Like many cities in the global South, New Delhi has not been built by architects, engineers or planners, but by residents themselves. One form of such auto-construction is the basti—an urban settlement that houses income-poor residents. A basti marks the years of an urban life, built slowly and incrementally. It is more than a ‘slum’: it is a claim to development and citizenship.
Contemporary Delhi is a city scarred by the evictions of bastis. Ironically, many of these evictions were ordered in Public Interest Litigations by the Indian Judiciary. How did a judicial innovation introduced to enable the marginalised to seek justice become an instrument of their exclusion?
Drawing on an archive of court cases that resulted in evictions in Delhi from 1990 to 2007, as well as ethnographic research with basti residents and social movements resisting eviction, In the Public’s Interest shows how evictions have been fundamental to the way urban space is structured and produced. It also explores what they can tell us about the contemporary Indian city. Students and scholars of sociology, urban studies, development studies and geography will find this book engaging and useful.
List of Boxes, Figures and Maps
Introduction: ‘How did we get here?’
1. Planned Illegalities: The Production of Housing in Delhi, 1947–2010
2. Planned Development and/as Crisis: Evictions and the Politics of Governance in Contemporary Delhi
3. Unmaking Citizens: Spatial Illegality, Urban Citizenship and the Challenges for Inclusive Politics
4. ‘You can’t just walk into a Court’: Notes on the Judicialisation of Resistance
Concluding Provocations: Inquiries from the South