novel circumstances of the Trust some difficulty about attracting capital at first and the first loan

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(50 lakhs in 1899, a bad plague and famine year) had to be raised in London . . . but since then there has been no difficulty.”47 Raising capital was a constant issue throughout the Trust’s operations, and the government anticipated this at the outset of the Trust’s formation. The debate about the Trust’s formation, even once people agreed that the separate body should be formed, still hinged on the Municipal Corporation’s financial contribution to assist the Trust’s operations. The colonial government of India came up with elaborate schemes that would both allow the Trust to raise capital and simultaneously keep debt off of the government’s ledger. Capital was often raised through loans either in the “open market” or through the government. Future indebtedness was not something anyone within the Trust or the government anticipated, although the leaders of the Municipal Corporation were critical and vocal for just this reason. Balachandra Krishna said that the “already crippled state of municipal finances is apt to land us in hopeless insolvency” should the corporation undertake the work, and thus he supported the creation of a separate body to improve the city.48 Eager not to have the task of improving the city delayed by the financial problems of the Municipal Corporation, he agreed to have it performed under a different institutional body. He, like everyone else, held the same belief: “Bombay is the gate of the trade of India. It has business connections with the whole world. The ravages of the plague have shaken its sanitary credit and have brought untold losses.”49 Still, he criticized the financial schemes undertaken to fund the project. The Trust created and operationalized credit. One example is sufficient to show the ingenuity within the ranks of official power for raising the necessary capital to finance its ambitious schemes. According to the government, housing the police force within Bombay was a necessity: “The continued existence of Bombay as a civilized community depends upon the discipline and efficiency of its conservancy staff and of its police.”50 To raise the money to house the police, Sandhurst proposed that the Trust take a loan to pay for the construction of the police quarters. The buildings, once constructed, would be leased to the government at a rate of rent such that within the term of the lease the entire loan could be paid off, including the principal and interest. At this point, the government would take over the buildings. These questions could have been asked: Why didn’t the government just take its own loan and house the police? What was to be gained by having the Trust, an as-of-yet nonexistent body, finance the purchase? Such questions raised doubts about the government’s intentions, but for Municipal Cor­ poration leaders, it made them doubt their own expected contribution to the

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Trust’s finances. The government would end up owning the land for police accommodations in the end; it just wasn’t purchasing it at the outset. In other words, the government was, through the institution of the Trust, financing its own purchase of land to accommodate the police force it wanted to house in Bombay. It was also accomplishing this goal without having any debt on its own ledger. By way of assurance to the future Trust members and the corporation members present at the meeting, Sandhurst said, “It will be seen that this is equivalent to Government guaranteeing the interest on the loan and undertaking to buy the buildings from the Board at their prime cost on the expiry of the lease.”51 He also assured them that the government would bear the cost of repairs and taxes and that no liability would be borne by the Trust. The majority of the loans that the Trust would by necessity have to raise were to be public loans, and the security for those loans was to be provided by giving secured property to the Trust and reclamation rights near Colaba, and west of the island between Worli Fort and Malabar Point, against which the Trust could borrow money. The complicated nature of the government’s proposition to finance the Trust, of which the police accommodations scheme was one example, raised suspicions. Some argued that the question of police housing was an “Imperial question” that had not been properly communicated to the Municipal Corporation, which was now expected to contribute to housing the police through it contributions to the Trust. The entire financial structure raised concerns. Balachandra Krishna said, “The financial provisions of the Bill call for closer scrutiny and attention. I have consulted several financial experts as well as experienced lawyers in regard to their clear meaning, and I am constrained to remark that they agree with me in thinking that the clauses are framed in a somewhat complicated and ambiguous manner and require to be made more lucid and intelligible.”52 The technocratic nature of financing urban improvements served to both alienate and enlist new actors in Bombay’s improvement. The revenue motive drove all the actions of the City of Bombay Improvement Trust, or at least constrained them visibly in the records it left behind. It is hard to know whether the second reason for the formation of the Trust, a genuine concern for the housing conditions of the working poor, was stated by officials only to subsume other motives that they may have had at the time, such as the logic of revenue production for the Trust. Trust officials justified beginning the scheme in Gowalia Tank because of it “being likely to bring early profit to the resources of the Trust.”53 As any developer knows, the initial problem of cash flow has to be dealt with by building units with

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potential for immediate sale first, so that assets can later be secured. Under this logic, “it was considered that the right policy was to postpone for a time the determination of petty projects in various quarters.”54 A major scheme was also undertaken in the neighborhood of First Nagpada. Located at the center of the city, First Nagpada had been for decades the densest section of Bombay. Since this was a large area where there were many plague cases, officials thought it worthwhile to initiate the “First Nagpada Improvement Scheme.” The population in First Nagpada was made up mostly of laborers, and this scheme planned to rehouse just over eleven thousand people. No distinction was made between types of labor; both factory workers and domestic workers were called the laboring classes. The mortality rate in First Nagpada had increased one and one-half times since the onset of the plague.55 The Trust would purchase all the properties in the area and redevelop them at its will. The financial calculus was always provided in the working of the Trust, but it did not always suggest profitability. The first four schemes were improvement of First Nagpada; redevelopment of properties and construction of new streets in Ward C; the creation of a very long road traversing Wards B, C, and D for ventilation and mobility within the city; and roads in Ward D. These together were estimated to cost Rs. 182 lakhs. Not including the projected increase in value over the years of the Trust’s operations, it was estimated that the Trust would recoup Rs. 115 lakhs and thus remain with a net liability of Rs. 67 lakhs. That the Trust’s ledger would be in the red, or in debt, was a situation that was both anticipated and criticized by the officials in the Bombay Municipality. The “sanitary credit” of the city was immensely important, however, both for the British government, which promised to secure the Trust’s debt in the belief that it would one day recuperate the losses, and for those working in the City of Bombay Improvement Trust. There was also going to be a required annual contribution from the Municipal Corporation.56 The question of the taxpayers of Bombay and their contributions and risks in the planned enterprises of the Trust created divisions between the government, which spoke on behalf of the Trust, and the Municipal Corporation officials, who purported to speak on behalf of residents of Bombay. The government of India was proposing to guarantee the financial operations of the Trust, through the requirement that the Municipal Corporation contribute annually to the Trust’s funds by means of increased taxation. Critics, calling this a “bludgeon clause,” argued that the Trust should be forced to stand on its own two feet just as other institutional bodies within the city had been asked to do. The Trust should balance its

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own ledger, avoid undertaking projects for which it could not pay, and pay the price for costly projects that either did not come to fruition or did not achieve anticipated revenues meant to compensate for the initial outlay in cost. A guarantee would, in effect, only encourage financial irresponsibility, shortsightedness due to lofty ambition, and, worst of all, immediate insolvency. The members of the Municipal Corporation were particularly prone to voice such criticism because they were going to be required to provide a regular financial contribution for the Trust to carry out its work. Sandhurst, however, defended the guarantee on two main grounds: first, that it would allow the Trust to borrow money at a lower interest rate since government backing would enable confidence in lenders and, second, that the guarantee would allow the Trust to raise funds before generating revenue. The rate of interest saved was estimated to be one-quarter to one-half of a percentage.57 The government proposed to mandate that the interest on any loans taken out by the Trust ought to be the first charge on the Trust’s revenues, and the government also reserved a right to step in and increase taxation in case the Trust was about to default. Balachandra Krishna was worried about the steady escalation in the contribution from the Municipal Corporation that would be required over the coming years of the Trust’s operations. The fixed rate for the Municipal Corporation to contribute to the Trust, justified because the corpora­tion, too, would benefit from the activities of the Trust, was set at 2 percent of the total ratable value of properties in the city, including buildings and privately owned land. Krishna worried that the future properties would have to pay their own costs of maintenance and of sanitation and were also being subjected to a Halalkhor tax, money used to pay the caste community of sweepers and cleaners. Thus, the corporation would face new costs besides the 2 percent required of it, which he felt was not clearly laid out for the corporation to anticipate. Until the plague, the corporation almost always had reserves in its budget. However, the plague had cost a lot of money to contain and surveil, and thus the Municipal Corporation had no reserves left to make its first payment, due on April 1, 1900. Krishna’s solution was simple. He suggested a strict 2 percent ceiling and the promise of nothing more.58 In these ways, the government wanted to ensure that the lenders would be willing to finance the City of Bombay Improvement Trust’s operations. When protests against the demands on taxpayers were raised, Sandhurst poignantly reminded those present at the proceedings that, compared to similar cases in England, “the power of the rate-payers of the great cities of

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India to lend their credit to promote improvements in the shape of productive works in which the inhabitants are vitally interested is as yet almost wholly undeveloped and that much out [sic] to be done here.”59 Thus, a major result of the creation of the City of Bombay Improvement Trust, at least in theory, would be the enlistment of new people such as the city’s taxpayers, financiers, lenders, debtors, industrial leaders, those commercial interests concerned with sanitary credit, and those civilians invested in the reputation, livability, and world prominence of their city. The colonial government of India inserted itself within local urban affairs previously thought to be a depository of self-government, resulting in the entanglement of numerous actors in the projects of slum clearances and poor housing reform through instruments of credit. Even though the project eventually failed, it was productive in deploying and disposing of an entirely new institutional network of powers located in institutions that would maintain and even advance the social reproduction of the city. Balachandra Krishna ultimately conceded that the Municipal Corporation alone could not absorb the financial burdens of the Trust’s ambitious urban reorganization plans, and thus the Trust’s formation had to be accepted. He did continue to object to the terms of the corporation’s required contribution, however: The financial responsibility, moreover, will be almost insupportable for the Corporation. As the Bill is now framed the Corporation is indeed to act as treasurer to the Trust, and is in the last resort responsible for the Trust’s liabilities; but in view of the Trust being an independent body, Government have made certain concessions which, I apprehend, they might not have made if the work was to be undertaken by the Cor­ poration itself. Government have offered: (1) plots of valuable land free of charge for the first ten years and at a very low charge thereafter for a further period of 89 years; (2) free use of reclamation rights for the first twenty years after reclamation and at a low charge for 79 years thereafter[;] and (3) the power to debit to capital account such provision for ­interest and sinking fund as cannot be obtained from income.60

These three measures—essentially access to land, reclamation rights, and money—underscored the immense liberty under which the Trust was to operate. Its expenditures and rights to act within the city were practically limitless. Market constraints that would have affected any other type of “free market entity,” be it public or private, would have surely limited the

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success of any plan, no matter how well meaning. The Trust, however, was to have practically unlimited financial resources for itself. Housing the poor, sanitizing the city, and putting an end to the detrimental plague seemed to need just such an unlimited budget. Counting on private enterprise alone to solve the problems of the plagued city was just out of the question. Private dwelling companies could not be expected to undertake the costs associated with housing the laboring poor of colonial Bombay. Housing would have to come at a cost to the Trust, taxpayers, and all those forgoing the chance to house the poor at a profit. Krishna’s words regarding this anticipated financial loss are worth quoting at length: Under the first head the principal item would be building sanitary dwellings for the poor. This is a necessary and useful measure but of a doubtful financial success. That the poor mill-hands and servant classes need better ventilated and better situated houses cannot be gainsaid. At the same time their income is so uncertain and scanty that it is questionable whether they will have the means of taking such improved but costly tenements as the Trust might endeavour to supply. The wisdom of the Trust will be sorely tried in suiting sanitary requirements to the capacity of the payers. European experience will hardly serve as a safe guide here. Several English organizations, such as Lord Shaftsbury’s Co., the Artizan’s Dwelling Co., the Improved Industrial Dwelling Co., the Peabody Buildings, have proved successful as remunerative concerns. But the English working classes are a homogenous community getting higher wages and accustomed to a higher standard of living than their Indian brethren. The Indian millhand refuses, I am told, to occupy a room supplied by his employer at Rs. 2 a month. His earning is scanty, his habits are often intemperate and he is in a chronic state of indebtedness. He, moreover, is not educated enough to appreciate the blessings of hygiene. The buildings howsoever unpretentious will be more costly than the present workman’s chawls. The[y] could not, therefore, supply letting quarters at the rates the workmen are at present accustomed to pay. In providing these buildings the Trust will have to be content with improved health and reduced mortality as the only return for their investment.61

The anticipated financial loss was going to be tolerated because of the Indian working classes’ “intemperate habits” and generally uneducated nature. Furthermore, the wages of the Indian laborers were already lower than their counterparts in England, and so Indian laborers could not even cover a

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nominal rent. Thus, private dwelling companies could not be relied on to house the poor in Bombay.62 In attempting to solve the problem of maintaining sanitation in a city where numerous wage earners and casual laborers could not afford upgrades to their own housing, partly because they saw themselves as temporary migrants to the city in search of seasonal work, the Trust functioned to bring the public good of housing the poor inadvertently into a privatized sphere of exchanges. The Trust had a role in the legislative and financial fields. It was the means by which the government reinserted itself into local urban affairs, financed the purchase of land, and advanced its role as custodian of world trade. The Trust had a role too in the housing market. It was a privileged buyer with a capacity to create demand in housing and land without any limitations on its access to resources such as money and financing to make those purchases. The Trust was going to become the poor and laboring classes’ landlord through the building of public housing. It was essential to fueling the so-called “private market” in housing. It was this dual position of the Trust, as both public and private entity, that would eventually lead to its own unraveling, rendering it an ultimate failure in housing the poor and limiting its institutional life. Its social location in the market and in the government meant that people from both fields would be able to influence and guide the Trust’s development. The poor and laboring classes that were to be housed and were the subjects of these debates about the Trust’s inception did not represent themselves. The government of India and Bombay city officials relied on the representation of the population through its propertied and moneyed people as well as employers of the laborers. Krishna’s dissatisfaction with representation on the proposed Trust scheme led him to suggest even greater representation by capitalists. He spoke of Bombay as the “Manchester of the East” because between sixty thousand and seventy thousand people worked in the mills, and he suggested that the Millowners’ Association be granted representation on the Trust’s board. He made his case by reminding the group that the mill industry brought 4 lakhs of rupees to the municipal accounts and that it had “paid up capital of about 10 crores rupees.” The millowners, he argued, also had special interests “as employers of labour”: “The mill-owners’ representative will be a valuable acquisition to the new Trust, for through him the Trust will be in direct touch with the mill-owning opinion.”63 Krishna was convinced that it was through employers that the laborers could speak and that through the employers the Trust would be in “direct touch” with their special interests. Thus, labor

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did not represent itself on the Trust’s board but was spoken for through employers. The laboring poor were not the only objects of the Trust’s initiatives. Wealthy property owners had tremendous influence over the operations of the Trust and stood to benefit the Trust itself through their own interests. Some areas of reclamation were criticized for their proposed role in housing the upper and middle classes. The attention was being diverted away from the laboring poor, it was argued. In defense, Balachandra Krishna said about the proposed right to reclaim land (which was to be granted to the new Trust): It is also thought that reclaimed land will supply sites for the wealthy and not for the poor. But it is to be noted that reclamation is meant here as a source of revenue to the Trust. It is further to be undertaken before the land previously acquired is disposed of at profitable rates. Past experience is not entirely against reclamation. The Back Bay scheme no doubt failed, but that failure was due to various special causes. The Port Trust reclamations have on the other hand proved successful and may furnish valuable guidance to the new Trust. Reclaimed lands will give building sites for the wealthy alone; but if the congestion of the crowded localities can be thereby reduced, that will not be an end to be despised.64

Reclamations of the foreshore had been undertaken on numerous occasions by the Municipal Corporation; some prior schemes such as the Back Bay reclamation plan acquired notoriety as ill-conceived projects. The new proposed reclamations promised to ease congestion in the city, providing more space for housing, port sites, and businesses for everyone. Krishna spoke of the mutual benefits when defending the right to reclaim lands for a wealthy neighborhood, saying that the benefit would be felt by the poor as well. The revenues from the reclamation would also benefit the Trust, something no doubt that the Municipal Corporation would have liked to keep for itself, but the new institution of the Trust had to be a partner. Money against Chawls The Trust was bound to drive Bombay’s housing market into a speculative boom with favorable financing and access to land previously unavailable to it, and this speculative boom is what eventually caused the Trust to unravel.

