Shock City of Twentieth-Century India
Publication Year: 2011
In the 20th century, Ahmedabad was India's "shock city." It was the place where many of the nation's most important developments occurred first and with the greatest intensity -- from Gandhi's political and labor organizing, through the growth of textile, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries, to globalization and the sectarian violence that marked the turn of the new century. Events that happened there resonated throughout the country, for better and for worse. Howard Spodek describes the movements that swept the city, telling their story through the careers of the men and women who led them.
Published by: Indiana University Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
Download PDF (160.5 KB)
Download PDF (66.5 KB)
Download PDF (816.1 KB)
Ahmedabad has been my second home for almost half a century. Many of the central actors in this book are friends and colleagues. My sense of gratitude to all of them is overwhelming. I hope they feel that this book repays in small part all that they have contributed over the years to the book and to me personally...
Download PDF (216.6 KB)
I arrived in Ahmedabad in 1964 to teach English. As a first-year graduate student at the University of Chicago, specializing in modern Indian history, I had been awarded a Fulbright fellowship to teach and carry on research in India. There were forty people in my group; we were dispatched to ten different centers across north India...
Part 1 The Gandhian Era, 1915â1950
Download PDF (121.5 KB)
Ahmedabadâs historian, Ratnamanirao Bhimrao Jhote, notes that in 1915 both Gandhi and electricity arrived in Ahmedabad. Seen from 1929, when he wrote, this glowing comparison makes sense, but when Gandhi first arrived to found his ashram, the consequences were by no means predictable. His public...
Chapter 1 Gandhi Chooses Ahmedabad
Download PDF (217.2 KB)
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhiâs father, and his father before him, served as high-ranking administrative officers in various princely states in Kathiawad, the western peninsula of Gujarat. The British ruled Kathiawad indirectlyâthat is, they kept the local rulers of its small states...
Chapter 2 Gandhi Assembles New Leadership
Download PDF (405.4 KB)
Gandhiâs arrival in Ahmedabad in 1915 precipitated a remarkable generational shift in the cityâs leadership. The three dominant leaders at the timeâMangaldas Girdhardas, Ramanbhai Nilkanth, and Chinubhai Madhavlalâhad all been born between 1862 and 1864, only a few years before...
Chapter 3 Vallabhbhai Patel Builds the Congress Political Machine
Download PDF (305.0 KB)
When Vallabhbhai Patel was elected councilor from the Dariapur ward in 1917, he began his new political career with two goals in mind. As a resident of the city, he wanted Ahmedabad to be healthy and clean, with adequate facilities for water, drainage, sewerage, lighting, and roads. As a nationalist, he wanted to limit, and...
Chapter 4 Anasuyaben Sarabhai Engages Ahmedabadâs Working Classes
Download PDF (264.2 KB)
At the time of Gandhiâs arrival, half of Ahmedabadâs population were of the industrial working classes. Anasuyaben Sarabhai saw their poverty, oppression, and need for help. Her vision began with compassion and manifested itself in social work. Her dedication attracted Gandhi and engaged his own orientation toward the poor and the underdog. Together, the efforts of...
Images- between 114-115
Part 2 The Westernizing City, 1950â1980
Download PDF (133.8 KB)
The year 1947 ended the era of colonialism and confronted India with the new challenges of independence. In addressing two of these challengesâbuilding a more productive, more equitable economy and encouraging indigenous culture âAhmedabad stood out as a shock city. As one of the most industrialized cities...
Chapter 5 Ambalal Sarabhai and Kasturbhai Lalbhai Build an Industrialized, Westernized, Prosperous, Cultured, World-Class Company Town
Download PDF (253.2 KB)
From the moment of his arrival in Ahmedabad, the shethiasâthe wealthy businessmenâhad welcomed Gandhi.1 Mangaldas Girdhardas hosted him. When Mangaldas withdrew his support because Gandhi brought untouchables into his ashram, Ambalal Sarabhai stepped in. Kasturbhai Lalbhai acted as sometime treasurer for the Congress and as Gandhiâs counterpart in...
