Swept Off The Map: Surviving Eviction and Resettlement in Delhi
Gautam Bhan and Kalyani Menon-Sen | 1 April 2008
In January 2004, the Tourism Ministry of the Government of India announced its plan of developing a 100-acre strip of land on the banks of the Yamuna into a riverside promenade, to be marketed as a major tourist attraction in the lead-up to the Commonwealth Games. In February and April 2004, homes and community buildings in this area were razed to the ground leaving thousands of people homeless. This book, the outcome of a two year long research study, tracks the lives of nearly 3,000 of these evicted households who were relocated to Bawana on the margins of the city, and describes their struggle to live with dignity in the face of assaults on their identities, homes, rights and lives. The book presents data and evidence on a wide range of social and economic indicators to show how eviction and resettlement have eroded the rights and undermined the livelihoods of resettled families, leaving them in a state of permanent poverty from which escape seems unlikely if not possible.
A critical expose of the human consequences of the push to make Delhi a ‘world-class city’, Swept off the Map raises uncomfortable questions about present trends in urban development and makes a powerful case for bringing the voices and views of all citizens — not just the elite (or aspiring-to-be-elite) classes — into debates on the future of the city.