Shail Mayaram


The article addresses issues of marginalisation in the context of postcolonial migration to the megacity. Taking Delhi as an example, the author outlines first, the nature of migration during partition, and the importance of identities as central to the construction of the modern middle class mediated by a welfare-state, before moving on to examine the particular situation of migration in the context of poverty. Through the lived stories of men and women, what the author reflexively calls the ‘anecdotal’ mode, she attempts to identify the subaltern of the city, marginalised at once by the state, its elite citizens and the new global-market ethic. Using the rickshaw puller and the hawker/ vendor as examples, the author traces the multiple pressures at play in the megacity, showing how narratives of ‘planned’ cities and the categorization of marginal in academia and the media have impacted these processes. However, she does not give up hope that the megacity can also be a place for subaltern cosmopolitanisms and co-lived/ shared histories.