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Ahmedabad, India's seventh-largest city, a six-hundred-year-old former textile town where Mahatma Gandhi launched his struggle against British rule, the hotbed for communal violence. The city is kwn today for being Prime Minister Narendra Modi's stronghold, the model for a new, market-led vision of development and a harbinger of the changes sweeping through the new India. In this intimate biography, Amrita Shah travels through time and a landscape of abandoned mills and urban beautification projects; stone monuments and modernist architecture. She visits neighbourhoods divided by sectarian violence and ghettos borne on the outskirts of the city. Among the many people she meets are a young embroiderer from Asarwa-Chamanpura, the architect of the Riverfront project, a poet-turned-civil servant, a popular singing duo and a well-heeled socialite. This is the story of roadmaps and rivers, kings and kingmakers, merchants and savants; of Dalit labourers and women bootleggers, displaced Muslims and a euphoric middle class. It is also the incredible story of hope and vulnerability at the heart of a metropolis. Searing, illuminating, and beautifully written, Ahmedabad: A City in the World is essential reading for an insight into contemporary India.
Amrita Shah has been a columnist and contributing editor with the Indian Express and was the founding editor of Elle India. Among the books she has written is a biography of Vikram Sarabhai (Penguin India, 2007). Shah received fellowships from the New India Foundation, the Homi Bhabha Fellowships Council and Fulbright to write Ahmedabad: A City in the World. She is currently visiting faculty at the Centre for Contemporary Studies, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru.