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Sonali Dhanpal

Contested Bangalore: Caste, Colonial and Princely Politics

Set between 1881-1920, Sonali’s research destabilizes the myth of a monolithic colonial rule in India through a close spatial analysis of Bangalore. It opens new paths for the study of colonial urbanism revealing how, in this capital city divided between indirect princely and direct British rule, the production of urban space was a negotiated enterprise between two competing authorities and multiple local actors. Focusing on Bangalore’s speculative land and housing market, she also draws attention to the Dalit subaltern, demonstrating how rentier capitalism drew from and sustained caste, while also materialising it through the built form. Drawing from a diverse body of evidence, she maps the city’s transformation from British rule to princely rule, in ways that would determine the modern-day urban politics of Bangalore as capital of the Indian State of Karnataka.