PresenterMenon Gayatri - Azim Premji University, School of Development, Bengaluru, India
Panel24 – Timely Histories: A Social History of Time in South Asia
What are the multiple temporalities that shape the lives of the pavement dwellers of Mumbai? Examining memories of migration that bind together different times in painful and unexpected ways, the violent dialectic of encroachment and eviction that plays out in and through space and time, the invisibilised histories, the precarity of the present, and the politics of waiting that shapes the lives of those pushed to the political margins of the city, I explore what the lives of Mumbai’s pavement dwellers might tell us about the particular social history of time that is vested in the term resilience.
The term resilience has in recent years entered the development discourse to shed light on the capacity of some of the most marginalised populations to adapt and survive adverse circumstances. While an important perspective the embattled experience of time that the term signals is under theorised. I take on this challenge by exploring how experiences of grief and irretrievable loss live on in the present. I argue that that while the pavement dwellers struggle for shelter and their ability to lay claim to a home in the city has been very productively examined as a spatial question, it must be examined as a temporal one too. For it is only by doing so that that we can make visible and accountable the history of violence that is implicit in any political landscape that requires some bodies to be resilient in order to survive.