Wednesday, September 21, 2011

27 September 2011: Politics and Protesting Publics in Urban India Reflections from the 2006 Sealing Drive and the World of New Delhi’s Traders

Diya Mehra
Centre de Sciences Humaines

In 2006, the Supreme Court ordered that anywhere between 50,000-500,000 shops in Delhi would have to close as they were illegal operating commercial establishments in residential areas. This paper examines the large oppositional campaign put up by Delhi’s traders in protest against the judgment, and what came to be known as the Sealing Drives. The paper uses this example to bring attention to a vast intermediate urban/economic world, betwixt and between the elite and the poor, that has largely been ignored in the existing urban literature on contemporary urban change. It shows how this intermediate world is both enmeshed in the development of a world class city and lifestyles, even as increasingly threatened by the arrival of larger and powerful capital. From the perspective of the traders, the Sealing Drive was a conspiracy between government and new capital; one cemented by high-level corruption and aimed at evicting smaller scale production from the city. In opposition and through their campaign the traders sought to defer the sealing order by deploying nationalist, and anti-colonial repertoires (symbols, discourses, practices) of performative street based politics, spread by harnessing urban memories, affective distress, vernacular understanding of state morality, media coverage, images and cinematic tropes, seeking to interpellate a vast and dispersed oppositional public. What the campaign makes apparent is that the contemporary Indian urban comprises a multitude of urban publics, articulated at the intersection of a number of different dynamics, and in a state of emergent and fluid political formation.

Date: September 27, 2011
Time: 03:45 P.M.

Conference Hall,
Centre for Policy Research,
Dharma Marg, Chanakyapuri,
New Delhi–110021(INDIA)


View Larger Map

No comments:

Post a Comment