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If the activities of the Trust were to progress, land and buildings within the city had to be acquired to be redeveloped. However, this proved either impossible or possible only at a very high cost and after considerable delay. Every step of the way and in almost every case in which the Trust wanted to acquire property, it was forestalled and delayed by legal and logistical efforts on the part of current property owners. This made the Trust’s work very difficult and led to its adjusting of its goals in line with what could realistically be accomplished. Previous discussions of the Trust’s operations in Bombay have sought to judge whether the Trust was a failure or a success in terms of how many housing units it built for the poor, that is, did it succeed in increasing the amount of sanitary housing available to the laboring poor of Bombay? But this question misses the opportunity to excavate the numerous powers and functions that were created by and dispersed through the Trust. Instead of judging the outcomes of the Trust, we can see that the Trust unwillingly functioned to advance the logic of private property’s development. It did so through the institutionalization of what was marked as “native” resistance on behalf of property owners. In sum, every measure undertaken by the Trust was met with a countermeasure by property owners, who managed through perpetual resistance to influence the Trust’s policies. The Trust’s initial aim of willingly accepting the financial burden of housing the poor was an acknowledgment that the commercial aims of both the Trust and individual actors and institutions in the city depended on bearing that cost, but in doing so it underestimated the way even the Trust’s forecasted acquisitions drove property values up. Unwittingly, the Trust fueled a speculative property bubble. The Trust’s failure to provide enough housing was due to its role as a financier in land markets. How did the Trust advance the logic of property as a site of financing and moneyed interests? Overt and visible drivers were set at its formation. That the Trust had government-backed loans that were guaranteed made it a lucrative scheme for lenders. The Trust became a buyer of housing, with unprecedented financial resources to do its work. The Trust therefore had little motivation to keep the cost of its acquisitions down, and this combined with the influence of propertied men who were in charge of the Trust led to excessive expenditures. Imperial and urban leaders failed to understand exactly how property values could surge in the contests within Bombay over rights to build the city, even in building those parts of the city that officials deemed uninhabitable. The importance of the rule of property for

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the residents of Bombay was underestimated by all officials. Trust officials were frustrated at times with the slow acquisition of properties, which they described in great detail in their reports to the government: To commence with, there was considerable difficulty in procuring the establishment necessary for making reliable valuations and establishing their figures in the face of extravagant demands made by the owners with the assistance of experts. Experience shows that in the initial stages of such work, nearly every case will be contested and the best available legal talent will be employed on behalf of the owners. The smallness of the holding was also a very troublesome factor; in a great majority of cases the properties stood on about 100 square yards of land and there was as much trouble and delay caused by taking up each such property as in the acquisition of very much larger and more valuable property. The multiplication of legal proceedings necessary before any large scheme can be carried through is therefore a serious matter and one that cannot be avoided. Having obtained the necessary establishment and procured every possible detail relating to either site or structure of each property to be acquired, the actual work of acquisition is commenced by serving a notice on the owner to appear at the Collector’s Court with his title deeds and other documents. On the expiry of the notice it was not unusual for a representative of the owner to appear and state that the owner had left for his upcountry residence owing to the prevalence of plague and to ask for a post­ponement of several months until the owner could appear. When the owner did eventually appear it was often without documents to establish his claim to the property and further adjournments had to be granted, first for the production of title deeds, then possibly for the establishment of sharers’ and mortgagees’ claims, and lastly for time to allow his surveyor to prepare and submit a valuation of the property. Several months having elapsed and the preliminary documents having at last been submitted to the court, the case is ready for hearing by the Collector. At this point fresh difficulties were encountered: first there was no established system of valuation, and for precisely similar properties one owner claimed on his rental, another on the assumed value of the site and structure, another on what he had paid for the property, and so on, namely, each on the basis thought likely to give the largest award. Every detail in the valuation prepared by the Trustees’ Officers was contested, and evidence was produced to show results favorable to the owners. This caused much delay and constant postponements were the rule rather than the exception.65

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Several obstacles combined to frustrate Trust officials. To buy time, when officials requested documents attesting to the value of a property, owners hid or produced documents with much delay so as to gain the highest compensation possible for their plots. Property owners also made use of a growing cadre of “experts” and “legal talent,” who were in great demand by residents seeking representation on behalf of their property’s value. Just within years of the Trust’s formation, the Trust’s stated intentions alone were increasing the demand for such talent, raising the social status of all kinds of property experts in the city. Rather than limit the effect of rising prices in the city’s housing supply, the Trust’s operations were making housing less accessible. A major issue in the acquisition of properties was the small size of many of the holdings, and such smallholders were more likely to contest an acquisition. For the Trust to acquire a plot large enough to build on, contiguous property owners had to be compensated before it acquired enough land to build the intended thoroughfare or structure. Information compiled in 1909, upon a decade’s work by the Trust, verified that small property owners were much more likely to resist and delay the Trust’s acquisitions. Thirtythree cases were “settled amicably,” representing a total of 314,869 square yards at a cost of over 31 lakhs, or Rs. 3,156,082, to the Trust. In contrast, 252 cases were “fought out,” representing 234,180 square yards at a cost of over 1 lakh, or Rs. 1,121,079, to the Trust. This showed that smallholders were more likely to fight a case. There were eight times as many cases by smallholders, but only two-thirds the square yards, represented by those cases prolonged in courts. The cost was just one-third the price of other costs for such cases. Thus, battles over acquisitions were more likely over small plots rather than large ones.66 Those going to court over the city’s property acquisitions were owners of small properties, and it is this group of people who overwhelmingly brought in servicemen, legal experts, property professionals, and officials to fight to make their cases against the Trust. This demonstrates a generalization and expansion of the logic of property outward from the wealthy to more average size property holders. Even the rental market was affected by anticipated remuneration from the Trust. In anticipation of higher compensation from the Trust, landlords charged higher rents or sold tenurial rights at higher prices. This was a reversal of previous practices when landlords used to offer lower official rents to evade taxes. If they could show lower values earned from their property, they could pay lower rates to municipal assessors. By raising rents now, landlords could show Trust officials, who would one day knock on their doors, that

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their property earned a high revenue and therefore warranted greater compensation. More laborers and seasonal migrants were priced out of housing and made compensatory choices to enter denser shared accommodations, thus inadvertently increasing the very urban density and squalor of residences that the Trust had been formed to eradicate. Whereas there may have been six men to a room before the Trust’s formation, that number increased from 1898 through the first decades of the twentieth century, not in spite of the Trust’s efforts, but because of it. The Trust determined compensation based on averages of prior revenue from the property. If revenue didn’t prove to be a good measure, then owners were compensated based on value of the land and the materials used to make the building or whatever structure was on the land. Materials could be reused and were therefore conceived of as fixed assets that the Trust would gain minus the cost of demolition and transport of materials from the site: compensation = (land value + materials) – (demolition costs + transport) If the building was condemned or deemed UHH, then the owner could not be compensated for the building but could still be compensated for the land, so as not to reward delinquent landlords who had likely rendered building materials unusable through neglect. Property owners who could not secure the highest compensation based on previous revenues found new and ingenious ways to influence the Trust to gain their higher and desired remuneration. A tribunal of appeals heard cases where the owner and city officials were in dispute about the value of the property to be acquired. Some landowners who did not have buildings on their land but had one-story casual units that were constructed as if to be nonpermanent, protested that they should not be compensated according to net revenues because the hutments did not garner much rent. They said their land was worth much more than the rent. Upon appeal of this method of valuation, the tribunal decided to admit a “valuation by a hypothetical building scheme.” This meant that rather than compensation based on achieved past revenues, the land should be compensated based on what rents could be acquired if the land were fully developed.67 This “valuation by a hypothetical building scheme” resulted in a whole new set of experts and property professionals who could now draw up elaborate plans for never-to-come buildings that would have brought in exorbitant rents in the projected future. The Trust, backed by the government and the enforced participation of the Municipal Corporation, dutifully paid out

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the elaborate compensation. This means of assessing rightful compensation meant that surveyors who assessed future revenues were “bringing in paper schemes for the erection of magnificent buildings upon sites which were already often fully developed according to the requirements of the neighborhood and claiming an altogether fictitious value for the land on this basis.” People were being compensated for “the profit of a future development that might or might not be realized.”68 Speculation had become not just about the future value of a commodity but was realizable and actualized in the present and had effects in the present. The limitless supply of financing available to the Trust made paying the anticipated and inflated values possible. The Trust eventually came to doubt this scheme, but did no better when in its place it adopted a “plotting scheme” method of value assessment. This method involved, “laying out a piece of land of this nature (on paper only) in building sites, providing for roads and passages and ascertaining what each plot would fetch if sold for building purposes by comparison with other sales of more or less similar plots of land in the neighborhood.” This too resulted in the Trust paying out “very large sums of public money to which the Trust believe that the claimants have no right at all.”69 Surveyors and lawyers along with property owners and landholders managed to provide elaborate paper schemes and garner inflated compensation. Drawings and plans had themselves become hot commodities through the Trust’s operations. It seemed that the Trust and the officials who designed it to solve the problem of unsanitary dwellings in Bombay had underestimated the ingenuity of propertied and moneyed peoples to continually secure and even elevate their social status and capital portfolios. What had been severely underestimated was the native Bombay landholder’s and landlord’s sense of their property entitlements. The rule of property was already secured in Bombay before the Trust’s formation, and the Trust inadvertently enhanced it. The “housing question” subsequently became even more difficult to raise with so much money invested in the status quo.70 In colonial Bombay, the needs of “the city” had become a powerful narrative resource with which to ensure the power of capital in ways that cut across seemingly conflicting political interests. Abandoning Housing for the Poor By 1909, when the Trust looked back on its first decade of activity, it had removed 14,613 tenements and built 6,111 tenements.71 More people were

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dis-housed by the Trust’s activities than were rehoused. According to the 1911 census, three-fourths of the city’s population resided in one-room tenements.72 The overcrowding and housing problem had only gotten worse since the Trust’s inception, and Trust officials as well as its numerous critics were aware of this fact. The institution of the Trust had its own learning curve, adjusting its methods as it learned what did and did not work. In the early 1900s, to accommodate more residents, it even built what it called “semi-permanent huts” that could easily become permanent.73 Moreover, it became very influenced by the need to exist on a sound commercial footing, that is, to bring in revenues to pay for its projects. Yet another issue was the way in which moneyed concerns sought refuge in growing parts of the city outside of the Trust’s domain, where they could build more freely, away from the constraints of the Trust’s more stringent building bylaws. The chairman of the Trust said after the First World War: Unaccustomed to such strict building regulations and to such close supervision and sanitary control as the Trust’s staff exercise both before and after the completion of buildings, and preferring freehold to leasehold tenure, builders and investors . . . fought shy of the Trust’s plots and preferred to invest money received from the Trust in compensation for their old properties in building on sites just outside the Trust’s estate, especially where they could take advantage of new open spaces created by the Trust for purposes of ventilation, and too often, in consequence of the weakness of the Municipal building by-laws, such investments have resulted in the formation of what will ultimately be recognized as modern slums.74

According to J. P. Orr, the modern slum was created by property investors escaping regulatory pressures and maximizing return on land investments. While Orr was partly right, the larger story would have to include the way people achieved their livelihoods outside of official purview. Isolating the question of housing, as the Trust had done to remedy the problem, was an exercise of limited use. So many other factors contributed to the complicated and constrained decisions people made about how they were to live, where to build buildings, and how to use the land. Orr believed that “new legislation on the lines found necessary for dealing with slum evils in western countries [would] be required.” These had to be paired with “social reform,” so that compliance toward new building bylaws on admitting more light and air would be complied with, because social

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reform would “create such discontent with existing conditions” that people would undertake a “sacrifice of private to public interests.” Orr made these remarks in a lecture to the Bombay Social Service League in 1917.75 His lecture, on social reform and slum reform, was about inducing habitation practices without restricting them. Orr kept worrying that opening up streets, widening roadways, and so on would have no effect if bylaws and building regulations were also not amended to prevent overcrowding, but there was far too little will to do the latter since bylaws would be restrictive. So instead, the Trust decided to take on a few projects that would lead by example and simultaneously widen streets and open up space, so as to induce property holders to act in a certain way. “Street schemes” even in the northern parts of Bombay were undertaken to induce rather than restrict forms of habitation. If there were wider roads, then people would be induced to expend more on a better structure. Since they decided that they could not control what kinds of residences people lived in, they “sought to channel private building in the desired direction.”76 A similar logic prevailed in Calcutta, where the municipality elaborated “simple principles” for solving the problem of “bustis” (dwellings). Namely, the solution was to “drive a road through it,” or through neighborhoods or locales with unclean housing, and widen the roads generally.77 This indirect method was cost-effective and induced dwellers rather than restricted them toward sanitary goals that would serve the city’s commercial needs. But the other problem was that, especially after the first decade of activity, the Trust increasingly housed wealthier residents, arguing that such schemes were more commercially sound or remunerative. This action was thought to have an indirect influence on the conditions of the laboring poor by easing congestion in many neighborhoods, but that was not true. Numerous persons had merely lost their homes through demolition drives alone, and so whether congestion was increasing or decreasing would be a tough case to make. The Trust had enlisted private capital and justified it. Orr, in his lecture on reform, made explicit the pedagogical aims of the Trust with regard to the eradication of Bombay’s slums: We shall then have to start building for ourselves; but for many reasons it is undesirable that a public authority should be a large owner of private residences: so our efforts must be by way of encouragement of private enter­ prise; we want to give a lead only: and we want to get private enterprise to take on the work after we have made a start. Now the first thing a private business enterprise (as distinguished from a philanthropic institution)

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wants is a good financial return on the capital expended; so our efforts at encouragement will be futile if we can’t show that it pays to build. Social reformers can help us by educating capitalist[s] to be not only capitalists but citizens, and as such to introduce into that phrase “it pays” considerations not only of direct private benefit in rupees, annas and pies, but social, moral and indirect financial benefits to the City. They may also teach the builder who is not a financier to judge the value of his investment not solely by the immediate return but by future returns and by the unearned increment which in growing cities invariably accrues sooner or later, according as the investment is made in early or late stages of the City’s development, from the favourable situation of the property.78

The concessions to private capital were necessary but required “social reform” of capitalists into citizens for effective governance of the city, governance that would benefit both the private capitalist and the city as a whole. It was as if the needs of the laboring poor and the needs of private capital had to be enmeshed in each other or be one and the same. It was also as if the “city” were a character, having social and moral attributes. There was a constant tension through the first two decades of the twentieth century, between the Trust’s desire to intervene in the market in housing on behalf of the laboring poor and its desire to encourage private enterprise in housing schemes. On the one hand was the awareness that poor housing was a market failure and on the other were the interests of the commercial elite whose fortunes were dependent on the private market in housing. As early as 1901, W. C. Hughes, the chairman of the Trust, had suggested encouraging private capital’s capacities to house the poor since it would free up the Trust’s treasury; however, there were always reservations, too, about these suggestions. Employers and companies could have housed laborers, but wartime price rises and the threat of worker strikes prevented this. In 1903, the Millowners’ Association requested that the Trust build housing for its laborers in exchange for the association paying the rent for the property for it workers. This was a kind of mortgaging scheme for the Millowners’ Association, which wanted to become the owner of the property by 1940; it wanted to use the Trust to finance the production and acquisition of workers’ chawls. The proposal was initially denied in the Legislative Council, where the Trust argued that it would build housing only for those displaced by the Trust’s activities; it was not going to build housing for laborers who had no interaction with the Trust. But in 1913, the “Poorer Classes

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Accommodation Scheme” was passed, which gave the Trust the legal resources to work with employers to build laborers’ housing on almost the exact same terms as had originally been proposed by the Millowners’ Association, except the time to ownership was twenty-eight years and not thirtyseven years. Only one mill participated in 1913 and not just because the wartime economy had made the prospect of building poor housing much more dubious. Materials were certainly more expensive, but the risk of housing workers all in the same building was perceived as threatening, since labor was organizing. Officials spoke of a “fear of combinations facilitating strikes.”79 Poor housing, rather than being removed from private interests, if kept to private interests, turned out to be a good form of labor control. Other forms of abandoning poor housing were devised by the Trust itself, which created government investments that were more remunerative than labor housing. Aden, which was administered as a part of the Bombay Presidency, was a fueling port for ships traveling from Bombay or Karachi to European ports and beyond and served as a node within the larger networks of commerce and capital that kept colonial India’s industrialists in world markets. A need for coal attracted laborers, mostly Somalis and Arabs, who struggled to find decent shelter and therefore often slept outdoors, since the supply of housing never kept up with the demand. A survey in 1921 of employers in Aden was meant to investigate the conditions of laborers in the area.80 Upon a visit to the “pukka houses, their privies and chains” by the Resident in charge, a committee was appointed to look into the conditions of laborers. These were more permanent constructions, which the Resident had expected to find in better condition than the temporary shelters constructed throughout the port city. Instead, he reported, “The committee might consider the hillside better than the houses.” The committee learned that the number of people in Aden who were houseless amounted to 14.7 percent of the population in 1911 and 11.1 percent in 1921, or between thirty-five hundred and forty-five hundred persons in total. When a Parsi merchant based out of Bombay, Framroze Cowasji Dinshaw (remembered today as Cowasji Dinshaw Adenwalla), was asked whether he thought it would be a good business proposition for him to build houses or barracks for coolies, he said, “At the present moment I do not think it worth putting my money into properties when one can get 6% and 7% out of Government loans and more out of investments.” When asked whether he knew that the building he was renting out to his laborers was found to be in violation of a housing code against overcrowding, he replied, “No I rent my house to a party and make no enquiry as to how many live in

