No One in this City knows how to be in a City

No One in this City knows how to be in a City” Hindu Nationalism and Spatial Tactics of the New Urban Middle Class in Ahmedabad,India

Manissa McCleave Maharawa

Ahmedabad, Gujarat is simultaneously one of the most prosperous and fastest growing cities in India as well as the site of some of the worst communal violence in the country’s recent history. In this paper I explore this relationship through looking at this the ways in which the new urban middle class in Ahmedabad thinks of themselves as “middle class” using a variety of spatial tactics- from where to shop to how to “be” in the city. I argue that these tactics are implicitly connected to practices and tactics of Hindu Nationalism which can be understood as a political and religious doctrine that is deeply spatial: in that it legitimates itself through constructing religious “space” both ideologically as well as violently. How do the practices of the middle class and the ideology of Hindu Nationalism interact in order to create a sense of how to “be” urban or to use urban space in India?

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