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Making Lahore Modern

Making Lahore Modern: Constructing and Imagining a Colonial City

William J. Glover
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 288
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  • Book Info
    Making Lahore Modern
    Book Description:

    William J. Glover investigates the traditions that shaped colonial Lahore, focusing on the conviction that both British and Indian actors who implemented urbanization shared: that the material fabric of the city could lead to social and moral improvement. Glover reveals that urban change in colonial India was not a monolithic process and establishes Lahore as a key site for understanding the genealogy of modern global urbanism.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-5395-9
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-x)
    (pp. xi-xxviii)

    In 1809, a British officer in Lord Charles T.Metcalfe’s diplomatic mission to Punjab described the province’s capital city of Lahore as presenting a “melancholy picture of fallen splendour.Here the lofty dwellings and masjids [mosques], which fifty years ago raised their tops to the skies and were the pride of a busy and active population, are now crumbling into dust.”After touring the plain surrounding the city, the same officer wrote that “on going over these ruins I saw not a human being; all was silence, solitude, and gloom.”¹ Some twenty years later, in 1831, the young Lieutenant (later Sir) Alexander Burnes...

  5. 1 AN URBAN PALIMPSEST The Precolonial Development of Lahore
    (pp. 1-26)

    From the air, Lahore appears today as a dense agglomeration of lowrise buildings spread across a large plain sparsely covered with vegetation. On all but the clearest of days, a thick haze of dust, smoke, and vehicle exhaust gives the city a murky yellow brown tint, making it, as one first sees it framed through an airplane window, look like a poorly focused sepia photograph. To the east, Lahore terminates a few miles short of the Indian border, made visible at night by a row of tungstenlamp-lit steel observation towers that recede gradually into the distance. At the northern edge...

  6. 2 A COLONIAL SPATIAL IMAGINATION British Knowledge of the City and Its Environs
    (pp. 27-58)

    For the first generation of colonial officials who occupied Lahore, the city and its immediate environs were unmapped and poorly known. There was, first of all, the walled inner district of the city, with its Mughal-era monuments and pattern of streets and houses. Outside the city walls, abandoned tombs, temples, and gardens coexisted with a number of populous enclaves that at one time had been contiguous with these ruins but that now formed more isolated settlements. Farther out, a few miles beyond the circuit of the city walls, the facilities and dwellings of people engaged in small-scale manufacturing blended seamlessly...

  7. 3 COLLABORATIONS Building an Elite Landscape in Lahore’s Civil Station
    (pp. 59-98)

    On the eve of annexation, Lahore’s suburbs were made up of a flat, debris-strewn plain interrupted by a small number of populousabadis, the deserted cantonment and barracks of the former Sikh infantry (which, according to one British officer,“put to shame the humble huts in which the British Sepoy resides”), and a handful of still-serviceable tombs, gardens, and other large buildings in various states of disrepair.¹ This plain—which would be called the “civil station” in Lahore as in other cities of British India—was to be the site for a new kind of urban project in Punjab: the construction...

  8. 4 CHANGING HOUSES Rethinking and Rebuilding Townhouses and Neighborhoods
    (pp. 99-158)

    The construction of Lahore’s civil station did not take place in a vacuum. Changes to the city’s architecture took place throughout Lahore, even in places far removed from Mall Road. Few British observers noticed those changes taking place. Fewer still saw them as representing anything other than the demise (for better or worse, depending on the observer) of a traditional “Indian” way of life. This was particularly true of changes taking place in ordinary Indian houses in the city. Throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Lahore’s Indian residents gradually reworked both the forms and meanings of their homes...

  9. 5 ANXIETIES AT HOME The Disquieting British Bungalow
    (pp. 159-184)

    Like many British officials who lived in India, William Owens Clark kept a diary.¹ Clark, who served as, among other positions, the chief judge of the Punjab High Court in Lahore (from 1898 to 1909), had a scientific bent of mind. His diary is most notable in this regard for its obsessive recording of the weather. Throughout the entire twenty-nine years of his sporadic diary entries (which span from 1877 to 1906), in addition to noting the condition of the sky and whether and how much it had rained, Clark regularly recorded the temperature at various times of day both...

  10. 6 THINKING WITH THE CITY Urban Writing in Colonial Lahore
    (pp. 185-202)

    Urban restructuring does not simply change the look of a city’s buildings and roads; it also changes the way people imagine and understand their city. Governments have long realized this, which is partly why urban restructuring became an important tool of governance in colonial India: The colonial officials who planned and built urban space in British India hoped to produce a transformative physical milieu, one that would change how Indian residents thought about and lived in urban space. Throughout the colonial period in Lahore, as we have seen, both the look of the city and the sense its residents made...

  11. NOTES
    (pp. 203-232)
    (pp. 233-254)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 255-258)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 259-259)