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it.” While he preferred that the property have as few tenants as possible, he had no knowledge of the actual state of living conditions in his building, as he gave it to a middleman to rent out; he said he had “never seen it” himself. When Mohamed Abdulla Hassonali, another merchant operating through Aden, was asked the same questions, he said that he was also unaware of the overcrowding because he rented his building to a “muccadum,” or jobber or intermediary, and “told him of the number allowed.” About whether he would consider building better housing, he responded, “I am doubtful and would only do so on a guarantee.”81 In fact, imperial expansion into Aden and East Africa may have aided Indian merchants more than British ones.82 The Town Planning Act of 1915 was the first such legislation passed in colonial India, and it was for Bombay.83 It provided authorities powers to ensure sanitation through orderly use of space by means of building regu­ lations, the right to acquire land for “public purposes,” and powers to col­ lect funds for undertaking projects of improvement. The United Provinces passed similar legislation in 1919, and Madras in 1920. But in Bombay there were several concessions to landowners. The Bombay Town Planning Act called for “pooling,” where landowners would give up part of their land for public purposes but still retain a part. They would not have to be paid compensation since their retained land’s values would increase upon improvement projects. In reality, such actions took far too long to execute since they entailed complex negotiations with individual landowners. Perhaps most damaging, this method created yet another entryway for property holders to dictate outcomes, as they would come to know of planned projects long before these could be executed. By 1919, it was reported that 892,000 of Bombay’s 1.2 million people lived in single rooms. In Parell, 97 percent of working-class households were living in single rooms.84 A combination of elite moneyed interests and the maintenance of the ambiguity on whether private enterprise or public intervention could solve the problem of poor housing had rendered the Trust an official failure. As Prashant Kidambi has correctly observed, “Significantly, the most effective resistance emanated from propertied Indians who were able to subvert the very legal and bureaucratic mechanisms by means of which the Trust sought to alter the urban built environment.”85 This situation only worsened in the 1920s and 1930s. Chawls run by the gov­ ernment, millowners, and private landlords were in disrepair and operated by chains of rent extractors.86 The Trust survived, even if barely, the wartime economy; however, the depression of 1929–30 could not be overcome. In 1932, the Trust reported,

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“All the members of the Trust staff voluntarily accepted an emergency cut in their salaries ranging from 5% for persons drawing Rs. 100 and over 10% for persons drawing over Rs. 700. A saving of about Rs. 20,000 was thereby effected.”87 In addition, upon the amalgamation with the Bombay Municipal Corporation, the Trust had a debt of Rs. 90 lakhs on its ledger. Faced with bank crises, the Trust sold off Rs. 50 lakhs of that debt to private investors and repaid the rest in 1932. Private parties offered loans, one in particular of Rs. 10 lakhs at the rate of 5 percent, which was less than the normal 7.5 percent raised earlier. Private money markets took up what banks could not do anymore; due to the plague, the banks refused to advance money to the Trust.88 Also in 1932, a bill for the “amalgamation of the Trust with the Bombay Municipality” was introduced in the Legislative Council, and the combi­ nation was successful. The Trust’s tenure was over, as was any possibility that a public effort to solve the problem of poor housing could be imagined. The rise of nationalist sentiment by this point meant that the problems of the poor were increasingly blamed on the colonizers and not the problems endemic to the power of capital. That poor housing was a market failure was all but forgotten, or at least put on hold until the problem of self-sovereignty could be resolved. In 1933, the City of Bombay Improvement Trust provided a report on its poor financial state alongside a remarkable map. The report stated that it had “a floating debt of about Rs. 90 lakhs borrowed from Banks on short term loans. This led to great inconvenience as in times of panic the Banks were not willing to advance money to the Trust. In the year under report, B. I. T. [Bombay Improvement Trust] debentures of the face value of Rs. 50 lakhs were sold and all the short term loans taken from Banks were finally paid off in November 1932.”89 The report went on to state that the staff was to be commended for taking a “voluntary . . . emergency cut in their salaries” and that the Trust was even able to raise a ten-year loan of Rs. 10 lakhs from a “private party.” Property values were also going down, and the report noted that many lands had been “surrendered” since they were “leased at very high rates in boom times.” The Bombay Municipality, the institution that had once criticized the Trust, now incorporated the Trust and many of its aims. The map marked out Trust-acquired properties, now largely in the northern parts of the city, that were undergoing reform and renewal and even marked where “semi-permanent huts” had been created within “Trust acquired estates.”90 The huts identified in the map, it should be noted, were not vestiges of older forms of shelter but were in fact structures built by the Trust,

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purposefully and intentionally to manage its task of improving the city of Bombay. That they were placed directly at the limits and even marked as liminal showed that the Trust saw itself as demarcating very clearly what kinds of structures could be “inside” a city and therefore bounding and making the city itself according to a preconceived image. The “temporary” shelter practices of the laboring poor proliferated at the time of the Trust’s activities, outpacing the construction of what might appear like legitimate housing, not in spite of the Trust’s efforts, but because of them. Parts of the map were marked with the letters “SH,” which indicated semipermanent huts; these were “legitimate” structures often built by the Trust, in several locations throughout the city. When the Trust decided to demolish and rebuild a structure, tenants had to be placed somewhere in the meanwhile. The designation and naming, the recognition, rendered the structure legitimate. As J. P. Orr reported, “The original tenants [are] first provided with sanitary rooms either in other acquired houses or in the Trust’s chawls. If no such rooms are available, the Trust construct[s] semi-permanent sheds of corrugated iron for the displaced tenants at the low rent of Rs. 2-8-0 per room, which makes them very popular. These sheds will last for about 10 years which allows ample time for the shifting of population to new dwellings, making room for the poorest in the cheapest of the old dwellings outside the Trust’s estates.”91 Here was a clear avowal of the act of demarcation that the Trust was undertaking. Sheds were “semi-permanent” when made by the Trust, and that they would be replaced by more permanent structures was conceived not to eliminate them but rather to move the poorest “outside the Trust’s estates.” In some ways, this was like a graded system of inclusion into officially sanctioned housing. The Trust’s actions were meant to slowly either incorporate or move the poorest outside of the boundary of the Trust’s estates where legitimate poor housing was being built, as opposed to illegitimate poor housing, even if such were huts. This opening created by the Trust, in which nondurable structures and semipermanent structures proliferated and were themselves internally differentiated as an adverse component of city making that had to be tolerated, was only one example of the numerous ways in which the aims of the Trust long outlived its institutional life. Well into the 1950s, actions were undertaken to suburbanize areas north of the proper municipal boundaries of the city. Mallad and Salsette, long governed and inhabited unofficially as extensions of and solutions for Bombay’s problems, were finally incorporated officially into Bombay’s municipal governance structures.92

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In addition, the use of a “public cause” to serve private interests was a way that even critics of the Trust devised to balance the good and bad circulation in the city. In 1914, Ibrahim Rahimtoola, the mayor of Bombay in 1899–1900 and now an appointed representative in the Trust, offered such criticism of the Trust’s activities. Rahimtoola criticized the disproportionate expenditures in the Fort North area, having himself examined the sanitary conditions there and found that in the past twenty-five years mortality was under the average of the whole city. In contrast, there were numerous areas of the city where mortality was 25–50 percent higher than the average of the city. There, projects of improvement had been proposed but never actualized. Money had disproportionately been spent, he complained, “in making roads.” He complained, “Nearly 3 crores of rupees have already been spent on roads and communications by the Trust and the Municipality in recent years, while schemes costing over a crore of rupees are under consideration.”93 Building roads and focusing on the moneyed parts of the city were in fact all part of the vision of city governance, unstated at times but actualized plenty, in which the revenue demands and the needs for private capital would outpace demands for improving livelihoods of the lowest classes, the latter always deferred and delayed. Rahimtoola’s criticisms notwithstanding— he acknowledged that the cost of living in the city had risen and this more severely affected the poor—he too was concerned to have “the worst slums uprooted.” He thought that “the prosperity of the city depend[ed] on its harbour and its industries” and that Bombay’s taxpayers (a small portion in 1914, when he was speaking) already paid too much in taxes compared to Calcutta. Here, it was again, a case of “the city” being a character whose needs had to be balanced against those living in it. Most often, “the city” won out; the prosperity of the city had to be maintained, and rather than seeing this maintenance as itself detrimental to the needs of the poor, this particular equation of solving “public nuisances” by enlisting private capital served city making long after the Trust was declared a failure. In the few decades of Trust activities, more people were dis-housed than rehoused, which only served to exacerbate the poor housing problem. Nonetheless, important things were accomplished through the Trust’s efforts. Namely, the status of the moneyed classes was elevated to caretakers of the city, and their vision of what governing the city entailed had long-lasting effects. The Trust was a particular kind of institution of city governance that conjoined public and private interests. It institutionalized new financial

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instruments of credit toward the demolition and renewal of labor housing. It also incentivized new buyers in city lands and buildings. The Trust, as a financial instrument, became a buyer of unlimited resources that fueled a property boom in spite of its paternalistic rhetoric. Landlords eagerly sought out compensation from the Trust and were even rewarded for plots of land for which they had nothing but a set of architectural drawings on what could have been built. Such financial mismanagement and eagerness to recompense landlords eventually led to the Trust’s financial failures. While initially the Trust was consciously willing to bear tremendous costs to clean the city and rehouse the poor, those costs undermined its efforts to renew the city wholesale. The outcomes of the Trust’s activities were indeterminate, plans giving way to ground realities. The depressions of the 1930s made the financial initiatives of the Trust unsustainable. It was amalgamated into the Municipal Corporation, but it had long-lasting effects even beyond its institutional history. It had been one way in which institutions of city governance proliferated in response to crises. The Bombay Development Department was another, each one sidestepping the growing demands for a city that could truly house and shelter its laborers and poor. By the 1930s, and for those advocating for self-rule, understandings and knowledge about the place of poverty within the city’s economy were presented as a national problem. The governance of the city thus became a nationalist project and cities signs of effective nation building. Although the Trust was dismantled and folded back into the Municipal ­Corporation, it had initiated methods of governance, conceptions of property, and relations within and to space that authorized the power of credit, normal­ ized public-private partnerships, and reconfigured city governance.

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Conclusion Afterlives of City Making

Cities are products of ongoing labors. They are not clearly demarcated entities represented by lines on a map or a self-evident category of administration or classification. Cities are also not demographic facts, nor do they represent an irreversible end point of modernization or development, as any laboring community knows that has been counted or celebrated one moment only to be problematized, demoted, and even cleared out decades later. Cities are produced by efforts to order a chaotic world so as to manage and intervene. City-making projects direct crises toward new ends; they strive to reinsert the space of the city as a more durable and interconnected infrastructure for world commerce. Projects of city making are undertaken again and again, making the city anew at each turn. Shifting rationales of exclusion, inclusion, and problematization serve the needs of city making. Conceiving of the city in this way, as an effect, provides a gene­ alogy of urban modernity with “the slum” as its internal counterpart. In colonial India, demarcating the city of Bombay entailed materializing boundary-making practices onto laboring bodies, their habitation practices, and their mobility. Upon bodies, it entailed distinguishing the hungry into able as opposed to dependent dispositions, skilled versus unskilled labor, and free versus unfree labor. Upon habitation practices, demarcation entailed identifying durable versus undurable structures, especially as shelter moved from being nonlegal, to legal, to illegal. Upon mobil­ ity, demar­cation entailed distinguishing between good circulation and bad. This meant striking the right balance between commerce and con­ta­ gion so that the city of Bombay could serve as a node in world commerce and yet encourage laboring populations into the city without putting at risk what was called the city’s “sanitary credit.” Good circulation also entailed making sure that circuits of finance connected through imperial circuits rather than regionally or locally circulating practices of usury. The Trust solidified by seeking to enact that distinction between finance and usury in the space of the city. Certainly, both practices indebted migrant workers and cultivators repeatedly. 179

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Throughout the nineteenth century, famines in almost every decade threatened colonial order. Normalizing agrarian crises by containing and localizing agriculture was the counterpart to the efforts at “worlding” cities. As a result, the city came to be a place for able-bodied, skilled, and free laborers. It also came to be a place for durable housing, commerce, and finance. Bombay’s “outsides” entailed unfree laborers, traditional forms of organization, undurable housing, and usury or exploitative forms of extraction. But these boundaries, as much as they were sought, did not materialize by excluding these from the space of the city. Throughout Bombay’s history, famished migrants “wandered” the city’s entrails. Relations of patronage and debt, bondage, and unfree labor were central to even the functioning of the mills that were perhaps most exemplary of Bombay’s industry. Usury in the villages was not that different from the kind of chains of rent extraction found in places such as Parell or Nagpada, where laborers crowded into single rooms. In fact, state and parastatal institutions regularly authorized the construction of nondurable shelters to cope with the constant and ongoing crises that manifested through agrarian shortages, mass migrations of famine victims, and cholera outbreaks across the empire. There were at least four moments in Bombay’s history that can be pointed to in which the government had sanctioned, condoned, or built temporary sheds and camps as shelter for migrants. The spatial logic in each revealed how the city came to be steadily conceptualized as a space for capital that excluded first and then included, but in a subordinated role, the “wrong” kinds of circulation, a history that continues to this day. The first moment was during the poor relief efforts during the earlier famines of the 1830s where camps were set up along the highways and corridors between country and city. A second was during the famines of the 1870s, as described in a report: “The sheds were constructed of the lightest and cheapest material procurable, the walls of bamboo mat, the roofing of the leaves of the date palm. . . . They must be removed from the city, but not too far away, they must be camped near a public road, they must be in a situation from whence the removal of filth and refuse of their encampment would not be impracticable.”1 The third moment was upon the plague of 1896 where the northern sections of Bombay were championed as sites of temporary shelter for diseased bodies, now inside but on the periphery of the city. Only a few years later the same areas were designated “slums” by the Trust—the institution formed in response to the plague—to assuage property owners and men of capital who wanted their land values to go up and commerce to keep flowing through the city. The Trust designated the

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northern areas slums so that it could be authorized to make roads through them. The fourth moment was in the later 1900s when the Trust could not build housing as fast as it was demolishing it. So “semi-permanent huts” and “temporary huts” were built by the Trust in the city but just outside Trust-acquired estates.2 These were in contrast to what the Trust called “slums” that were within Trust properties, targeted for reform and renewal. By 1933, the city was an internally uneven and patchy reality that was visually as diverse as the Trust’s map, where durable structures such as cement buildings abutted sheds. These maps and the structures they depicted masked much more fundamental diversities in modes of production in the city, from free to unfree labor, or bondage through finance or usury, none of which could be separated in space or in persons. The “semipermanent huts,” or “SH,” were marked and recognized, even distinguished from “sheds built by private enterprise” that were too crowded and there­ fore seen as not only “outside Trust estates” but not becoming of a city.3 And it was thus that projects of discursive demarcation sought to wall off the city long after the fort walls of the East India Company had been in disuse or in disrepair. The “slum” has been a crucial narrative resource in maintaining the exclusions that were constitutive of the city. For one, it made invisible the process of rural colonization and migration on which the city depended. As a moniker, “slum,” more so than its predecessor “UHH” (unfit for human habitation), captured and connoted agriculture, rural migrants, bonded laborers, traditional occupations, overcrowding, illicit networks of circular migration, usury, and the alignment of unhygienic practices and unsanitary lifestyles in ways that debilitated the flow of capital. For the conception of the city to ossify over the decades, identifying and then excluding such elements was essential. Further, determining which sources of revenue and therefore what kinds of labor and production were appropriate in the city served to exclude the history of agriculture from city space. Also, adjudicating between kinds of mobility (good circulation versus bad circulation), between kinds of migrant (a potentially laboring body as opposed to a ­famished migrant), and between openings for capital as opposed to openings for disease was necessary to producing the space of a city. The making of the “slum” depended on and supplemented the making of “the city.” Once “the slum” emerged, it served to organize intervention, reform, and exclusion of migrants and laborers well into the twentieth century. Slum making was a case of a solution finding its problem rather than the other way around. While numerous scholars and observers have been right to

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point to the derogatory nature of the term slum, we ought not to forget how useful the term has been in restoring the power of capital in spite of repeated crises.4 Deconstructing the category “slum” ought not to suggest that the designation of a place as a “slum” is arbitrary or meaningless; rather, the term is indicative of a judicious and careful process of illegalization through which particular places could be targeted for inclusion into the logic of city making, while others are excluded. Entire neighborhoods of Bombay could be designated “slum” so as to organize intervention. Sprawling shacks could be praised or even built by the colonial regime in one instance and then later stigmatized to good effect. The longer history of the governance of poverty is an important thread in the genealogy of the modern slum. During the East India Company period, poverty was governed through “poor relief.” In this period, projects of improvement sought to identify those with capital to make land more productive, but at the same time the company tried to strike a balance between charity and economy. By the 1880s, relieving specific instances of poverty gave way to the formation of “India’s” poverty problem, a national conception. By the twentieth century, “India’s” poverty problem demanded new forms of rule located in and through the city, through objects designated distinctly urban. As a result, institutions of governance proliferated, blurring the lines between the state and parastatal and civil organizations, all of which made the demarcation and well-being of “the city” a central concern. Making the modern “slum” displaced concerns of the poor onto reified spaces of poverty and non-modernity. An emergent register of urbanity that derived from the urban gaze became aligned through these exclusions. The urban gaze made certain objects visible, while others were demoted or made illegible. The urban gaze saw as legible commerce, ideal population density, vertical housing (rather than diversity of shelter), finance (rather than usury or indebtedness tied to bondage on the land), and uses of property for “improvement.” It identified infrastructures for commercial markets, such as ports, roadways, and railways, as “urban.” It also promoted pro-capital labor regulations and institutions including the development of new instruments of finance to capitalize the space of the city. It aspired to distinguish neighborhoods into types such as industrial or residential. The urban gaze aimed to intervene not just in the totality of the spatial relations in the city but also in migrants’ practices of habitation. It set out sanitation principles developed in advance of actual use patterns rather than follow already existing practices of hygiene. It, at worst, normalized agricultural crises, making city space distinct from spaces of

