Waiting for Dignity Housing

Slum Redevelopment, Cruel Governance and Unaccounted Time in Hyderabad

in The Cambridge Journal of Anthropology
Author:
Indivar Jonnalagadda Doctoral Candidate, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia indivarj@gmail.com

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Abstract

In this article, I track a housing scheme introduced in Hyderabad, India, to redevelop slums (in situ) into two-bedroom apartments. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork, I argue that existing forms of governance cyclically enact a suspension of poor people's lives and often dispossess the poor of one set of rights in the process of delivering another set. In their own descriptions of these schemes, displaced communities emphatically account for the forms of suffering they repeatedly incur, which are unaccounted for in the records of the state. In their experience, governance is not only arbitrary and labyrinthine, but it also entails necessary experiences of dispossession that ironically accompany schemes for their development. This regime of dispossession that chronically underlies schemes for poverty alleviation is what I call ‘cruel governance’. Over time, this mode of development accompanied by dispossession has resulted in cynical realignments of subaltern politics towards the state and its projects.

In 2015, the government of the newly formed Telangana State announced an ambitious housing scheme that promised two-bedroom apartments (hereafter 2BHK1 apartments) free of cost to all below-poverty-line (BPL) houseless families. This promise contributed to the Telangana Rashtriya Samiti's (TRS Party) electoral victory not only in the state elections in May 2014, but also once again in May 2019. However, when I began a period of intensive fieldwork in Hyderabad in August 2019, I noticed that four years since the advent of the scheme no 2BHK apartments had yet been inaugurated in Hyderabad. Even though signs of the scheme had materialised across the city in the form of construction sites (Figure 1) and even though the government was circulating consistent press releases to promise their imminent completion, not one had come to fruition.

Figure 1.
Figure 1.

Incomplete 2BHK complex in the lower Tank Bund area, Hyderabad, November 2019. Photo courtesy of the author.

Citation: The Cambridge Journal of Anthropology 41, 1; 10.3167/cja.2023.410106

That August, I found several sites where the 2BHK construction had made considerable progress and looked nearly complete, so I was initially impressed and expecting them to be inaugurated soon with fanfare. But skipping ahead a few months later, in November 2019, I started to notice that the incomplete grey buildings looked the same as they did in August and that no people had moved into them. Spurred by this observation, through November and December 2019 I visited twenty different construction sites, with longer ethnographic research at two sites. I found out that the scheme had been several years delayed since its proclamation, and that the people waiting for the apartments had been displaced for as long as three years after their erstwhile settlements were demolished to make way for redevelopment. This displacement was made more bitter for these communities by the fact that many had agreed to the redevelopment only upon aggressive persuasion, some called it coercion, by the government.2 To top it off, despite all these extenuating factors and chronic delays, the projects had ground to a complete halt since June 2019, due to a funding crunch.

Although nobody was living at the sites I visited, there were always people who waited at the site: they watched (to check the progress), they wondered (when the wait might end and what the future may hold) and they worried (was this all a big mistake?) (Figure 2). In this article, I consider this waiting as the definitive feature of how my interlocutors experience governance. Many ethnographies have evocatively described the ambiguous valence of waiting, which can either be seen as unproductive and suspended time due to protracted uncertainty (Auyero 2012; Biehl 2015; Jeffrey 2010), or, on the other hand, as being productive in terms of aspirations, improvised politics and provisional social relations generated in the present (Björkman 2020; Fox 2019; Simone 2020). However, as Sneha Annavarapu points out, ‘[hopeful] aspiration cannot thrive on thin soil’ (2022: 199). Similarly, I show how displaced communities use the time of waiting to perform and construct their ties to a specific place and account for the setbacks to the emplaced aspirations of their communities. Thus, I look at people's affective accounts of underlying processes of dispossession and domination that structure governance.

Figure 2.
Figure 2.

