Watch the full video (above) of the CPR- Centre de Sciences Humaines (CSH) Workshop on 'Delhi without Borders: Contradictions and Conflicts of a Delirious City Region' featuring Nitin Bathla.
The 1962 masterplan of Delhi introduced a critical intertwining between Delhi and its region. Not only did this initiate the restructuration of Delhi's metropolitan processes into a continually expanding territory, but more importantly it forged a land-based economic relationship between the city and its region. Thus, concomitant to the radical transformations in Delhi, profound acts of ecological dispossession, enclosure, and infrastructure violence have also been taking shape in its region.
The delirious city-region today represents a tapestry of stark disparities; of sparsely occupied luxury condominiums popping up next to dense settlements housing masses of labour migrants, of industrial-logistic spaces set amidst remnants of agro-pastoral landscapes, of operational landscapes set within sacred ecologies, and of ever new infrastructure networks set in bypass to the perpetually incomplete existing ones. This churning of territory for urban production is revealing a palimpsest of subaltern and planetary dynamics, sedentary and nomadic practices, and urban and agrarian societies, thus revealing unique socio-spatial conflicts and political compromises.
This presentation brought together observations, conclusions, and findings from over two years of ethnographic inquiry by the speaker in an attempt to unpack contradictions and conflicts in the urbanisation of a Delhi without borders.
Nitin Bathla is an urban researcher, artist, and educator based at ETH Zurich where he is currently pursuing his doctoral studies on a Swiss Excellence Fellowship.