Translating the Public in Colonial Punjab*

William J. Glover

in Punjab Reconsidered

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780198078012
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080984 | DOI:
Translating the Public in Colonial Punjab*

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This chapter presents a small number of legal cases from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in which the English term and concept ‘public’ was applied to a building or spatial practice in a Punjabi city. These cases illustrate a number of different ways the concept of public space refracted through more long-standing indigenous concepts and spatial practices in Punjab. They also reveal how the institutionalization of ‘public space’ as a prerogative of colonial municipal authority gradually changed the configurations and meanings of those shared spaces that were a traditional feature of every Indian city. These colonial-era cases thus point to the newness of public space — as both a concept and a corporeal substance — and its associated urban phenomena in late-nineteenth century India.

Keywords: Punjab; public space; municipal authority; city; spatial practices

Chapter.  7123 words. 

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