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agrarian production upon which everyone in the city depended. Through all of these correlates of urbanity, the urban gaze worked to demarcate “the city” as a distinct social fact by the turn of the twentieth century. The city had done the work of staging the economy before the latter was created. With agriculture made distinct from the city, the economy began to be demarcated as distinct from the cultural, precapitalist, or tradi­ tional. The distinctions assumed to exist between cities and villages, agriculture and industry, or cultivator and industrial worker were products of history and not “natural.” As products of history, the distinctions were not completed in some time past, but required ongoing labors to create anew such distinctions. Similarly, the subsequent management of the “sectors” internal to what we call “the economy,” sectors such as finance, industry, agriculture, or commerce, is formed through the historical construction of the city as a distinct object of rule. The management of the sectors as each distinct only aids in the continual reproduction of the power of capital and “the economy.” What’s more, the “sectors” certainly don’t represent the lived experiences of many people. It was decades later, perhaps truly in the 1980s or 1990s in India, although this would have to be studied further, that the city came to be displaced by the abstract notion of “the economy.” In colonial India, the space of the city had been the site where the totality of economic life could first be imagined. Once “the economy” became the site of this imagination, limitless growth became conceivable. Growth could be measured as a numerical aggregate rather than stores of wealth.5 Then, poor populations in the city were less necessary to contribute to growth, and more people could be left aside rather than incorporated, and therefore governed merely for the political threats they posed. Thus, city, slum, and economy continued to be reconstituted even after the end of colonial rule and into the present. Upon independence, Indian cities were thought to be not “real cities.”6 The result was a distinction between modern cities and not-yet modern cities, a conception that retroactively made it seem as if it was a historical fact that “slums” prevailed in one and not the other. Jal Feerose Bulsara’s notion that India’s cities were “cities in name only” was not therefore a descriptive statement, but used the disorderly or unclean city to instigate and authorize projects of city making.7 City making served the wider project of modernization that was in circulation by the 1950s. Modernization templates had come to influence Indian planning, nationalist economics, and international attitudes toward postcolonial development. The often-repeated argument was that because of colonialism, modernization and urbanization had been thwarted. Such

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a view created a simple equation between industry and cities that went unexamined. In each subsequent instance of city making, identifying slums was central to the project. Naming places slums served to justify renewal and reform projects that would make the city in the desired image. In other words, stigmatization was and is necessary for renewal and reform that remake space and the economy again and again and continue unevenly into the present, but such projects began at the turn of the twentieth century across cities worldwide.

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Epilogue Movements and Countermovements

The First World War r aised costs of living and depressed wages all at once, thus reducing the buying power of Bombay’s inhabitants, who then numbered over 1.5 million. This catapulted labor movements throughout Bombay, although collective action had been evident in previous decades. Booms in cotton and grain prices made millowners and landlords even wealthier, so land and property prices went up along with booming rents. This instigated strikes among bus and tram workers, postmen, service men and women, and industrial workers of all kinds. The 1919 textile strike had a major impact, showing the labor movement how much power it had to stop capital in its tracks. Each of these strikes had the support of the founding editor of the Bombay Chronicle, Benjamin Horniman (1873–1948). Under his editorship, the newspaper connected disparate episodes of agitation across the city to a common narrative and structure of exploitation by capital and the colonial state.1 Horniman himself even spoke at rallies and meetings, making him a more popular figure in wartime Bombay than even Mohandas Gandhi, who was still perfecting his strategies. A decline in support for the war effort put the government of India into crisis. So the government of Bombay and the Municipal Corporation enacted mitigating legislation to quell disaffection among Bombay’s inhabitants, albeit belatedly. They installed price controls for grains to be sold in municipality-owned grain shops and passed the Rent Act of 1918, ultimately criticized by the Bombay Chronicle for being ineffective in practice. Along with a crisis of labor control, there were demands for increased participation in municipal affairs, including women wanting the franchise, and redirection of municipal funds toward public works. Some advocated for state housing rather than enlist private interests to build housing. The Social Service League, along with town planner Patrick Geddes, now considered one of the fathers of urban planning, raised the question of “civic progress.” By 1925, there were protests against rent increases. Overall, the power of capital in colonial Bombay was severely challenged. 185

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But there was a growing consensus that “the village” was the real home of India’s poverty. Radhakamal Mukerjee was a professor of economics and sociology at the University of Lucknow and was friends with Geddes. Their influences on each other reveal how the notion that “India” was truly in its villages played out, a belief that had consequences for how the role of the city was imagined in planning for the future. Geddes worked at the University of Bombay as a lecturer and wrote the introduction to Mukerjee’s book The Foundations of Indian Economics, published in 1916. Geddes critiqued the way private interests were placed in charge of provisioning housing and believed that good housing was fundamental to civic inclusion.2 In turn, Geddes influenced Mukerjee’s ideas, but Mukerjee was also very Gandhian. His concern was that India’s unique historical conditions were not adjusted for in understandings of poverty and inequality. He wrote, In India more than in any other country the great intellectual, social, and religious movements have originated in villages, and, nurtured by their thoughts and aspirations, at last reached the cities. The soul of India is to be found in the village, not in the city. In modern Europe, on the other hand, the discoveries in intellectual or social life are made in the city and are then communicated to the village, which receive them as gospel truths. The city sets the example. The village imitates. . . . [In India] the village is still almost self-sufficing, and is in itself an economic unit.3

This prioritization of village life as the originator of all that could be a part of a unique Indian modernity was a nationalist extension of an old orientalist conceit, one that conceptualized India as a place of self-sufficient village communities.4 For those influenced by such orientalists and mainly Gandhi, the village was the site of a potential national consciousness, “the soul of India.” Mukerjee thus thought that migrants to the city were a temporary sort and said that migration “does not involve a permanent change in residence. . . . The Indian factory hand is primarily an agriculturalist. His real home is in his native village, not in the city where he works.”5 This notion of the migrants’ “real home” justified a constant shifting of a critical gaze from the city to the country in early twentieth-century India. Whenever problems in the city were found, they were thought to have “real” origins in the villages. Likewise, villagers needed to be protected from the extractions of city life. Thus, the predominant view about the city and its inhabitants was that the city was a warped and temporary expression of India’s villages, the true and fundamental unit of Indian society.

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Cities were not the “soul” of India, and as a result ambitious national leaders struggled to see cities as even potential spaces of anticolonialism. For them, the city was the site of a European history and even history in Europe, while the village was the site of Indian history and thus history in India. Gandhi said upon arriving in Bombay in 1915, “I don’t like Bombay. . . . It looks as if it were the scum of London.”6 Gandhi had an aversion to all of India’s industrial cities, blaming modern infrastructure such as the railways for disease, famine, and poverty, each of which spread from the cities outward: It must be manifest to you that, but for the railways, the English could not have such a hold on India as they have. The railways, too, have spread the bubonic plague. Without them, masses could not move from place to place. They are the carriers of plague germs. Formerly we had natural segregation. Railways have also increased the frequency of famines, because, owing to facility of means of locomotion, people sell out their grain, and it is sent to the dearest markets. People become careless, and so the pressure of famine increases. They accentuate the evil nature of man.7

Gandhi romanticized the past, as if before the railways there were no trade routes or illnesses. He was criticized for such ideas even by his contemporaries. However, his concerns pointed to the increasing view that cities were nothing more than the locales of extractive markets, outward from which radiated railways to spread disease and produce hunger. Such views brought Gandhi into direct conflict with those fighting for equity and redress in the city of Bombay, such as Horniman of the Bombay Chronicle. Throughout World War I, the newspaper came out defending ongoing labor strikes in Bombay that extended beyond factory floors. The Chronicle reported that relations between labor and capital were premised “on injustice and inhumanity . . . a modern but more sinister form of human slavery.”8 For the Chronicle, the city could be the space in which labor confronted capital, the space in which anticolonialism and anticapitalism merged. Instead of supporting the general strikes, a “legitimate weapon of organized Labour against organized Capital,” Gandhi foiled the possibility of increased workers’ compensation and representation in Bombay’s affairs. Gandhi’s concessions to capital are well documented elsewhere, but historian Sandip Hazareesingh’s account of the precise ways in which Gandhi redirected the productive anger of labor is quite revealing for how it shows that politics in the space of the city is potentially most dangerous and

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therefore especially necessary to contain.9 Precisely how the power of capital circumvents direct confrontation includes aid from nationalists like Gandhi who champion village India as the nation’s “soul.” Exemplary of far too many such instances like this, capitalists, colonialists, and nationalists too often work in concert to contain worker agitation and maintain the flow of capital. In 1919, the Rowlatt Act was passed, providing the colonial state the power of indefinitely detaining those engaged in activities against the state. By this point, the conflict between Horniman and Gandhi had heightened. A mass strike was envisioned to protest the Rowlatt Act, to start on April 6, 1919. Horniman thought that previous strikes in Bombay had proved that the city could be a stage for civil disobedience and direct action. Thinking that the mass strike could function as a more collective and materialist satyagraha (the Gandhian strategy of anticolonial resistance that prescribed self-rule through abstinence from modern ameliorations), Horniman brought in Gandhi to address workers before the strike. However, Gandhi doubled down on defining satyagraha as a tactic of “self-purification and penance.” On the day of the strike, as historian Hazareesingh shows, Gandhi led followers to a bath in the sea at Chowpatty for ritual purification, rather than directly supporting the mass strike. While Horniman wanted to use the strike to address material conditions, Gandhi wanted the day of the strike to be solemn, self-reflective, and not directly confrontational. In the end, events such as the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in the Punjab led Gandhi to call off the strikes, believing that the Indian population was not quite ready for self-rule and satyagraha. Gandhi’s strict understanding of swaraj (self-rule) and replacement of tactics of labor with the tactics of the satyagrahi meant that a particular brand of nation building displaced the labor question. Eventually, the demand for the nation even displaced demands for substantive citizenship. Many of the issues raised since World War I including the wage, housing, taxation with representation, and control over municipal affairs and over public works were sidelined. In the interwar period, the Bombay Chronicle was put under “pre-censorship” because “the Chronicle had used ‘words’ which were [likely] ‘directly or indirectly[’] . . . to bring into hatred and contempt the Government established by law in British India.”10 Horniman was forcibly deported to England by a “military style operation” because of fear that Horniman was a “private agitator” coming between capital and laborers and championing home rule. The newspaper’s offices were then raided and materials were confiscated. Under Horniman’s

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leadership, a political possibility had opened up, which was foreclosed only by Gandhi’s actions. Subsequent demands for a “material basis” for citizenship and inclusion were similarly sidelined. As Hazareesingh notes, “Henceforth, rival Congress factions, embroiled in all-India struggles and driven by class compromises, would not perceive the city as a promising theatre for an experiment in democratic municipal government, capable of ushering in a new era of social and material advance. Rather, Bombay became a glittering political prize to be won within the rules of authoritarian colonial governance, an influential arena for the exercise of a new hegemony.”11 Whether “the city” had indeed become an arena for a new hegemony can be debated of course, but there is much evidence to suggest that mainstream nationalist conceptions meant that the city’s role in constituting the power of capital was left untouched and even extended.12 Labor unrest continued through the 1920s and 1930s, manifesting in over seventy strikes in the textile mills, most prominently in 1928, after which the Girni Kamgar Union led the communist movement among workers in Bombay.13 Mukerjee had even thought of the relation between cities and villages in India as an “internal drain,” where cities extracted from villages. He said, “Urban economic prosperity . . . is based on exploitation of man. Cities thus hold a large proportion of parasitic population.”14 This was an extension inward of the widely circulating “drain of wealth” thesis first espoused by Dadabhai Naoroji, but as an extension it could have had real radical potential in the space of the city.15 But labor unrest was often dealt with by recourse to governance procedures that would remake Indian cities by co-opting and sidelining laborers’ demands. It was often middle-class residents who inserted themselves into the political movements of the working classes, redirecting demands for shelter toward demands for effective governance or even communal segregation.16 Movements made by combinations of labor throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries resulted in countermovements by combinations on behalf of capital. In the colonial period and beyond, laborers, migrants, and the poor were never passive recipients of the urban gaze, projects of city renewal, or reconstitutions of the power of capital. As this book has shown, laborers and migrants tried to foil, subvert, or even co-opt the visions of rulers. Collective action, too, was never confined to mills. City scavengers, or Halalkhors, used their collective power to increase their foothold in the spaces of the city of Bombay. Labor combinations subsequently went on to include those in factories and industry, but also postal workers, service men and women, transportation workers, and those protesting rent extractions.

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Bombay was central to the life of labor organizing; the Bombay Mill Hands Association was formed in 1890, and by 1929, over 190,000 people belonged to some fifty-one unions affiliated with the All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC).17 But celebrating the agency and actions of laborers can only take us so far in understanding the exact conditions under which laborers live, conjunctures that renew the power of capital at seemingly every turn.18 Understanding precisely how the power of capital is made and remade is necessary to overcoming it. Anthropologist Eric R. Wolf once warned historians of labor against sidestepping the problem of understanding laboring con­ ditions: “Even labor historians concentrated at first on the history of labor organizations and labor movements; that is, they were more interested in efforts to transcend a condition than in delineating that condition itself. . . . Less was said of what was present, the relational matrix and content of working class existence.”19 That relational matrix included the “fear of mass irruption and social disorder.” As this book has shown, rulers learned from their prior mistakes. A riot in the city against attempts at intimate interventions prompted new practices whereby governance would happen not upon colonial bodies but at a location once removed, upon the conduits of commerce and contagion such as roadways, thoroughfares, and space. Combinations of capitalists against taxes or regulations prompted new practices of rule that were “inclusive,” allowing capitalists to gain from the space of the city. In all, fears of “mass irruption” provoked new practices of governance to form and as a result the power of capital has been much more difficult to resist. When “obstacles” to the powers of labor have been studied in the past or questions asked about why collective action has failed, two key features have been repeatedly pointed out: one, the migratory nature of Indian labor and, two, poverty.20 That laborers move between city and countryside means that it is difficult to sustain the political investments in improving either one alone, and intense poverty creates desperation for work, not time for political organizing. The latter is, of course, a cyclical problem with devastating results. These two factors continually affirm narratives of India’s difference, such as those advanced by nationalists. Such narratives justify those who advocate for “gradual” reform of labor relations rather than radical realignments. Many argue that Indian workers were not like England’s workers. Nationalist leaders’ arguments legitimated capitalists’ demand for greater labor discipline. In 1921, 84 percent of the population of the city was born outside of Bombay. Employers blamed the lack of discipline in their labor

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force on the migratory nature of their employees, an assessment that the nationalist narrative seconded. John Whitley, chair of the Royal Commission on Labour in India, wrote in 1931: “The main industries of India are manned by a mass of agricultural workers temporarily forsaking the mattock and the plough to add to their income by a brief spell in industry. . . . [It is a] truth of primary importance that the great majority of those employed are at heart villagers.”21 This idea explained for the capitalists the lack of effective labor discipline. What was thought to be a basic spatial dislocation of an essential identity produced a unique condition in India; villagers were supposedly not invested enough in industry. Indian nationalist leaders invoked the idea of India’s difference from the developed world to great effect, and, once again, here the urban/rural divide was central. The notion that India was fundamentally a place of villages permitted nationalists to champion cooperation between capital and labor in the city. This justified breaking up, disallowing, or not recognizing unions even once they had been given legal sanction.22 In 1920, the AITUC was formed out of interactions between dispersed trade unions and the rising International Labour Organization (ILO). Sometimes run by the main leaders of the Indian National Congress, the AITUC attempted to bring Indian labor issues onto the platform of the ILO at large, but the narrative of Indian difference created double standards even there. It was as if the labor question in Western countries was not comparable to the labor issues in India. Harold Butler, the director of the ILO, said when he visited India in 1938: It is clear that the introduction of industrialization is breeding the same problems in the East as the West, but against an eastern background their order of importance appears in a different light. The western mind is mainly preoccupied with questions of wage rates, working hours, unemployment, social insurance, protection against industrial accidents and disease, the safeguarding of women and children against exploitation, the organization of factory inspection, relations between employer and worker, to which have been added in comparatively recent years the questions of housing, nutrition and vocational training. All these problems have made their appearance over the eastern horizon. . . . Nevertheless . . . it would be misleading to suggest that these problems, important as they are, dominate the social consciousness of the East. They necessarily yield priority to the fundamental and interlocking problems of population, poverty, illiteracy and disease.23

