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ON Thursday 22 March 2018, Amrita Shah, a 2018 JIAS Writing Fellow, gave a talk at the Centre for Indian Studies in Africa (CISA) at Wits University on ‘Ahmedabad: A city in the world’.

At a time when India is moving towards a capitalist economy with the urban as its framework, Ahmedabad, the country’s fifth largest city, showcases the experience of a highly entrepreneurial society in one of India’s longest surviving cities.

Founded in 1411 by Ahmed Shah of the Gujarat Sultanate, Ahmedabad has been a trading post and manufacturing centre for cotton textiles, a base for Gandhi after his return from South Africa in 1915, and a site of endemic communal as well as other forms of mass violence in the post-independence era.

The early decades of the present century have seen the city emerge as a showpiece of the socio-economic and majoritarian vision known as the ‘Gujarat model’, which catapulted Narendra Modi to the prime ministership in 2014. An exploration of this complex and fascinating city reveals the processes underpinning the ethos of contemporary India.

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