The Mak­ing of La­hore

Southasia - - Contents -

Ti­tle: Mak­ing La­hore Modern: Con­struct­ing and Imag­in­ing a Colo­nial City

Au­thor: Wil­liam J. Glover

Pub­lisher: Ox­ford Univer­sity Press, Pak­istan (Jan­uary, 2011)

Pages: 288, Hard­back

Price: PKR. 895

ISBN: 9780199062256

In Mak­ing La­hore Modern, au­thor Wil­liam J. Glover keenly in­ves­ti­gates the mul­ti­ple tra­di­tions that trans­formed the once colo­nial La­hore into its cur­rent form and fash­ion. In par­tic­u­lar, he fo­cuses on the con­vic­tion that both Bri­tish and In­dian ac­tors who im­ple­mented ur­ban­iza­tion came to share the ba­sic self-pre­sumed fact that the ma­te­rial fab­ric of the city could lead to so­cial, eco­nomic and moral ame­lio­ra­tion of city dwellers. This be­lief in the power of the phys­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment to shape in­di­vid­ual and col­lec­tive sen­ti­ments linked the colo­nial his­tory of La­hore to nine­teenth-cen­tury ur­ban­iza­tion around the world.

Glove high­lights three dis­tinct as­pects of La­hore’s his­tory that ex­hibit this process.

First, he ex­ten­sively ex­am­ines the con­cepts through which the Bri­tish un­der­stood the In­dian city and en­vi­sioned its trans­for­ma­tion. Sec­ond, through a de­tailed study of new build­ings and the adap­ta­tion of ex­ist­ing struc­tures, he ex­plores the role of plan­ning, de­sign, and re­use. Fi­nally, he an­a­lyzes the changes in ur­ban imag­i­na­tion as ev­i­denced in In­dian writ­ings on the city in this pe­riod. Through­out, Glover em­pha­sizes that colo­nial ur­ban­ism was not sim­ply im­posed; it was a col­lab­o­ra­tive project be­tween In­dian ci­ti­zens and the Bri­tish.

Ac­cord­ing to the au­thor, most of the schol­ar­ship on colo­nial ur­ban­ism was fo­cused on pres­i­dency capitals (es­pe­cially Bom­bay, Delhi, and Cal­cutta), to the gen­eral ex­clu- sion of sec­ond or third tier cities. La­hore seemed like an ob­vi­ous choice to start, given the con­text. Through a brief trip to La­hore in the early 1990s, Glove had al­ready ac­quired a deep af­fec­tion for the city. In ret­ro­spect, it was as much a per­sonal as it was an in­tel­lec­tual de­ci­sion.

The sec­ond as­pect on which the writer dwells is the in­tro­duc­tion of Marx­ist anal­y­sis into ar­chi­tec­tural de­signs. His Gram­s­cian (An­to­nio Gram­sci’s) thoughts and Fou­cauldian (Michel Fou­cault’s) read­ings on the anal­y­sis of a bour­geois so­ci­ety led him to an­a­lyze La­hore, which re­mained a semi-cen­ter stage in colo­nial his­tory.

In Mak­ing La­hore Modern, Wil­liam Glover con­trib­utes to the bur­geon­ing and ex­cit­ing, re­cent lit­er­a­ture on the colo­nial city in In­dia. While oth­ers have pri­mar­ily fo­cused on the metropoli­tan cen­ters of Cal­cutta, Bom­bay or New Delhi, Glover adopts the Pun­jab provin­cial cap­i­tal of La­hore, as his sub­ject. As he ar­gues at the out­set, a provin­cial city such as La­hore may be broadly rep­re­sen­ta­tive of ur­ban change in Bri­tish In­dia. This book is not just a his­tory of La­hore, but uses the his­tory of La­hore to re­flect more gen­er­ally on the “colo­nial” and “modern” as­pects in In­dia.

Glover re­mains at pains to up­end fash­ion­able di­chotomies of “colo­nial dif­fer­ence” which see the “modern” as a Euro­pean trans­plant in the colony and thus con­trast the Euro­pean “civil sta­tion” with the tra­di­tional “old city.” Both new and old

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Pakistan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.