Incomplete 2BHK apartment buildings at a site near Old City. Photo courtesy of the author.

Citation: The Cambridge Journal of Anthropology 41, 1; 10.3167/cja.2023.410106

Many recent ethnographies have paid attention to time as a technique of governance (Bear 2016), especially in terms of the infrastructural rhythms of everyday life (Anand 2017) and the rhythms of bureaucracy (Mathur 2016). Javier Auyero (2012) has influentially theorised that bureaucratic delays are a process through which poor people are disciplined into being subordinate and co-operative patients of the state. I build on this interpretation of governance through delay as an act of domination and of temporality as an arena through which the structural demobilisation of the poor is attempted (Biehl 2015; Yoltar 2020), though never achieved (Simone 2020).

The gap between the promise of development and the deferral of its delivery elicits frustration, despair and a cynicism about the future and people's relations with the state (Annavarapu 2022; Göral 2021; Haas 2017). Yet despite the anger and complaints generated, people mobilise to demand the delivery of the objects being promised by the state, and they incorporate desires for these elusive objects into their everyday life strategies. They simultaneously espouse a deep cynicism about state projects while also expressing desires for inclusion, bringing to mind Lauren Berlant's (2011) notion of ‘cruel optimism’, an attachment to ideas and processes that are detrimental to one's welfare. This tension between people's attitudes and their actions is not a paradox, but a product of the political economy of urban life, livelihood and land, which leaves my interlocutors little room for manoeuvre and mobility (see Davis 2006; Sanyal 2014). Thus, in contrast to an attention to the cruel optimism of the subject, I address the production of cruel governance by the state.

What I call ‘cruel governance’ is a distinct regime of dispossession (Levien 2015). In contrast to a form of dispossession where the deprivation of one group facilitates some accumulation or relative gains for another group (Harvey 2007; Sanyal 2014), there is no clear beneficiary of the dispossessions experienced by communities undergoing slum redevelopment. Rather, it operates in the gap between, first, processes of neoliberalisation through which marginalised populations have been delegated the responsibility for their own advancement (Murphy 2017), and, second, chronic and systemic failures of the few schemes to deliver public goods or other welfare promises to the poor (see Drèze and Sen 2013). While Laura Bear and Nayanika Mathur (2015) show how governance operates through the production of new abstract ‘public goods’ like ‘good governance’ and ‘transparency’ to be delivered by the bureaucracy, these same abstract goods are also the pretexts for delay and deferral (Mathur 2016). This chronic and systemic gap between promise and delivery repetitively produces situations of indeterminate waiting, which I describe as ‘situation tragedies’, following Berlant (2011). The communities who experience this cruel governance are the Scheduled Caste or Dalit groups, other ‘lower caste’ groups, ‘low caste’ Muslims and other minoritised groups who are subjected to powerful historical and structural forces which relegate them to the social, economic and spatial margins of Indian cities (Ranganathan 2022). Cruel governance is thus not just one delayed welfare benefit but the chronic dispossessions of poor people's time, labour and communities by governments that foment aspirations of development that they cannot or will not deliver.

This article proceeds in four sections. The first section briefly describes how the 2BHK slum redevelopment scheme initially failed to launch, and how it ultimately succeeded in moving forward only upon coercing the poor into participating and surrendering their property. The second and third sections present episodes of situation tragedy from two sites: XY Colony and AB Nagar.3 The first episode, from XY Colony, highlights the deeply entrenched and messy systemic delays of the government's welfare apparatus by demonstrating what I call the ‘bureaucratic structure of deniability’. The second episode, from AB Nagar, looks at the practices by which patient citizens account for forms of suffering they incur. I find that they take account especially of the costs of displacement, the injustice of dispossession and the pain of death, and that they attempt to mobilise them as matters of concern inviting government intervention. The concluding section highlights my role and positionality as an ethnographer invited to witness the situation tragedy of waiting, and it comprises a discussion of the theoretical stakes of calling out structures of cruel governance.

