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The space of the mohalla: from Congress to communal geographies in the interwar Delhi

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This paper will examine the mohallas (urban, sometimes walled, communities) of Delhi as both material spaces that can be mapped and spatially reconstructed using the colonial archive, but also as spaces that were politically mobilised and restructured in the interwar years. Augmenting existing literature on mohallas as sites for Muslim organisational penetration (Malik 1993), cultural identification (Dayal 1975; Pernau 2013) and political mobilisation (Masselos2007; Spodek 2011), this paper will look at how mohallas became spaces for rival penetration (eg Congress, RSSS and Muslim National Guard) and the scale at which biopolitical and increasingly militaristic conducting of local populations pre-partitioned Delhi in the 1940s.

This talk is part of the Centre of South Asian Studies Seminars series.

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