Chapter 6 Indulal Yagnik Challenges the Gandhian Consensus
Download PDF (309.9 KB)
Even during Gandhiâs time, Indulal Yagnik had fought against establishments. He lost these early battles. Despite Indulalâs objections, Gandhi continued to call for daily quotas of spinning on the charkha (spinning wheel), and Vallabhbhai Patel continued to set the direction of the Congress.1 In 1924, at the age of thirty-two, Indulal left Ahmedabad...
Part 3 Creativity and Chaos, 1969â
Download PDF (138.7 KB)
The Gandhian age had brought a sense of unity to Ahmedabad. Four principal institutions provided the formal organizational structures: the Ahmedabad Millowners Association, the Textile Labour Association, the Congress, and the municipality. Apart from their individual, separate missions, these institutions shared three common visions: ending British imperial rule, assuring a minimum...
Chapter 7 Communal Violence, 1969
Download PDF (159.9 KB)
The Gandhian consensus preserved the peace in Ahmedabad from 1919 until the national agonies of the 1940s intruded on the local scene in the form of HinduâMuslim riots in 1941 and 1946 preceding partition, and attacks on government property accompanying the Quit India movement of 1942. The violence of 1956â60 exploded out of the Mahagujarat movement. The police ...
Chapter 8 Chimanbhai Patel Provokes the Nav Nirman Movement, 1974
Download PDF (206.1 KB)
Only five years after communal warfare made Ahmedabad a shock city for all of India, the Nav Nirman (Reconstruction) movement, a middle-class protest against corruption and patronage in the state government, brought the city once more to center stage. Nav Nirman fused together three issues: middle-class opposition to patronage and corruption in politics; professional opposition to the commercialization and politicization of the expanding system of higher education; and urban opposition to high ...
Chapter 9 The Mills Close, the TLA Falters, and the Municipal Corporation Goes Broke
Download PDF (178.2 KB)
In the 1980s, Ahmedabadâs mill industry began to shut down. The effects devastated the owners, the workers, and the city. Once again, Ahmedabad was a shock city, bearing the brunt of what became a national, and global, trend in the collapse of large-scale older industries. The closure of Ahmedabadâs mills was, however, surprisingly different from the collapse taking place in wealthier, ...
Chapter 10 Madhavsinh Solanki Invokes the Politics of Caste and Class
Download PDF (272.8 KB)
The 1980s brought Ahmedabadâs Gandhian era to an end. The mills collapsed, crippling the Ahmedabad Millowners Association and the Textile Labour Association (TLA), and leaving the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) impoverished. The leaders who had grown to maturity under Gandhian influence and had guided the cityâs affairs for a half...
Chapter 11 Ahmedabad 2000: The Capitalist City Out of Control
Download PDF (291.8 KB)
Ahmedabad rebounded from the loss of its textile industry. In the 1990s, it rebuilt its industrial economy with new initiatives in chemicals, pharmaceuticals, soaps, denim, and diamond polishing. In addition, Ahmedabadâs financial sector grew to service the rapid expansion of the economy of Gujarat state. The city did not attract the international back-office call center operations that captured wide attention for Bangalore, for example, but its manufacturing enterprises supported Indiaâs large-scale entrance into the ...
Chapter 12 Godhra, the Gujarat Pogrom, and the Consequences
Download PDF (314.6 KB)
A book on the twentieth century would normally end with the year 2000. But the pogrom of 2002, which left almost 1,000 people dead in Ahmedabad, another 1,000 dead in the rest of Gujarat, and rendered about 140,000 people temporarily homeless, makes that impossible in this case. This pogrom, one of the worst in India since independence, made Ahmedabad once again a shock city for India, in both senses...
Download PDF (65.4 KB)
Download PDF (365.8 KB)
Download PDF (137.4 KB)
Download PDF (289.5 KB)
Page Count: 352
Illustrations: 12 b&w illus., 3 maps
Publication Year: 2011