Slum Redevelopment as a Regime of Dispossession

At a 2BHK scheme construction site in central Hyderabad (near Khairtabad), I met Ramakrishna and two of his friends; all of them were waiting beneficiaries. They were all middle-aged men, and they seemed to just be hanging around the site. I struck up a conversation with them about the construction of the new buildings and how the apartments would compare to their erstwhile houses. Ramakrishna looked at the building dejectedly and said:

We had perfectly good houses before this. We even had land titles; we were owners of our houses. The houses we built ourselves would have lasted us another fifteen years at least. But look at these buildings. Now that the work has stopped, they are full of cracks even before their completion. Will they last even ten years?

I asked why they agreed to redevelopment if they already had secure homes and titles. The three men exchanged grimacing looks, and again Ramakrishna responded to me: ‘Many of us didn't want it. But the government insisted that this will be good for us. They persuaded our leader, who also gained political points with the ruling party from the negotiation’. Such narratives of regret and resentment about the scheme were common amongst the people that waited around the construction sites at that time. Even before the scheme was completed, they felt disappointment about the shape things were taking: their experience of development was soured by the suspension of their ordinary lives. But it was also soured in this case because of the tremendous irony that their development through the scheme was premised on their displacement from their homes and the dispossession of their property rights. Below I chronologically narrate how this irony unfolded.

The explicit aims of the 2BHK scheme were as follows: ‘[The] Government of Telangana have formulated the double bed room housing scheme in the month of October 2015 with a view to provide dignity to the poor by providing 100% subsidised housing’ (emphasis added).4 A grand promise was further propagated by the chief minister, K. Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR), across many platforms: ‘Nowhere in the country, or the world, is there such a scheme. I can proudly say that we are the number one welfare state’, he said at one event in 2015 (Menon 2015).

The ruling government of the TRS Party had a lot at stake in the success of this scheme. The promise of ‘dignity housing for the poor’ appeared prominently in their election manifesto as early as 2014. This promise dovetailed with the TRS Party's political narrative of Telangana nationalism, which placed the struggles of the region's poor – and particularly the poor in the capital city of Hyderabad – at its moral core. The 2014 TRS election manifesto declared that Hyderabad was built on ‘the blood and sweat of the poor of Telangana’, and it described them as having been ‘waiting for dignity’ for decades. The political narrative of the election manifesto further asserted that now that the new state of Telangana had been formed, the TRS Party, when elected into government, would finally ‘provide them [the poor] with dignity’.5

In 2015, a year after getting elected, the TRS Party indeed inaugurated the promised two-bedroom housing scheme with the slogan of ‘Dignity Housing’. At the outset, the scheme seemed progressive and responsive to popular demands. First, it invoked the language of ‘dignity’, which does in fact capture the affect of people's desire for recognition and respect from the state and further concrete support from the state towards higher standards of living (Holston 2008; Pérez 2022). And second, by constructing two-bedroom units, the Telangana housing scheme was moving past decades of precedent, whereby housing for the poor was a one-bedroom apartment per nuclear family. Unfortunately, after grand proclamations inaugurating the scheme, the actual implementation got off to a terrible start with numerous obstacles on the ground. The primary concern was the unavailability of land, as newspapers reported at the time: ‘The government is struggling to find land for the 2BHK housing scheme for poor in core areas of the city’ (Deccan Chronicle 2016). The period between 2015 and 2016 was a comedy of errors where the TRS government first promised the delivery of one hundred thousand 2BHK units for the poor in Hyderabad and only later realised that the state government did not possess suitable land within the city to construct that many new housing units. At the time, the state government approached other institutions in the city such as the Osmania University and the University of Hyderabad to cede some land but was rapidly pushed back by student and staff protests at both universities. Finally, the comedy ended when the government in its quest for land to provide housing for the poor turned to the poor themselves to cede land that they already securely owned.