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Ironically, poverty and inequality had become the cause for difference between the East and West rather a result of their encounter or even their commensurability. The problem of labor had to be solved in India by first “catching up” to the West and then addressing poverty later. This type of reasoning was echoed by Indian nationalist leaders when they asked laborers to sacrifice for the “nation,” a request reworked over and over again decades after independence.24 In both cases, the logic was one of ­deferral—nation first, then labor justice. A precise recipe of nationalism without anticolonialism has meant that what are effects of exploitation by capital are explained as the very obstacles that prevent capital from ushering in its mythical promises.25 This book has tried to problematize perhaps one of the most banal assumptions that keeps such inversions going, namely, that “cities” are truly distinct social spaces that are a sign of or an instigator of capitalist development. One implication of the assumption, explored most fully in chapter 2, is that agriculture, villages, and the countryside, and the crises of production that are ongoing there such as famines and farmer suicides, are seen as problems apart from the problems of the city. As the distinction between good and bad circulation played out, the causal lines that connected agricultural precarity to the city’s density were severed materially and conceptually—divided in space and time even by excluding laborers from spaces of the city. Sometimes mapped onto distinct occupations, colonial India’s laboring poor were rigidly classified as agricultural or industrial, rural or urban, even traditional or modern. In colonial India as elsewhere, spatial distinctions aided the management and government of the poor and were not seen as impoverishment’s effects. Even well-meaning scholars and labor organizers—some of whom certainly cement formidable coalitions against the power of capital—can run the risk of casting the city’s laborers as insufficiently industrial workers or displaced villagers living in the city. Rather than problematizing our own scholarly or analytic categories of understanding, in dangerous ways we can become complicit in the institutional arrangements that elaborate various kinds of legitimacy and illegitimacy inside city life. For example, by the time of India’s independence, it was a widely accepted view that Bombay had not turned out as many had wanted or imagined. Mulk Raj Anand (1905–2004), the progressive writer known for his concerns with the poor, founded the Modern Architectural Research Group (MARG) in Bombay to instigate a more intentional effort at building India’s spaces. Anand was instru­men­tal in suggesting Le Corbusier to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru for the development of Chandigarh, a city that was idealized to be a

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planner’s dream built from scratch, although, of course, as in all cities, requiring eminent domain and dispossessions. He then advocated for “New Bombay” in 1965 as a similar solution to the problems of Bombay; a way to start over, New Bombay would open up the mainland across Bombay.26 The creation of “New Bombay” had been anticipated for decades. As early as 1872, census writers noted: “[From] a sanitary point of view the City requires a new Town to be built to prevent this excessive over-crowding.”27 New towns offered the possibility of materializing an abstract ideal city of “higher rationality,” since rather than intervening in unplanned settlements they would start out planned. Building them was a way to start over, to demarcate the city anew, rather than plan amid the unruliness of actually existing social life, as had been done in colonial Bombay. This “higher rationality” was put into practice through planning, architecture, organizations such as Marg, intentional suburbanization projects, and funds toward coordinated projects of urbanization. Increasingly, postcolonial development entailed large expenditures that displayed this urban bias, where the majority of development funds went to making cities.28 Anand went on to critique these outcomes, even Chandigarh. Yet, in this way and in spite of the intentions Anand had in trying to conceive of a uniquely Indian modern architecture, his endorsements led to closures for migrants and laborers and openings for capital. In other words, in seeking out ideal cities, he ended up endorsing urban reform projects that continued to displace the poor. Misplaced expenditures on projects of national development meant that spaces of poverty increased on the whole in the decades following independence. Exceptions to that story existed in regions and states, such as Kerala and West Bengal, where the priorities of capital were not maintained by appealing to obfuscating notions of “the health of the city.”29 In most states, though, “becoming a slum” entailed precisely the kind of judicious illegalization that transformed what was legitimate housing one minute into illegitimate the next.30 Stigmatizing and marking spaces of poverty in the city continued to aid in reorganizing the power of capital. Private development projects were assisted by state revisions of laws and titling in what were called “megaslums,” such as Dharavi, where workingclass settlements morphed into stigmatized housing and informal labor.31 A hydrological apartheid characterized postcolonial Mumbai; public services such as water became increasingly privatized, urban commons were encroached upon by development capital, and the poorest were increasingly “dehydrated.”32 Neighborhoods and communities without access to water— slums and informal settlements—often didn’t even count as belonging to

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“the city,” justifying spectacles of heroic action by local police to reclaim and enforce private property.33 In postcolonial Indian cities, residents built new walls between themselves and their poorest neighbors, and, as Amita Baviskar shows, even killed poorer interlopers to keep their neighborhoods “clean.” Resident vigilantes followed bourgeois environmentalism in urban spaces to logical ends.34 Debates on reform in India have been ongoing since partition and independence. The colonial state’s imperatives have been taken up by postcolonial “consulting firms” such as the McKinsey Global Institute, which in the new millennium focus on reducing barriers in the land market. They identify, as geographer D. Asher Ghertner analyzes, “inflexible zoning” (the kind that prevents agricultural land from being transformed to urban use); “unclear ownership” (the kind that creates “pirate urbanization” or the chains of tenancy that enable the majority in Indian cities to inhabit city space); “rent laws” (such as rent ceilings that protect laborers from extortion in housing); and “counterproductive taxation” (the kind of state revenues that could be diverted to public goods).35 Widely circulating images of ideal “world cities” incite changes to land markets, meanings of citizenship, and new powers of capital.36 These necessitate dispossessions and displacements that transform agrarian lands into urban ones and slum evictions in the city, sometimes resulting in violent confrontations between poor residents and private capital, the latter working in concert with ostensibly public and state institutions.37 To be gained by the conjoining of the needs of Indian capital with international aims is postcolonial arrival. This entails Indian land developers and municipal governors undertaking a laborious process to establish commensurability between Indian property regimes and “international” real estate norms, so that “fungible” assets can be offered up to investment firms. Anthropologist Llerena Guiu Searle has shown how an anticipatory “India story” of rising GDP fuels speculation so as to make space for capital.38 The cost is a “depoliticization of governance” where urban citizen’s “participation and consultation are . . . deployed with instrumental purpose.”39 Using images of ideal cities as a good that can benefit all equally has proven a good way to evacuate citizenship of real political content. As a result, the laboring and poor are not just excluded from what counts as the city, as this book has shown, but can themselves join middleclass boosters to become advocates of urban renewal, and this in spite of increasingly not being counted at all.40 These improvement and restructuring processes are, now just as ever, aspirations that share a common vocabulary with aspirations in agriculture.

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“Crises of urbanism” find their counterparts in crises of agriculture that result from intensifying capitalist relations in the countryside. Journalist P. Sainath has painstakingly documented ongoing farmer suicides that are the products of privatization of all agrarian inputs including seeds and water, noting that “drought relief is India’s biggest growth industry.”41 Just as in the famine of 1877, with which this book opens, these ongoing agrarian crises are localized and particularized, blamed on incompetent farmers or the weather rather than on the concerted consolidation of compulsory and unjust markets. Likewise, the migration fueled by these agrarian crises is treated as a disconnected and separate problem of urban disorder and blight, as a problem that “the city” suffers from. “The city” is a powerful and persistent spatial category of rule, rather than an objective category of space, that divides farmers’ suicides from slum settlements, seed privatization from dehydration of the urban poor, and rural usury from urban precarity. Divisions of this kind allow problems to be posed in such a way as to avert challenges to capital’s power and, moreover, allow crises to be reframed as singular and thus as an opportunity for capital. The art of governing the poor has entailed scapegoating and co-opting migrants and laborers across city and countryside, blaming them for “the nuisances” of Indian urbanism or the inefficiency of agriculture, while interpolating them in projects of renewal and accumulation so as to continually justify newer city-making projects that only co-opt to condemn again and again.

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Notes

Preface 1 United Nations Human Settlements Programme, The Challenge of Slums.

Introduction 1 Davis, Late Victorian Holocausts. 2 Indian Famine of 1877. 3 City of Bombay Census (COBC), 1921, Maharashtra State Archives (MSA), Mumbai. 4 Wood, Origin of Capitalism. 5 Foucault, “Spaces of Security”; Foucault, Security, Territory, Population, 29–34. 6 Burnell, Bombay in the Days of Queen Anne. 7 Gordon, Marathas. 8 Also in 1737, an inhabitant, Ramji Parbhu, offered to build a wall along the sea with his own money, in exchange for the plot of land adjacent to it, “for his heirs for ever [sic].” The wall would cost him Rs. 3,000, so he asked for Rs. 500 from the company toward it. See Campbell, Materials towards a Statistical Account, vol. 2, 281–84; Dossal, Theatre of Conflict, City of Hope, 26–36. 9 Edwardes, Rise of Bombay, 183; Conlon, “Caste, Community, and Colonialism,” 192. 10 Municipal Commissioner’s Report for the City of Bombay (MCRCOB), 1877, 13, MSA. 11 Similarly, Foucault says, “The city . . . appears as a medicalizable object.” Foucault, Power/Knowledge, 175. 12 MCRCOB, 1877, 9–10, MSA. 13 Foucault, Archaeology of Knowledge. 14 Lowe, Intimacies of Four Continents, 5. 15 Viswanath, Pariah Problem. 16 Lowe, Intimacies of Four Continents, 5. 17 Mackintosh, cited in Guha, Beyond Caste, 164. 18 Chandavarkar, Origins of Industrial Capitalism in India, 78–84. 19 Guldin, What’s a Peasant to Do? 20 McKeown, “Global Migration, 1846–1940,” 157. 21 Cohn, “Census, Social Structure and Objectification in South Asia,” 240. 22 Castells, Urban Question. 23 Garland, “What Is a ‘History of the Present’?” 197

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no t e s t o i n t roduc t ion 24 For a discussion of the way in which the distinct functions of the East India Company required distinct kinds of geographic knowledge, see Edney, Mapping an Empire, 128. 25 Engels, Housing Question. Engels’s original German article was translated into English by Clemens Palme Dutt, of Bengali descent, in 1935. Dutt and his brother, Rajani, were both prominent communist organizers. Their activities, writings, and translations are worth much further research. 26 Engels, Housing Question. 27 Brewer, Marxist Theories of Imperialism; Harvey, Spaces of Global Capitalism; Tucker, Marx-Engels Reader. 28 Chandavarkar, Origins of Industrial Capitalism in India, 26. 29 Hazareesingh, “Quest for Urban Citizenship.” 30 Li, Will to Improve; Mosse, “Rule and Representation.” 31 Bombay Builder, 216; Conlon, “Industrialization and the Housing Problem in Bombay.” 32 “Vagrant Population Report on the Committee of the Houseless—of Aden,” January 28, 1921, IOR/R/20/A/2586, file 117/5, India Office Records (IOR), British Library, London. 33 The term footloose labor allows us to acknowledge that in the experiences of the landless, there are not neat distinctions between pastoralism, agriculture, and industry. Such distinctions are useful for historical sociologies, but they do not capture the lived experiences of the people who move between them. Breman, Footloose Labour. 34 This way of seeing governance as processual borrows from the work of Tania Li. See especially the introduction in Li, Will to Improve. 35 Roy, “21st-Century Metropolis,” 819. 36 Foucault, “Eye of Power,” in Foucault, Power/Knowledge, 148–49. 37 Foucault, Security, Territory, Population, 437–38; Legg, Spaces of Colonialism, 16; Pløger, “Foucault’s Dispositif and the City.” 38 Foucault, “Society Must Be Defended,” 245. 39 COBC, 1881, 37, MSA. 40 Burnett-Hurst, Labour and Housing in Bombay, 11. 41 Bulsara, Problems of Rapid Urbanisation in India, 155. 42 While Bombay was called the “Town and Island of Bombay” in the earliest census, at roughly the same time, vernacular histories of the city in Marathi and Gujarati from 1862 and 1867, respectively, referred to it as shahar. Shahar, however, did not mean the much stricter concept or governmental category of “city” or “urban” that would emerge later. But those terms became translations of each other. The source base for these histories was often archaeological and anthropological inquiries by orientalists. See Madagāvakara, Govind Narayan’s Mumbai; Dīvāna, Mumbaīno bhomiyo. 43 Redfield, “Folk Society”; Redfield and Singer, “Cultural Role of Cities”; Rostow, “Stages of Economic Growth.” 44 Davis, World Urbanization; Weber, Growth of Cities. 45 King, Urbanism, Colonialism, and the World-Economy. 46 Habib, “Colonization of the Indian Economy,” in Habib, Essays in Indian History. 47 Sovani, Urbanization and Urban India. 48 Polanyi, Great Transformation. 49 Rao, House, but No Garden, 28.

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50 Orr, Finances of the Bombay City Improvement Trust, 6. 51 Dwyer, People and Housing in Third World Cities. 52 Patel and Thorner, Bombay: Mosaic of Modern Culture. 53 Lewis and Harris, “Segregation and the Social Relations of Place,” 593. 54 Boeke, Economics and Economic Policy of Dual Societies; Abu-Lughod, “Tale of Two Cities.” 55 Chattopadhyay, Representing Calcutta, 10. 56 On labor recruitment, see Chandavarkar, Origins of Industrial Capitalism in India. On formation of indebtedness, see Hardiman, Feeding the Baniya. 57 Washbrook, “Law, State and Agrarian Society,” 664. 58 Chandavarkar, Origins of Industrial Capitalism in India, 185. 59 Burnett-Hurst, Labour and Housing in Bombay, 23. 60 Such assumptions of difference continue to inform scholarship on contemporary Indian urbanism. Hansen, “Sovereigns beyond the State.” 61 Johnson, “The Pedestal and the Veil”; Johnson, “To Remake the World.” 62 Datta, Planning the City; Rabinow, “Governing Morocco.” Very usefully, Datta’s discussion of planning goes even farther back than Rabinow’s, much earlier in the nineteenth century. Foucault, “Spaces of Security”; Foucault, Security, Territory, Population, 34–35. 63 Fischer, McCann, and Auyero, Cities from Scratch, 13. 64 Chhabria, “Aboriginal Alibi.” 65 Foucault, Birth of Biopolitics, 65; Joyce, Rule of Freedom. 66 Callon, “Essay on Framing and Overflowing.” 67 Mitchell, “Fixing the Economy”; Mirowski, Against Mechanism. 68 Mitchell, “Fixing the Economy,” 87–91. 69 Rather than debate the origins of “the economy,” whether national economy was the first instance of “the economy” or not, my concern is to show how such invocations materialized through city space. For this debate, see Goswami, Producing India; Shenk, introduction to “Inventing the American Economy.” 70 Mitchell, Rule of Experts, 96. 71 Chhabria, “Citing the Poor.” 72 Mackintosh, cited in Guha, Beyond Caste, 164. 73 “Report on the Possibilities of Development of Salsette as Residential Area,” 1909, 3, IOR/V/27/780/20, IOR. 74 I am thankful to an anonymous reviewer for drawing this point out. 75 Bhattacharya and Lucassen, Workers in the Informal Sector; Haynes, Small Town Capitalism; Roitman, “Politics of Informal Markets”; Roitman, Fiscal Disobedience.

Chapter 1: Land 1 Mukhia, Feudalism Debate; Prakash, Bonded Histories. 2 The literature is substantial, but see especially the following debate for a particularly poignant account of these two sides: Chandra, “Reinterpretation of Nineteenth ­C entury Indian Economic History”; Morris, “Towards a Reinterpretation of Nineteenth-Century Indian Economic History.” 3 Habib, Essays in Indian History.

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No t e s t o C h a p t e r 1 4 Ludden, Early Capitalism, 216. 5 Perlin, Invisible City, 85–90. 6 “Grant of a Piece of Ground in Delhi to Delsukh Roy for the Erection of a Dharmshala,” August 1831–April 1832, IOR/F/4/1429/56504, IOR. 7 “Board’s Collections,” September 1832–July 1834, IOR/F/4/1479/58148, pp. 65–66, IOR. 8 “Board’s Collections,” September 1832–July 1834, IOR/F/4/1479/58148, p. 33, IOR. 9 I would like to thank Timothy Mitchell for this insight. 10 Dean, “Genealogy of the Government of Poverty,” 220. 11 “Papers regarding the Charitable Work Carried out by the Committee for the Management of the Monegar Choultry,” February 1833–June 1834, February 11, 1835, Madras, IOR/F/4/1458/57428, p. 57, IOR. 12 “Papers regar ding the Charitable Work Carried out by the Committee for the Management of the Monegar Choultry,” p. 30, IOR. 13 “Papers regarding the Charitable Work Carried out by the Committee for the Management of the Monegar Choultry,” p. 47, IRO. 14 “Papers regarding the Charitable Work Carried out by the Committee for the Management of the Monegar Choultry,” p. 58, IRO. 15 “Papers regarding the Charitable Work Carried out by the Committee for the Management of the Monegar Choultry,” p. 59, IRO. 16 Dobbin, “Competing Elites in Bombay City Politics.” 17 Dossal, Theatre of Conflict, City of Hope, 26–34. 18 Cited in Dossal, Theatre of Conflict, City of Hope, 36. 19 Dossal, Theatre of Conflict, City of Hope, 64–68. 20 Edwardes, Bombay Town and Island History, 476. 21 Edwardes, Bombay Town and Island History, 478–80. 22 Bayly, Rulers, Townsmen, and Bazaars, 238. 23 “Correspondence about Salsette Island,” 1737–1813, IOR/H/334, pp. 94–95, IOR. 24 Dossal, Theatre of Conflict, City of Hope, 108. 25 “Correspondence about Salsette Island,” 92–97. 26 “Correspondence about Salsette Island,” 194 (italics mine). 27 Edwardes, Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island, vol. 1, 119. 28 Dossal, Theatre of Conflict, City of Hope, xxx. 29 “Correspondence about Salsette Island,” 24. 30 Rogers, Land Revenue of Bombay, 181. 31 Rogers, Land Revenue of Bombay, 183. 32 Public Diary 44 of 1765, p. 93, MSA; “Houses and Fortifications,” in Edwardes, Bombay Town and Island History, 471. 33 Public Diary 55 of 1770, pp. 91, 109–10, MSA; “Houses and Fortifications,” in Edwardes, Bombay Town and Island History, 475. 34 Dossal, Theatre of Conflict, City of Hope, 61–64. 35 Mantena, Alibis of Empire. 36 Dossal, Theatre of Conflict, City of Hope, 72–93. 37 Dossal, Theatre of Conflict, City of Hope, 173. 38 “Correspondence about Salsette Island,” 42–43.

