Communities of Place, Not Kind: American Technologies of Neighborhood in Postcolonial Delhi

Matthew S. Hull
2011 Comparative Studies in Society and History  
In 1956 the Indian Government invited the Ford Foundation to assist with a master plan for the Delhi region. Two years later, the invitation was extended to help with a separate urban community development program. Even though the master plan was a comprehensive project covering transportation, water, sewage, housing, industry, and zoning, the creation of community and communities was one of its main goals. The Draft Master Plan for Delhi (DMPD) declared "in all planning for man's
more » ... man's environments," it was "extremely vital" to "evolve a well integrated new community pattern that would fit the changed living conditions of the new age and promote genuine democratic growth." 1 Similarly, the primary objective of the urban community development project, as laid out by the Commissioner of Delhi, was that of "giving form to an urban community, which has been drawn from backgrounds varying from one another and trying to achieve a homogeneity." 2 The importance of "community" was nothing new in India. It had long been central to the colonial management of cities. As Gyan Prakash has observed, "From the late nineteenth century onwards ... the colonial administration increasingly represented and governed India as a collection of pre-Acknowledgments: This article is most indebted to the late Bernard Cohn who first encouraged me to explore the postcolonial role of the United States in India and guided the early stages of this project. My special thanks go to Aarti Sethi for enterprisingly tracking down early community development records in Delhi. I am also grateful for the insights of those who have provided valuable comments on this research at various points:
doi:10.1017/s0010417511000405 fatcat:2s5iz5tnxffehnrnix6eh2jpsu