The irony of the situation was only heightened by the fact that many of the households whom the government was pressuring into redevelopment starting in 2015–2016 had only received legal titles to their land in 2015. The Telangana government had distributed fifteen thousand land titles to poor households in the city with much fanfare and self-aggrandisement (see Jonnalagadda 2018). Nonetheless, to realise the government's spectacular dreams of providing one hundred thousand housing units, government officers approached the poor to cede their recently acquired land titles and to allow the state to construct apartments for them instead. During this time, one of my key interlocutors – an organiser with the Communist Party of India (Marxist) who commanded an activist network spread out across the city – said to me: ‘People are wondering why should they give up titles to land for an apartment in public housing? But in many places the government is pressuring people, especially by manipulating local leaders who were close to the TRS Party’. He suggested that, owing to their newly consolidated relation with the state through legal titles, some of the newly formalised settlements were particularly susceptible to promises of political patronage from a new and burgeoning political party like the TRS. But he also mentioned that there was pervasive resistance to the government's persuasion in many settlements which have had secure tenure for a longer period (see Jonnalagadda et al. 2021).

For the urban poor in India, connections to political party patrons are crucially instrumental for benefitting from the developmental or welfare agendas of the state (Auerbach 2019; Piliavsky 2014). Although a rich literature has shown that poor communities exercise remarkable political agency in making demands from these political party machines (Auerbach and Thachil 2023), the political parties and the state institutions hold all the power in determining the shape of government schemes, thus enabling this kind of bait-and-switch tactic which can only be contested through collective protest. Collective protests, however, come at a cost that only few communities can truly afford. Hence, by 2016–2017 the government persuaded people at multiple sites to consent to redevelopment. As a result, many in Hyderabad agreed to cede their land titles and holdings for less valuable and useful apartments.

Dozens of slums were demolished across the city, and people were promised that the construction would be completed in eleven months. They were asked to look for temporary rental accommodation in the meantime, for which they were given no compensation. Thus, people relinquished their land, their titles, their neighbourhoods and their communities. And the government's comedy of errors in its pursuit of providing dignity to the poor ended in the tragedy where thousands of poor households were quietly displaced in 2015, 2016 and even into 2017 as the government's persuasion tactics took longer in some places. Thus, even though the state initially seemed to be responding to the powerful language of ‘rights to dignity’ that is emerging from below in Global South cities (Pérez 2022), the design and outcomes of the housing programme took the form of state co-optation, which undermined the popular demands for dignity and instead gave precedence to political spectacle.

Poor fiscal planning, chronic delays, corruption and beneficiary disenchantment have become recurrent features of the model of in situ redevelopment, whereby slums are demolished and redeveloped as vertical apartments at the same site (Doshi 2013; Dupont and Gowda 2020). Most recently, it has been pithily described as ‘dispossession without displacement’ by Carol Upadhya and Deeksha Rao (2022). Although in the case of the 2BHK scheme in Hyderabad, beneficiaries have also been indefinitely, albeit temporarily, displaced. The 2BHK scheme is thus exemplary of a specific regime of dispossession enacted through redevelopment policies, which routinely structures the lives of urban poor communities not just in urban India, but across the urban world as well (see Pasotti 2020).

Michael Levien (2015) has argued that dispossession is not of a singular kind, but rather that there are regimes of dispossession which are historically and contextually specific in terms of the interests they serve. In the development studies literature, we most often encounter dispossession of the poor as enabling the primitive accumulation of land or a regressive redistribution of resources for the benefit of elites (Harvey 2007; Sanyal 2014). However, in the case of in situ slum redevelopment for the urban poor, the spoils of dispossession do not appear to be significant capital gains elsewhere or a regressive redistribution in favour of elites. Although symbolic gains are made by political parties, and small economic gains are made by private contractors, the gross outcomes solely comprise the protracted suffering of poor communities – suffering that is met mostly with indifference from private developers, government officers and neighbouring middle-class communities. Hence, I qualify it as ‘cruel’. This regime of dispossession is more akin to what Ananya Roy (2017) has recently described in the American context as the compounding of dispossession and racial banishment. Although in Hyderabad the racial ground of banishment is less explicit, there is no doubt that the urban poor in India hailing from marginalised caste and religious backgrounds are racialised in practice (Ranganathan 2022), and the politics of slum clearance pursued over decades has often espoused desires for banishment of the poor (Sharan 2014).

