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Constructing India and Campaigning in the Banlieues: The Week in Global-Affairs Writing

The highlights from seven days of reading about the world
Source: Rupak De Chowdhuri / Reuters

Urban Dreams
Rollo Romig | California Sunday
“The three titans of India at its mo­ment of independence had divergent visions of the country’s urban future. Mohandas Gandhi insisted that ‘the true Indian civilization is in the Indian villages.’ B. R. Ambedkar, champion of Dalits, the so-called untouchables, disdained the Indian village as ‘a sink of localism, a den of ignorance’ and urged lower-caste Indians to begin anew in cities. Likewise, but in service of his industrial dreams, Jawaharlal Nehru, the republic’s first prime minister, endorsed an urban ideal ‘unfettered by the traditions of the past.’

Gandhi is losing this argument badly. The

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