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Urbanization in India During the British Period (1857–1947)

Dipsikha Sahoo
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Urban history is a rapidly expanding interdisciplinary field of research. The rate of urban growth in the twentieth century has also stimulated interest in the city as an object of socio-historical inquiry. Some historical studies on individual Indian cities like Bombay, Calcutta, Cawnpore, Delhi, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Surat and Madras have primarily explored the growth of urban centres by tracing their histories under colonial rule. This study offers a macro picture of the urban process under British administration, giving an understanding of how colonial capitalism shaped and imposed urban patterns in India. It contextualizes the urbanization of India in the world capitalist system of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, explaining the multifaceted historical conditions in 1857, just before the imposition of direct Crown rule. Sahoo examines the socio-economic developments and demographic changes in India under British rule and analyzes the impact of the world capitalist economy, the pattern of urbanization under British rule, and the contribution of railways to urbanization. This volume is a profile of India’s primate cities, identifying the core, the periphery and the underdeveloped hinterlands.