Mil­len­nium City

India Business Journal - - READERS' LOUNGE -

For the aspi­ra­tional mi­grant, rich or poor, Gur­gaon is the Mil­len­nium City, with its sleek malls, sky-scrap­ing con­do­mini­ums, safe and gra­cious-gated colonies, ten­e­ment hous­ing and life-chang­ing jobs. For cor­po­ra­tions, it is the Mecca of op­por­tu­nity, as count­less For­tune-500 com­pa­nies have flocked to its busi­ness tow­ers and parks, at once spa­cious, el­e­gant and con­ve­nient for do­ing busi­ness. For its older res­i­dents, a more in­trigu­ing fate could not have be­fallen their small town. For the me­dia it is the city that makes head­lines, of­ten for the wrong rea­sons brawls in pubs, crimes against women, du­bi­ous real es­tate trans­ac­tions and mega traf­fic jams.

But Gur­gaon's ex­is­tence be­gan as an ob­scure ham­let, and it has had sev­eral hoary in­car­na­tions be­fore it ac­quired its present den­sity, in­dus­try, wealth and civic fabric. It is this tan­gled tale, more the­matic than chrono­log­i­cal, that this book tells.

The glar­ing prob­lem is that Gur­gaon dared to dream big and pi­o­neered a pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship to build a city in a rather rocky and bar­ren part of the al­leged mythic vil­lage. It grew at a gal­lop and has swal­lowed 50 or more vil­lages on its way to Mil­len­nium City. The pri­vate sec­tor is thriv­ing, even as it sus­tains the ba­sic ser­vices that the city needs to func­tion, writes au­thor Veena Tal­war Olden­burg. Neg­a­tive pub­lic­ity al­most drowns out the fact that Gur­gaon is now the third-rich­est city in In­dia, where the pri-

vate sec­tor has cre­ated more jobs in the last decade than the re­named cities of Mum­bai, Chen­nai and Kolkata com­bined, she adds.

Ms Olden­burg has been wit­ness to Gur­gaon's as­ton­ish­ing evo­lu­tion for over 20 years. This vol­ume is the firstever, rig­or­ously-re­searched nar­ra­tive of the city's mak­ing that speaks to read­ers of mod­ern his­tory, au­di­ences com­pelled by Gur­gaon's be­wil­der­ing growth and the very peo­ple who made it their home - now and for gen­er­a­tions to come.

About the au­thor

Veena Tal­war Olden­burg is a pro­fes­sor of his­tory at Baruch Col­lege and The Grad­u­ate Cen­ter of the City Univer­sity of New York. She is also the au­thor of Dowry Mur­der: The Im­pe­rial Ori­gins of a Cul­tural Crime and The Mak­ing of Colo­nial Luc­know, 1856-1877.

Au­thor VEENA TAL­WAROLDEN­BURGPub­lisher HARPERCOLLINSPages: 328 Price: Rs 699

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