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39 “Correspondence about Salsette Island,” 22–23. 40 “Correspondence about Salsette Island,” 77. 41 “Correspondence about Salsette Island,” 26. 42 “Correspondence about Salsette Island,” 49. 43 Banaji, Memoirs of the Late Framji Cowasji Banaji, 33–35; Dossal, Theatre of Conflict, City of Hope, 93–97. 44 Banaji, Memoirs of the Late Framji Cowasji Banaji, 33–35. 45 Hardiman, Feeding the Baniya. 46 Census of Bombay Presidency (COBP), 1911, 7, MSA. 47 Banaji argues that the downward trend was due to gluts caused by increases in crude transport mechanisms. See Banaji, “Capitalist Domination and the Small Peasantry,” 1377. Seeing transportation as an insufficient explanation, Guha adds burdensome taxation in Agrarian Economy, 17–30. The East India Company’s standardization of the silver rupee in the 1820s is offered as an explanation for the drop in prices over the next thirty years in Ludden, Agrarian History of South Asia, 167. 48 According to Sumit Guha, the expansion after the 1860s was due not to better transport mechanisms but to a reduction in the land tax that, combined with the growing population, led to more acreage of cultivation. The quality of the new lands under cultivation was not always good, which is why, overall, agrarian production could not grow at the same high rate throughout the late nineteenth century. The most plausible explanation seems to me that both the railways and lower taxes combined to expand cultivation after the 1850s. See Guha, Agrarian Economy, 60–83. 49 Banaji, “Capitalist Domination and the Small Peasantry,” 1377. 50 Banaji, “Capitalist Domination and the Small Peasantry,” 1400. 51 Banaji, “Capitalist Domination and the Small Peasantry,” 1377. 52 Banaji, “Capitalist Domination and the Small Peasantry,” 1379. 53 Frere, On the Impending Bengal Famine, 62–68.

Chapter 2: Famine 1 Lyall, Report of the Indian Famine Commission, 1898; Hare, Famine in India, iv. 2 Naoroji, Poverty of India, 1878, 25. 3 Hare, Famine in India, 16. 4 Hare, Famine in India, 24. 5 Hare, Famine in India, 20 (italics in the original). 6 Goswami, Producing India, 230. 7 Davis, Late Victorian Holocausts. 8 Harvey, “Urban Process under Capitalism,” in Urbanization of Capital, 117; Harvey, Limits to Capital. 9 Chandavarkar, Origins of Industrial Capitalism in India, 23. 10 Prakash, Mumbai Fables, 79–94. 11 Government of India, Report of the Indian Famine Commission, 1880, 10. 12 Mackintosh, as cited in Guha, Beyond Caste, 164. 13 Government of India, Report of the Indian Famine Commission, 1880, 10.

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Notes to Chapter 2 14 There are several instances of this kind of reporting. Some are provided in Government of India, Report of the Indian Famine Commission, 1880, 13, 18, 107. 15 Indian Famine of 1877, 11–18. 16 Goswami, Producing India. 17 Indian Famine of 1877, 27. 18 Hare, Famine in India. 19 Bagchi, “Systems of Money and Banking”; Goswami, Producing India, 88–100. An older history of fiscal subordination is provided by Ludden, “First Boundary of Bangladesh.” 20 Perlin, Invisible City. 21 Indian Famine of 1877, 22. 22 Hall-Matthews, Peasants, Famine and the State. 23 Hardiman, Feeding the Baniya. 24 Banaji, “Capitalist Domination and the Small Peasantry.” 25 Ludden, Agrarian History of South Asia, 184. 26 T. C. Hope, recorded in Bombay Government Records, No. CLVII, Papers and Proceedings of the Deccan Agriculturalists’ Relief Act, XVII of 1879, Bombay, 1883, p. 143, as quoted in Banaji, “Capitalist Domination and Small Peasantry,” 1401. 27 Hare, Famine in India, 25. 28 Government of India, Report of the Indian Famine Commission, 1880, 23. 29 Goswami, Producing India, 212, 245. 30 Hardiman, Feeding the Baniya. 31 Rao, “New Insights into the Debates on Rural Indebtedness.” 32 Indian Famine of 1877, 4. 33 Indian Famine of 1877, 22. 34 Mitchell, “Fixing the Economy,” 87. 35 COBC, 1872, 11, MSA. 36 Foucault, “Panopticism,” in Foucault Reader, 207. 37 These figures are derived from Chandavarkar, Origins of Industrial Capitalism in India, 23; Ludden, Early Capitalism, 139. 38 COBC, 1881, 23, MSA. 39 COBC, 1881, 37, MSA. 40 COBC, 1881, 38, MSA. 41 Chandavarkar, Origins of Industrial Capitalism in India, 24. 42 Kerr, “On the Move.” Kerr discusses both the difficulty in assessing the working conditions of construction workers and the regional groups such as the Banjaras who were known to provide labor whenever infrastructure projects were undertaken. 43 Burnett-Hurst, Labour and Housing in Bombay, 85–90. 44 Chandavarkar, Origins of Industrial Capitalism in India, 66–68. 45 Guha, Agrarian Economy, 147. 46 Banaji, “Capitalist Domination and the Small Peasantry,” 1383. 47 Yang, “Peasants on the Move.” 48 Chandavarkar, History, Culture and the Indian City, 129. 49 On stigmatization of migrants, see Chandavarkar, Origins of Industrial Capitalism in India, 126.

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50 COBC, 1881, 41, MSA. 51 Rawat, Reconsidering Untouchability. 52 COBC, 1911, 33, MSA. 53 Guha, Agrarian Economy, 71–76. 54 COBC, 1864, 1, MSA. 55 Tomlinson, Economy of Modern India, 98. 56 COBC, 1872, 10, MSA. 57 Government of India, Report of the Indian Famine Commission, 1880, 175–76; Tomlinson, Economy of Modern India, 104. 58 MCRCOB, 1877, 2, MSA. 59 MCRCOB, 1877, 25, MSA. 60 “Twelfth Annual Report of the Health Officer,” in MCRCOB, 1877, 17, MSA. 61 “Twelfth Annual Report of the Health Officer,” in MCRCOB, 1877, 19–21, MSA (italics in the original). 62 Ambirajan, Classical Political Economy and British Policy in India. 63 Government of India, Report of the Indian Famine Commission, 1880, 1. 64 MCRCOB, 1877, 7, MSA. 65 Banaji, “Capitalist Domination and the Small Peasantry,” 1381. 66 MCRCOB, 1877, 25–26, MSA. 67 MCRCOB, 1877, 14–15, MSA. 68 “Review by the Standing Committee for City of Bombay for the Year 1888–89,” included in MCRCOB, 1889, iv, MSA. 69 Peabody, “Cents, Sense, Census”; Guha, “Politics of Identity and Enumeration in India.” 70 Appadurai, “Number in the Colonial Imagination”; Cohn, Colonialism and Its Forms of Knowledge; Dirks, Castes of Mind; Harris and Lewis, “Numbers Didn’t Count.” 71 Sen, “1872 Census.” 72 Foucault, Power/Knowledge, 155. 73 COBC, 1872, 6, MSA. 74 COBC, 1872, 4, MSA. 75 COBC, 1872, 8, MSA. 76 COBC, 1881, 4–5, MSA. 77 COBC, 1881, 21, MSA. 78 COBC, 1881, 4, MSA. 79 COBC, 1881, 4–5, MSA. 80 COBC, 1872, 7, MSA. 81 COBC, 1881, 7, MSA. 82 COBC, 1881, 7, MSA. 83 COBC, 1881, 8, MSA.

Chapter 3: Shelter 1 Blake, Shahjahanabad: The Sovereign City. 2 There is much more work to be done on shelter practices prior to commodification. These ideas about the importance of nested entitlements and caste come from scholars who work on different regions, so one can only guess that dynamics may

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Notes to Chapter 3 have been comparable, but they were perhaps not. Gordon, Marathas; Viswanath, Pariah Problem. 3 Cohn, “Census, Social Structure and Objectification in South Asia.” Cohn shows how housing was a part of censuses in the early nineteenth century as well, perhaps because officials needed taxable structures. 4 Rose-Redwood and Tantner, “Introduction: Governmentality, House Numbering and the Spatial History of the Modern City,” 607, 613. 5 Foucault, “Society Must Be Defended,” 251. 6 Lewis and Harris, “Segregation and the Social Relations of Place,” 603. 7 Foucault, Security, Territory, Population, 452. 8 Foucault, Security, Territory, Population, 134; Burchell, Gordon, and Miller, Foucault Effect, 93. 9 MCRCOB, 1886–87, 269, MSA. 10 Li, Will to Improve, 7; Li, “Rendering Society Technical”; Rose, Powers of Freedom, 99. 11 Mitchell, Rule of Experts, 96. 12 Cited in Glover, Making Lahore Modern, 52–53. 13 Harris and Lewis, “Numbers Didn’t Count.” 14 Legg, “Postcolonial Developmentalities,” 196. 15 MCRCOB, 1868, 13, MSA (italics mine). 16 COBC, 1911, 37, MSA. 17 COBC, 1872, 18, MSA. 18 Mitra, “Parsis of Bombay,” 104–5. 19 COBC, 1881, 35, MSA. 20 COBC, 1872, 18, MSA. 21 COBC, 1911, 3, MSA. 22 COBC, 1872, 18, MSA. 23 In early modern usage, it may have meant the precise opposite, suggesting a higher status for the practitioners. 24 For a similar process involving the various castes of sanitation workers in Delhi, see Prashad, Untouchable Freedom. Prashad shows how some castes lost control over their occupations and livelihood and became employees of the Delhi Municipal Corporation, while others did not. 25 “Health Officer’s Report,” in MCRCOB, 1872, 16, MSA. 26 MCRCOB, 1868, 16, MSA. 27 MCRCOB, 1883–84, 44, MSA. 28 Dyos and Reeder, “Slums and Suburbs,” 364. 29 MCRCOB, 1886–87, ix, MSA. 30 MCRCOB, 1886–87, v, MSA. 31 Hazareesingh, “Quest for Urban Citizenship”; Kidambi, Making of an Indian Metropolis, 41. 32 Lewis and Harris, “Segregation and the Social Relations of Place,” 602. 33 Dossal, “Limits of Colonial Urban Planning.” 34 MCRCOB, 1872, 55, MSA. 35 MCRCOB, 1885–86, 33, MSA.

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36 Chhabria, “Aboriginal Alibi.” 37 MCRCOB, 1877, 6, MSA. 38 MCRCOB, 1877, 7, MSA. 39 MCRCOB, 1877, 7, MSA. 40 MCRCOB, 1877, 9, MSA. 41 Hazareesingh, “Quest for Urban Citizenship,” 799; Issar, “Codes of Contention.” 42 MCRCOB, 1884–85, 227, MSA. 43 MCRCOB, 1884–85, 224–25, MSA. 44 MCRCOB, 1884–85, 225, MSA. 45 Chattopadhyay, “Blurring Boundaries,” 154. 46 Conlon, “Industrialization and the Housing Problem in Bombay.” 47 Conlon, “Industrialization and the Housing Problem in Bombay,” 157. 48 Pradhan, Untouchable Workers of Bombay City, 116–17. 49 COBC, 1881, 33–34, MSA. 50 COBC, 1881, 34, MSA. 51 COBC, 1881, 33, MSA. 52 COBC, 1881, 38, MSA. 53 COBC, 1872, 19, MSA. 54 COBC, 1872, 16–19, MSA. 55 COBC, 1881, 37, MSA. 56 COBC, 1881, 34–35, MSA. 57 COBC, 1881, 35, MSA. 58 COBC, 1881, 34, MSA. 59 COBC, 1901, MSA. 60 COBC, 1901, 14, MSA. 61 For a discussion of the pedagogical functions of “exemplary urbanism,” see Glover, Making Lahore Modern, 40–60. 62 COBC, 1881, 13, MSA. 63 COBC, 1901, 14, MSA. 64 COBC, 1911, 3–4, MSA. 65 COBC, 1911, 9, MSA. 66 COBC, 1911, 9, MSA. 67 COBC, 1901, 68, MSA. 68 COBC, 1901, 10–14, MSA. 69 COBC, 1901, 5, MSA.

Chapter 4: Disease 1 Shah, Contagious Divides, chap. 5, “Plague and Managing the Commercial City.” 2 City of Bombay Improvement Trust Administrative Report (COBITAR), 1898–1908, MSA. 3 Masselos, “City as Represented in Crowd Action,” 187. 4 Foucault, Security, Territory, Population, 36–37. 5 “Of those born outside India nearly 6,000 come from the United Kingdom, over 2,000 each from Persia and Arabia and 1,000 from Afghanistan. With the exception of our

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Notes to Chapter 4 own nationality the remaining European nations are but poorly represented; Germany with 257, Austria-Hungary with 206, Italy with 175 and France with 135 being the principal contributors.” COBC, 1911, 11, MSA. 6 Mahratta, December 20, 1896, as cited in Echenberg, Plague Ports, 51. 7 Simmel, “Metropolis and Mental Life.” 8 Mitchell, Rule of Experts, 96. 9 Arnold, Colonizing the Body. 10 Gandhi, Hind Swaraj. 11 Peckham and Pomfret, Imperial Contagions. 12 Echenberg, Plague Ports, 48. 13 Echenberg, Plague Ports, 51. 14 Echenberg, Plague Ports, 56. 15 Kane, Russian Hajj. 16 “Plague and the Pilgrimage to Mecca,” Bombay Gazette, February 21, 1898, MSA. 17 “Plague and the Pilgrimage to Mecca,” Bombay Gazette, February 21, 1898, MSA. 18 Tambe, Codes of Misconduct. 19 MCRCOB, 1896–97, 593–94, MSA. 20 MCRCOB, 1896–97, 594, MSA. 21 COBC, 1901, 8, MSA. 22 COBC, 1901, 14, MSA. 23 MCRCOB, 1896–97, 637–38, MSA. 24 MCRCOB, 1896–97, 644, MSA. 25 MCRCOB, 1896–97, 644, MSA. 26 MCRCOB, 1896–97, 643, MSA. 27 MCRCOB, 1896–97, 644, MSA. 28 MCRCOB, 1896–97, 644, MSA. I say “purportedly recovered” because officials may have had an investment in narrating success to prove that their efforts were effective. 29 MCRCOB, 1896–97, 644, MSA. 30 MCRCOB, 1896–97, 644, MSA. 31 MCRCOB, 1896–97, 644, MSA. 32 MCRCOB, 1896–97, 638, MSA. 33 MCRCOB, 1896–97, 640, MSA. 34 MCRCOB, 1896–97, 639, MSA. 35 MCRCOB, 1896–97, 638–40, MSA. 36 MCRCOB, 1896–97, 648, MSA. 37 MCRCOB, 1896–97, 655, MSA. 38 Mahratta, September 5, 1897, as cited in Echenberg, Plague Ports, 56. 39 Echenberg, Plague Ports, 65. 40 MCRCOB, 1896–97, 660–61, MSA. 41 MCRCOB, 1896–97, 661, MSA. 42 MCRCOB, 1896–97, 661, MSA. 43 MCRCOB, 1896–97, 662, MSA. 44 Hardiman, Feeding the Baniya. 45 Echenberg, Plague Ports, 65. 46 MCRCOB, 1896–97, 656–57, MSA.

