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