Shock City of Twentieth-Century India
Howard Spodek
Distribution: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka
Publication date: 04/18/2011
Format: Hardback 12 b&w illus., 3 maps
ISBN: 978-0-253-35587-4
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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.

Author Bio

Howard Spodek is Professor of History at Temple University. He is author of The World’s History and editor (with Doris Meth Srinivasan) of Urban Form and Meaning in South Asia.


“Brings into focus the forces of social, political, economic, and cultural change which have transformed India in the 20th century.”
 — Lynn Hollen Lees, University of Pennsylvania

“A major contribution to the history of modern India and to urban studies in general. . . . A scholar's model for future historical studies of cities, especially those in the developing nations.”
 — Owen M. Lynch, C. F. Noyes Professor Emeritus, New York University

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Table of Contents



Part 1. The Gandhian Era, 1915–1950
1. Gandhi Chooses Ahmedabad
2. Gandhi Assembles New Leadership
3. Vallabhbhai Patel Builds the Congress Political Machine
4. Anasuyaben Sarabhai Engages Ahmedabad's Working Classes

Part 2. The Westernizing City, 1950–1980
5. Ambalal Sarabhai and Kasturbhai Lalbhai Build an Industrialized, Westernized, Prosperous, Cultured, World-Class Company Town
6. Indulal Yagnik Challenges the Gandhian Consensus

Part 3. Creativity and Chaos: Economic Restructuring--Political Violence--Culture Conflict, 1969–
7. Communal Violence, 1969
8. Chimanbhai Patel Provokes the Nav Nirman Movement, 1974
9. The Mills Close, the TLA Falters, and the Municipal Corporation Goes Broke
10. Madhavsinh Solanki Invokes the Politics of Caste and Class
11. Ahmedabad 2000: The Capitalist City Out of Control
12. Godhra, the Gujarat Pogrom, and the Consequences


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