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47 MCRCOB, 1896–97, 657–58, MSA. 48 Echenberg, Plague Ports, 66–70. 49 MCRCOB, 1896–97, 656, MSA. 50 MCRCOB, 1896–97, 659, MSA. 51 MCRCOB, 1896–97, 657, MSA. 52 MCRCOB, 1896–97, 658–59, MSA. 53 MCRCOB, 1896–97, 659, MSA. 54 MCRCOB, 1896–97, 675, MSA. 55 See Gooptu, Politics of the Urban Poor, chap. 4, “Urban Policing and the Poor.” 56 MCRCOB, 1896–97, 659, MSA. 57 MCRCOB, 1896–97, 662–63, MSA. 58 Arnold, Colonizing the Body, 204; Echenberg, Plague Ports. 59 Arnold, Colonizing the Body, 204. 60 Edwardes, Rise of Bombay, 333. 61 COBITAR, 1898–1903, 1, MSA. 62 COBITAR, 1898–1903, 3, MSA. 63 MCRCOB, 1896–97, 662, MSA. 64 Rajnarayan Chandavarkar states that employers such as millowners had to rely upon “the money market and short-term credit for a proportion of their fixed capital” and that “the whole of their working costs rendered the financial structure of most mills extremely precarious.” Chandavarkar, Origins of Industrial Capitalism in India, 292. This idea is also cited in Kidambi, Making of an Indian Metropolis, 107. 65 As cited in Kidambi, Making of an Indian Metropolis, 22.

Chapter 5: Capital 1 Masani, Evolution of Local Self-Government in Bombay. 2 Beverley, “Colonial Urbanism and South Asian Cities.” 3 Haynes, Rhetoric and Ritual in Colonial India, 116, 150–52; Pandey, book review. 4 Seal, Emergence of Indian Nationalism. 5 For a similar approach in which the productivity of “failures” in colonial Indian governance is examined, see Kishore, “Urban ‘Failures.’” 6 Hazareesingh, Colonial City, 189. 7 Leonard, “Urban Government under the Raj,” 251. 8 MCRCOB, 1872, 16, MSA. 9 MCRCOB, 1877, 56, MSA. 10 Edwardes, Rise of Bombay, 333. 11 Goswami, Producing India, 238. 12 COBITAR, 1933, 3, MSA. 13 COBITAR, 1909–13, 2, MSA. 14 Bombay Legislative Council Proceedings (BLCP), 1898, 18, MSA. 15 BLCP, 1898, 18, MSA. 16 Conlon, “Industrialization and the Housing Problem in Bombay.” 17 BLCP, 1898, 19, MSA. 18 BLCP, 1898, 17, MSA.

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Notes to Chapter 5 19 Foucault, “Politics of Health in the Eighteenth Century.” 20 BLCP, 1898, 7, MSA. 21 BLCP, 1898, 7, MSA. 22 BLCP, 1898, 9, MSA. 23 BLCP, 1898, 8–9, MSA. 24 BLCP, 1898, 7, MSA. 25 MCRCOB, 1898–99, 710, MSA. 26 MCRCOB, 1898–99, 711, MSA. 27 MCRCOB, 1898–99, 711, MSA. 28 BLCP, 1898, 8, MSA. 29 BLCP, 1898, 10, MSA. 30 BLCP, 1898, 18, MSA. 31 BLCP, 1898, 20, MSA. 32 COBITAR, 1898, 1, MSA. 33 BLCP, 1898, 16–18, MSA. 34 BLCP, 1898, 9, MSA. 35 BLCP, 1898, 9, MSA. 36 COBITAR, 1898, 3, MSA. 37 COBITAR, 1898, 1, MSA. 38 Orr, Finances of the Bombay City Improvement Trust, 16. 39 BLCP, 1898, 10, MSA; Bombay Municipal Corporation Act, 1888. 40 BLCP, 1898, 10, MSA. 41 BLCP, 1898, 13, MSA. 42 Bhattacharyya, “History of Eminent Domain.” 43 BLCP, 1898, 11, MSA. 44 BLCP, 1898, 20, MSA. 45 BLCP, 1898, 19, MSA. 46 See Rao, House, but No Garden, chap. 1, “An Indian Suburb.” 47 Orr, Finances of the Bombay City Improvement Trust, 2. 48 BLCP, 1898, 21, MSA. 49 BLCP, 1898, 20, MSA. 50 BLCP, 1898, 10, MSA. 51 BLCP, 1898, 11, MSA. 52 BLCP, 1898, 24, MSA. 53 COBITAR, 1898, 5, MSA. 54 COBITAR, 1898, 4, MSA. 55 COBITAR, 1898, 5, MSA. 56 BLCP, 1898, 12, MSA. 57 BLCP, 1898, 14, MSA. 58 BLCP, 1898, 25, MSA. 59 BLCP, 1898, 15, MSA (italics mine). 60 BLCP, 1898, 20, MSA. 61 BLCP, 1898, 23–24, MSA (italics mine). 62 This notion that housing for the working classes was a market failure—a product that market dynamics alone could not be expected to supply since the cost of production

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far outweighed the returns—was the same argument made in the United States. The writings of Edith Elmer Wood, a Columbia University doctorate in economics, argued that the private market could not provide affordable housing for the working classes. A result of such arguments was the enactment of the United States Housing Act of 1937, which established that housing for the poor in major cities be provided by the government. See Wood, Housing of the Unskilled Wage Earner, 19; also Hunt, Blueprint for Disaster. For a discussion of the role of private dwelling companies in the rehousing of London’s poor, see Yelling, Slums and Slum Clearance in Victorian London. 63 BLCP, 1898, 23, MSA. 64 BLCP, 1898, 24, MSA. 65 COBITAR, 1902, 14–15, MSA. 66 COBITAR, 1908–9, 3, MSA. 67 Kidambi, Making of an Indian Metropolis, 86. 68 COBITAR, April 20, 1909, 114, MSA. 69 COBITAR, April 20, 1909, 115, MSA; also cited in Kidambi, Making of an Indian Metropolis, 87–88. 70 Engels, Housing Question. 71 Orr, Social Reform and Slum Reform, 20–21. 72 Cited in Kidambi, Making of an Indian Metropolis, 99. 73 Arnold, “Bombay Improvement Trust,” 112. 74 Orr, Finances of the Bombay City Improvement Trust, 6; also cited in Kidambi, Making of an Indian Metropolis, 92. 75 Orr, Social Reform and Slum Reform, 1. 76 Rao, House, but No Garden, 37. 77 Datta, Planning the City, 159. 78 Orr, Social Reform and Slum Reform, 6 (italics in the original). 79 Kidambi, Making of an Indian Metropolis, 107. 80 Aden Residency Records, IOR. 81 Aden Residency Records, IOR. 82 Hazareesingh, “Interconnected Synchronicities.” 83 Spodek, “City Planning in India under British Rule.” 84 Burnett-Hurst, Labour and Housing in Bombay, 28. 85 Kidambi, Making of an Indian Metropolis, 113. 86 Kumar, “City Lives.” 87 COBITAR, 1932–33, 1, MSA. 88 COBITAR, 1932–33, 1, MSA. 89 COBITAR, 1932–33, 1–2, MSA. 90 See “Map of the Island of Bombay,” 1933, British Library, www.oldmapsonline.org/map /britishlibrary/IOR_24_2812_1933. 91 Orr, Finances of the Bombay City Improvement Trust, 18–19; also cited in Kidambi, Making of an Indian Metropolis, 94. 92 For an account of this process, see Rao, House, but No Garden, chap. 6, “Toward Greater Mumbai.” 93 Government of Bombay, Report of the Bombay Development Committee, xxvi–xxvii.

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Conclusion 1 MCRCOB, 1877, 14, MSA. 2 Arnold, “Bombay Improvement Trust,” 112. 3 Burnett-Hurst, Labour and Housing in Bombay, 19. 4 Mayne, Slums. 5 Mitchell, “Fixing the Economy,” 87–90. 6 See Prakash, Mumbai Fables, especially chap. 7. 7 Bulsara, Problems of Rapid Urbanisation in India.

Epilogue 1 See Hazareesingh, Colonial City, chap. 2, “War, Censorship, and Civic Dissent: Bombay during the First World War.” 2 Hazareesingh, “Quest for Urban Citizenship”; Hazareesingh, Colonial City, 175–80. 3 Mukerjee, Foundations of Indian Economics, 3. 4 Metcalf, Ideologies of the Raj. 5 Mukerjee, Foundations of Indian Economics, 13. 6 Gandhi, cited in Hazareesingh, Colonial City, 134. 7 Gandhi, Hind Swaraj, 47. 8 Hazareesingh, Colonial City, 125. 9 See Hazareesingh, Colonial City, chap. 3, “Urban Confrontations: Gandhi, Horniman, and the Material Test of Spiritual Politics.” 10 Hazareesingh, Colonial City, 140. 11 Hazareesingh, Colonial City, 196. 12 Haynes, “Making of the Hyper-industrial City.” 13 Chandavarkar, Imperial Power and Popular Politics. 14 Mukerjee, Foundations of Indian Economics, 464. 15 On Naoroji’s thesis, see Goswami, Producing India, 239. 16 McGowan, “Ahmedabad’s Home Remedies”; Rao, “Community, Urban Citizenship and Housing in Bombay.” 17 International Labour Office, Industrial Labour in India, 123–25. 18 Ludden, “Development Regimes in South Asia.” 19 Wolf, Europe and the People without History, 355. 20 International Labour Office, Industrial Labour in India, 131. 21 Report of the Royal Commission of Labour in India, cited in Chandavarkar, Origins of Industrial Capitalism in India, 125. 22 Hazareesingh, Colonial City, 212. 23 Butler, cited in Rodgers, “India, the ILO and the Quest for Social Justice,” 48. 24 Chandavarkar, Origins of Industrial Capitalism in India, 411; Chandavarkar, “From Neighbourhood to Nation,” in Chandavarkar, History, Culture and the Indian City, 121–90. 25 For an excellent account of anticolonialism that is not nationalistic, see Ramnath, Decolonizing Anarchism. 26 Dalvi, “Mulk and Modern Indian Architecture”; Prakash, Mumbai Fables, 252. 27 COBC, 1872, 19, MSA.

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28 Lipton, Why Poor People Stay Poor. 29 Ludden, “Imperial Modernity.” 30 Björkman, “Becoming a Slum.” 31 Weinstein, Durable Slum. 32 On the urban commons, see Goldman, “Who Is Producing Our Global Cities?” 33 Graham, Desai, and McFarlane, “Water Wars in Mumbai.” 34 Baviskar, “Between Violence and Desire.” 35 Ghertner, Rule by Aesthetics, 27–28. 36 Shatkin, Contesting the Indian City. 37 Levien, Dispossession without Development; Bhan, In the Public’s Interest. 38 Searle, Landscapes of Accumulation. 39 Coelho, Kamath, and Vijayabaskar, Participolis, 5–6. 40 Ghertner, “Calculating without Numbers.” 41 Sainath, Everybody Loves a Good Drought, 337.

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Bi bl io g r a p h y Sen, Dwaipayan. The Decline of the Caste Question: Jogendranath Mandal and the Defeat of Dalit Politics in Bengal. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018. ———. “The 1872 Census: ‘Indigenous Agency’ and the Science of Statistics in Bengal.” Economic and Political Weekly 53, no. 26/27 (June 30, 2018): 38–47. Sewell, William Hamilton. Logics of History: Social Theory and Social Transformation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005. Shah, Nayan. Contagious Divides: Epidemics and Race in San Francisco’s Chinatown. American Crossroads. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001. Shaikh, Juned. “Translating Marx: Mavali, Dalit and the Making of Mumbai’s Working Class, 1928–1935.” Economic and Political Weekly 46, no. 31 (July 30–August 5, 2011): 65–73. ———. “Imaging Caste: Photography, the Housing Question and the Making of Sociology in Colonial Bombay, 1900–1939.” South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies 37, no. 3 (2014): 491–514. Shatkin, Gavin. Contesting the Indian City: Global Visions and the Politics of the Local. Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell, 2014. Shenk, Timothy Edward. “Inventing the American Economy.” Ph.D. diss., Columbia University, 2016. Smith, Adam. The Wealth of Nations. Edited by Edwin Cannan. New York: Bantam Classic, 2003. Sovani, N. V. Urbanization and Urban India. New York: Asia Publishing House, 1966. Spodek, Howard. “City Planning in India under British Rule.” Economic and Political Weekly 48, no. 4 (January 2013): 53–61. Spodek, Howard, and Doris Meth Srinivasan. Urban Form and Meaning in South Asia: The Shaping of Cities from Prehistoric to Precolonial Times. Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art; Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1993. Stokes, Eric. The Peasant and the Raj: Studies in Agrarian Society and Peasant Rebellion in Colonial India. Cambridge South Asian Studies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978. Subramanian, Lakshmi. Indigenous Capital and Imperial Expansion: Bombay, Surat and the West Coast. Delhi: Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996. Tambe, Ashwini. Codes of Misconduct: Regulating Prostitution in Late Colonial Bombay. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2009. Tomlinson, B. R. The Economy of Modern India, 1860–1970. The New Cambridge History of India. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993. Tucker, Robert C., ed. The Marx-Engels Reader. New York: Norton, 1978. United Nations Human Settlements Programme. The Challenge of Slums: Global Report on Human Settlements, 2003. London: Earthscan Publications, 2003. Viswanath, Rupa. The Pariah Problem: Caste, Religion, and the Social in Modern India. New York: Columbia University Press, 2014. Wallerstein, Immanuel. The Modern World-System: Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European World-Economy in the Sixteenth Century. Studies in Social Discontinuity. New York: Academic Press, 1974. ———. “Incorporation of Indian Subcontinent into Capitalist World-Economy.” Economic and Political Weekly 21, no. 4 (January 25, 1986): PE28–PE39.

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Index

A

Aden, 12–13, 139, 173–74 agriculture, 43, 52, 58, 91–92, 144; cash cropping, 45, 52; commodification, 45; Deccan, 52, 53; exclusion of, 44–45, 47–55; localization, 55, 77; “overdepen­ dence” on, 71–72; particularizing of, 83; wealth creation in, 89. See also grain; peasants; smallholders agriculture/industry demarcation, 14, 23, 24, 29, 55, 59, 67, 192; transection of, 73 Ahmednagar, 52–53 All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), 190, 191 Anand, Mulk Raj, 192–93 archives, 6–11, 134 Arnold, David, 132

B

Banaji, Framjee Cowasjee, 49–50 Banias, 38, 45 banks and baking, 71, 137, 144, 175 Baviskar, Amita, 194 beggars and begging, 33, 34, 38, 74, 77 Bengali famines, 45, 56, 57, 61 Bhatawadekar, Bhalchandra K., 132, 151–52 “black town” and “white town,” 19, 86, 90 Bombay Association, 97 Bombay Chronicle, 185, 187, 188 Bombay Development Department, 16, 58, 142, 178 Bombay Improvement Trust. See City of Bombay Improvement Trust

Bombay Municipal Corporation (Bombay Municipality), 16, 114–15, 136, 138–39; Improvement Trust and, 146, 148, 152– 53, 159, 160, 175, 178; relief efforts, 76 brick making, 98–100 Britain: Housing of the Working Classes Act, 149, 155; plague and, 118–19; work­ house tradition, 33. See also London; population: British as percentage of bubonic plague. See plague budget, municipal. See municipal budget building. See construction building codes. See construction: regulation Bulsara, Jal Feerose, 15, 16, 183 Butler, Harold, 191

C

“calculative rationale,” 29, 36, 37, 40, 55, 103 Calcutta, 68, 92, 106, 171, 177 caste, 20, 33, 62, 65, 69–70, 80. See also Halalkhors; Koli Castells, Manuel, 8 censuses, 71, 77–82, 115; caste in, 69–70; “floating population,” 66; housing and, 79, 89–91, 93, 102–12 The Challenge of Slums (United Nations Human Settlements Programme), vii–viii Chamars (leather workers), 69 Chamber of Commerce, 146, 153, 155 Chandavarkar, Rajnarayan, 11, 207n64 229

F.Chhabria, Modern Slum.indd 229

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230

I N DE X Chandigarh, 192–93 “charitable work.” See relief work (“chari­ table work”) charity, 60, 75, 76. See also government relief chawls, 20, 93–94, 109, 145, 172, 174, 176 cholera, 12, 75, 100, 113, 114, 117, 119 choultries, 32–35, 38, 75 circulation, “good” and “bad,” 4, 11, 39, 66, 72–73, 83, 177, 179–81, 192; plague and, 113, 119, 139 city/country demarcation. See rural/urban demarcation City of Bombay Improvement Trust, 16, 18–19, 88, 111, 114–15, 136–39, 142–78; financing, 156–58, 163, 165; Second Nagpada, 108; slums and, 180–81 coal, 98, 100, 173 cohabitation, 70–71 Colaba, 49, 50, 52, 97–98 colonial city paradigm. See “black town” and “white town” colonialism, historiography of. See historiography: of colonialism construction, 68, 76, 89, 108–9, 150; brick, 98–99; costs, 85–86; police headquarters, 157; public health and, 101, 102; regulation, 100–101, 149 cotton, 53, 67, 68, 70, 72, 117; demand, 3, 12, 53, 61, 67; housing and, 71, 108; maps, 65 Crawford, Arthur, 91, 97 crises, 11–12, 13, 15, 21, 28, 37, 58, 195. See also famines; plague currency, 45, 61 Curzon, George, 56

D

Davidson, D. C., 100–101 Davis, Kingsley, 16 debt, 41, 62, 63, 64; Improvement Trust, 157, 159, 175 Deccan, 54, 63–64, 70; agriculture, 52, 53, 64; famine relief, 76; riots, 63 demography, 60

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Dharamsi, Abdulla M., 146–47, 148 Dheds, 69–70 Dickinson, Thomas, 47 disease and illness. See illness and disease disinfection, 131 dispossession and displacement, 36–44, 138, 193, 194; Improvement Trust and, 145, 154, 165–70; Koli, 98; road widening and, 96 domestic servants, 81, 106, 109 Dongree, 103, 107–8 Dossal, Mariam, 41 drainage, 87, 97, 101 drinking water, 74, 101 dual city paradigm. See “black town” and “white town” Dutt, Romesh Chunder, 56, 63

E

East India Company, 4, 20, 43, 66, 85; agrarian policies, 45; dispossession, 37, 39–40; fortification, 36; land policies, 47, 49–50; poverty relief, 29–30, 33, 34, 182; temporary housing, 90 “the economy” (entity), 21–25, 58, 87, 183 Edwardes, Stephen Meredyth, 39–40, 133, 144 elderly people, 67, 125 Engels, Friedrich, 10 England. See Britain

F

Factory Act of 1891, 7 Famine Commission. See Indian Famine Commission famines, 3–4, 11, 24, 33, 38–39, 44, 45, 47, 56–83, 180; Raghunath Khote view, 5; roads and, 54 farming. See agriculture finance, 45, 137–39, 142–44, 155, 157–58, 160, 163, 179, 182; Bombay Develop­ment Dept., 16; distinction from usury, 23, 26, 143. See also loans fishing and fishing peoples, 21, 43, 49, 50, 98 “floating population,” 13, 58, 66, 81

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I N DE X food aid, 33, 35, 38, 39, 60, 75, 150 foras lands, 41 fortification and defortification, 4–5, 36 Foucault, Michel, 12, 14, 22, 66, 84–85 Framji, Dosabhai, 77, 97 free trade, 11, 20, 44, 72 Frere, Henry Bartle, 53–54, 71

G

Gandhi, Mohandas, 114, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189 garbage removal, 95, 143 Geddes, Patrick, 185, 186 Ghertner, D. Asher, 194 Gladstone, William Ewart, 142 Gooptu, Nandini, 131 Goswami, Manu, 57 governance, municipal. See municipal governance government relief, 3, 56, 59, 63, 75, 76, 150. See also food aid; poverty relief; relief work (“charitable work”) grain: cultivation, 50, 51; in famine relief, 38; price controls, 185; transportation, 54. See also rice Great Britain. See Britain Guha, Sumit, 70, 201n48

H

Halalkhors, 94–96, 128–29, 135, 152, 160, 189 Hare, William, 56–57, 61, 63 Harris, Richard, 86 Harvey, David, 58 Hasan, Arif, viii Hazareesingh, Sandip, 187–88, 189 health and sanitation. See public health and sanitation Hindus and censuses, 78, 80, 81 historiography: of colonialism, 27–28; of plague, 116 homelessness, 81–82, 150, 155; Aden, 173 Horniman, Benjamin, 12, 185, 187, 188–89 “house” (word), 85, 89–90, 92, 106, 109–10, 111

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231

household servants. See domestic servants house numbering, 84, 90 housing, 12–13, 37, 40, 84–112; abandoned, 123; censuses and, 79, 89–91, 93, 102–12; cohabitation, 70–71; commodification, 18; condemnation, 93, 120–21, 154, 155, 168, 181; crowding, 93, 103, 105–7, 114, 115, 122, 154, 173–74; disciplining of labor and, 132–33; distinction from shelter, 85; durability, 86–91, 98–99; financialization and, 138; First Nagpada, 159; health and, 93, 115, 121, 134–35; Improve­ ment Trust and, 145–51, 154, 158, 162– 78; ownership, 42–43; plague and, 126, 127, 129–35; private enterprise and, 162; removal of, 39; roof types, 93; tabulation of, 9–10, 24, 102–10; taxation, 88, 138; “undertenants,” 94. See also construction; huts; shelter; single-room living Housing Act of 1937 (United States). See United States Housing Act of 1937 Hughes, W. C., 136, 146, 151, 172 hunger. See famine huts, 93, 111, 127–28, 135–36, 150; “semipermanent,” 170, 175–76, 181

I

illness and disease, 74, 100, 113–40. See also cholera; malaria; miasma theory of disease; plague; public health and sanitation Improvement Trust. See City of Bombay Improvement Trust indebtedness. See debt Indian Famine Commission, 3, 59, 64, 71–72, 75, 77 Indian National Congress, 63 industry, 72. See also agriculture/industry demarcation “inflexible zoning,” 194 informal and formal labor, vii, 23, 25, 193 International Labour Organization (ILO), 191 investment, speculative. See speculation (investment)

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232

I N DE X

K

Kabraji, Kaikhushroo N., 81, 132 Kamathipura, 82, 93, 98, 109, 111, 120, 124–25 Karachi, viii, 50, 119, 139, 173 Karnatak, 7, 51 Khandesh, 53, 76 Khare, Daji Abaji, 152 Khote, Raghunath, 5, 81 Kidambi, Prashant, 174 Krishna, Balachandra, 146–47, 151, 157, 158, 160–64 Koli, 43, 98 Konkan, 27, 50–51, 54

L

labor, formal and informal. See informal and formal labor labor unions. See unions Lahore, 89–90 Land Acquisition Act of 1894, 154–55 landlords and tenants, 129–30, 136, 167– 68, 178 land policy, 41–45, 47–55 land reclamation, 45, 58, 158, 164; rights, 161, 164; Sandhurst, 151, 153, 154 Laughton, G. A., 91 leasing and rental See rental and leasing Lewis, Robert, 86 Li, Tania, 89 lighting of streets, 87, 96, 97, 98 loans, 173; Bombay Development Dept., 142; Improvement Trust financing, 152, 156–58, 160, 165, 175; legislation, 64; peasants, 62; poverty relief and, 31. See also debt London, 57, 91, 92, 97, 120, 142, 147, 156–57 Low, John, 31 Lowe, Lisa, 6 Lucknow, 30–32

M

Mackintosh, James, 7 Madras, 3, 32–35, 38, 45, 174 Maine, Henry, 47

F.Chhabria, Modern Slum.indd 232

malaria, 51, 52 Mallad, 51–52, 176 Marathas, 4–5, 28, 36, 41, 42, 47 “market” (word), 22, 23 Mehta, P. M., 148 miasma theory of disease, 113, 114, 121, 134 migrants, 11, 40, 44, 50–51, 54, 55, 83, 96– 97, 190–91; able-bodied vs. dependent, 24; blockades against, 72–73, 76; famine and, 3, 4, 23–24, 33–34, 38–39, 59, 63, 66–68, 73; “floating population,” 66; fortification against, 4; plague and, 117, 122, 123; shelter/housing, 19, 24, 43, 71, 76, 105–6, 163; stigmatization, 69, 77. See also circulation, “good” and “bad”; “floating population” Millowners’ Association, 156, 163, 172–73 Mitchell, Timothy, 22–23, 89 Mitra, Rajendralala, 92–93 moats, 4, 36 Modern Architectural Research Group (Marg), 192, 193 modernization, 16, 19, 183 “Modern Town” and “Native Town.” See “black town” and “white town” Monegar Choultry, 32–35, 38 monsoon, 50, 51, 66 Mukerkee, Radhakamal, 186, 189 Mun, Thomas, 47 Municipal Acts, 100–101, 154 Munro, Thomas, 51 municipal budget, 95, 96, 97, 141, 154 Municipal Commissioner’s Office, 91, 97, 115, 123, 128, 142, 143, 147–48 Municipal Corporation. See Bombay Municipal Corporation municipal governance, 141–78 Muslims, 80, 118–20, 129

N

Nagpada, 135, 180; First, 111, 135, 159; Second, 108, 109, 111 Naik, Kessowjee, 97 Naoroji, Dadabhai, 56, 63, 189 Nasir ud-din Haider, king of Oudh, 20–32

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I N DE X nationalism and nationalists, 16, 21, 141, 144, 175, 178, 186–92; famine and, 56, 64; plague and, 116, 129, 131 “Native Town” and “Modern Town.” See “black town” and “white town” Nepean, Evan, 38 “New Bombay,” 193 night soil. See sewage and night soil Northbrook, Thomas George Baring, Earl of, 64

O

oarts (garden lands), 39, 43 “Old Town,” 91 Orr, J. P., 156–57, 170–72, 176

P

Parell, 68, 91, 107, 174, 180 Parsis, 38, 49, 81, 124–25 peasants (cultivators, ryots), 3, 42, 48– 49, 51, 52–53; dispossession of, 43; ­famines, 45, 62, 63; government aid (so-called), 61; housing, 38; indebtedness, 64; internal differentiation, 69; migration of, 41, 73–77; supplementary work, 54, 69 Perlin, Frank, 28, 61 plague, 4, 13, 51, 87, 88, 95, 111–12, 113–36, 139–40; costs, 160; Dharamsi, 147; First Nagpada, 159; Gandhi view, 187; Improvement Trust and, 148–49, 152; post-plague measures, 145–46, 151, 154 police, 77, 78–79, 82, 128, 194; headquarters construction, 157–58 population: British in Bombay, 114, 205n1; density, 14, 24, 51, 52, 68, 88–89, 103, 107, 111; growth and loss, 3–4, 38, 44, 67, 72; migrants as percentage, 190 poverty relief (“poor relief”), 29–36, 180 Port Trust, 16, 114–15, 146, 148, 149, 151, 153; Krishna on, 164; proposed railway, 150 Portuguese colonization, 42, 48 private property, 41, 42, 50, 165, 194 privatization, 163, 193, 195 property values, 156, 165, 175

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233

prostitution, 109, 120 public and private distinctions, 95, 136, 137, 143 public health and sanitation, 93, 95, 100– 102, 134 public works, 97 Pune, 50, 53, 75–76, 129; plague, 118, 126

Q

quarantines, 114, 115–16, 117; British ships, 118; fear and avoidance of, 13, 115, 124, 127, 130

R

Rahimtoola, Ibrahim, 151–52, 177 railways, 53, 68, 72, 150, 187 raiyats. See ryots Ramabai, Pandita, 27 Ranade, Mahadev Govind, 63 Rand, Walter, 129 Rao, Nikhil, 155–56 Ratnagiri, 50–51 rats, 126 red-light district. See Kamathipura relief, government. See government relief relief work (“charitable work”), 33, 75–76 Rent Act of 1918, 185 rental and leasing, 49, 99, 145, 185, 194. See also landlords and tenants rice, 48; cultivation, 50, 51, 91; in famine relief, 33, 38 riots, 113–14, 118, 128, 129 Ripon, George Robinson, Marquess of, 141–42 roads, 96, 121, 151, 159; cleaning, 143; Improvement Trust and, 155–56, 171, 177; widening, 101, 114, 150, 151, 171. See also drainage Rostow, W. W., 16 Rowlatt Act, 188 Roy, Ananya, 13 Roy, Dilsookh, 30 rural/urban demarcation, 7, 8, 77, 191, 192. See also agriculture/industry demarcation

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23 4

I N DE X “rurban complexes” (Perlin), 28 ryots. See peasants (cultivators, ryots)

S

Sainath, P., 195 Salisbury, Robert Cecil, Marquess of, 61 Salsette Island, 41, 42, 47–48, 49, 50, 176. See also Sion Causeway Sandhurst, William Mansfield, Viscount, 146–49, 151–55, 157, 158, 160–61 “sanitary credit,” 151, 156, 157, 159, 161, 179; decline, 122, 133; restoration, 113, 115, 132, 136, 148, 151; threatened, 11 sanitation, 143–44, 145–46, 149, 152. See also public health and sanitation satyagraha, 188 scavengers and scavenging, 95, 126, 127– 28, 129, 135, 136, 143, 189 Searle, Llerena Guiu, 194 servants, domestic. See domestic servants Servants of India Society, 115 sewage and night soil, 87, 94–96, 101 “shahar” (word), 198n42 shelter, 84–112; commodification, 17, 84, 86, 91–102; distinction from housing, 85; migrant workers, 19, 24, 70–71; problematization of, 6, 7, 9; temporary, 5–6, 33, 38, 90, 93, 112, 176, 180. See also housing single-room living, 10–11, 71, 174, 180 Sion Causeway, 72–74, 76 slums, 11, 17–21, 59, 88, 117, 120, 136, 180– 84, 193; Orr view, 170; removal, 113, 117, 132, 154, 161, 171; rhetoric, 146; Sand­ hurst on, 147; UN report on, vii–viii smallholders, 62, 167 Smith, Adam, 47 Social Service League, 171, 185 society and state distinction, 137 Sovani, N. V., 17 speculation (investment), 58, 70, 194; cotton, 71; grain, 38; housing and land, 12, 102, 138, 156, 164, 165, 169 starvation, 33, 35, 56, 57, 60, 63, 64, 175. See also famine

F.Chhabria, Modern Slum.indd 234

stigmatization, 133, 184, 193; of housing and slums, 10–11, 19, 120, 132, 182, 193; of migrants, 69, 77; of Muslims, 118; of working poor people, 122 Strachey, John, 60, 61 streets. See roads strikes, 76, 95, 129, 142, 185, 187, 188, 189; fear of, 173 surveillance, 114, 115–16, 131, 132, 160; census taking as, 78, 79 surveys and surveying, 47, 91

T

Tate, William, 47 taxation, 4–5, 12, 36, 94, 97, 141, 177, 194; on housing, 88, 138; night soil, 94–95; slums and, 117 tenants and landlords. See landlords and tenants tenements, 18, 19, 88, 105, 107, 108–9, 169– 70; Improvement Trust and, 169. See also chawls Thana, 52, 68, 156 thirst, 74 Tilak, Bal Gangadhar, 64, 114 topography, 47 “town,” census definition of, 8 Town Planning Act, 47, 174 transportation, 53, 54, 72. See also railways typologies of cities, 20

U

“unfit for human habitation” (“UHH”) (label), 93, 120, 151, 154, 155, 168, 181 unions, 189, 190, 191 United Kingdom. See Britain United Nations, vii–viii United States Housing Act of 1937, 209n62 “untouchables,” 69–70 “urban gaze,” 14–15, 78, 90, 182–83 urbanism, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 20, 89, 195 urban/rural demarcation. See rural/urban demarcation

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I N DE X

V

ventilation, 96, 101, 114, 117, 120, 121, 134; Improvement Trust and, 134, 149, 154, 170 villages, 186, 191; road building for, 159 voting, 141, 142, 185

W

waste management. See garbage removal; sewage and night soil water, 97–98, 120; privatization, 193, 195. See also drinking water

F.Chhabria, Modern Slum.indd 235

235

Weir, T. S., 88 “white town” and “black town.” See “black town” and “white town” Whitley, John, 191 Wingate, G., 53 Wolf, Eric R., 190 Wood, Edith Elmer, 209n62 “worlding” of cities, 58, 77, 78, 83, 180 World War I, 185, 187

Z

zoning, inflexible. See “inflexible zoning”

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Padma Kaimal K. Sivaramakrishnan Anand A. Yang Series Editors

Global South Asia takes an interdisciplinary approach to the humanities and social sciences in its exploration of how South Asia, through its global influence, is and has been shaping the world. A Place for Utopia: Urban Designs from South Asia, by Smriti Srinivas The Afterlife of Sai Baba: Competing Visions of a Global Saint, by Karline McLain Sensitive Space: Fragmented Territory at the India-Bangladesh Border, by Jason Cons The Gender of Caste: Representing Dalits in Print, by Charu Gupta Displaying Time: The Many Temporalities of the Festival of India, by Rebecca M. Brown Banaras Reconstructed: Architecture and Sacred Space in a Hindu Holy City, by Madhuri Desai Mobilizing Krishna’s World: The ­Writings of Prince Sāvant Singh of Kishangarh, by Heidi Rika Maria Pauwels The Rebirth of Bodh Gaya: Buddhism and the Making of a World Heritage Site, by David Geary

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Making New Nepal: From Student Activism to Mainstream Politics, by Amanda Thérèse Snellinger High-Tech Housewives: Indian IT Workers, Gendered Labor, and Transmigration, by Amy Bhatt Privileged Minorities: Syrian Christianity, Gender, and Minority Rights in Postcolonial India, by Sonja Thomas Creating the Universe: Depictions of the Cosmos in Himalayan Buddhism, by Eric Huntington Mountain Temples and Temple Mountains: Architecture, Religion, and Nature in the Central Himalayas, by Nachiket Chanchani Gandhi’s Search for the Perfect Diet: Eating with the World in Mind, by Nico Slate Marrying for a Future: Transnational Sri Lankan Tamil Marriages in the Shadow of War, by Sidharthan Maunaguru

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Bhakti and Power: Debating India’s Religion of the Heart, edited by John Stratton Hawley, Christian Lee Novetzke, and Swapna Sharma Climate Change and the Art of Devotion: Geoaesthetics in the Land of Krishna, 1550–1850, by Sugata Ray

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History and Collective Memory in South Asia, 1200–2000, by Sumit Guha Making the Modern Slum: The Power of Capital in Colonial Bombay, by Sheetal Chhabria

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