The 2BHK scheme is the latest iteration of a situation tragedy of governance in which the poor are cast as actors who can neither reject state support, nor fully attain it. In Berlant's conceptualisation, a situation tragedy is one ‘where people are fated to express their flaws episodically, over and over, without learning, changing, being relieved, becoming better, or dying’ (2011: 176). The explicit scripts of these schemes hail the urban poor into cruel attachments to promises of development that are structurally bound to processes of cruel governance through which they must incur suffering and the loss of time, money and other goods. In the next two sections, I present two episodes of situation tragedy that outline cruel governance in bureaucratic and affective terms, respectively.

Situation Tragedy I: Webs of Bureaucratic Deniability

While visiting various sites where the 2BHK scheme was being implemented in November 2019, I encountered a site in central Hyderabad that I will call ‘XY Colony’. Owing to its central location, XY Colony was meant to be a model site for the 2BHK scheme. Notwithstanding the goal to make it into a model site, however, XY Colony's residents had been displaced since May 2016. On my first two days there, I consistently met Sushila aunty, who worked as a street vendor in the vicinity of the building and served as a provisional watch guard for her community. The site was midway between my home and another field site, so I had decided to regularly stop by the quiet XY Colony site to talk to Sushila aunty. On the third day, I was surprised to find that many of the residents who were then living on rent elsewhere started arriving at the site in streams: auto rickshaws full of women, who gathered in the shade of the construction site with plastic bags full of documents, and trios of men on motorbikes, many of them busy looking at their cell phones. They all walked freely across the site, some of them walking up to site engineers and some of them going to meet the government supervisor whose office was housed in a small makeshift shed.

I stood by Sushila aunty's side as she watched people trickle in and greeted various people. I asked her why all of them were gathering there all together. She told me that rumours had circulated that revenue officials would be visiting the settlement to carry out ‘allotment’. In the course of that afternoon, I asked many people what brought them there. One person said: ‘Someone got a message from the revenue office’. Another said: ‘My friend told me someone got a message from the revenue officer’. Some heard from neighbours and relatives. There were also others who thought it was ‘fake news’, but made the trip nonetheless because ‘who can say for sure?’ No one owned up to actually receiving such a message themselves, but true to the adage that there is no smoke without fire, a group of young men from the local youth association were present at the site, and they were talking to various people and preparing to visit the revenue office (incidentally right across the street) along with a group to see if the officers were indeed going to visit that day. In the meantime, the rest of the residents who had gathered at the construction site, about twenty of them, sat in the shade of the building and waited, and the government supervisors and contractors who oversee the inaction on site went about their daily inactions.

As we waited, I wove through the gathered people and had a striking sequence of conversations with different individuals present there. Each conversation was with an actor at a different position in the network and hierarchy of the housing scheme, ranging from the waiting beneficiary to the local supervising officer. Each conversation revealed the delayed accountability of a different actor. Here is the sequence of conversations I had:

First, there was Sushila aunty, a waiting beneficiary of the housing scheme, the woman who I had been meeting with over the past two days:

We have been waiting for three years! If the work goes on till May next year [2020], it will be four years. There has been no construction work for the last three months. The leaders are saying that they will complete the work three months from now, but I don't know whether that will happen or not. The government is really bothering and irritating the people. The contractors are saying even their bills are not getting paid. When will this end? When will they stop irritating people? People have died in waiting hear. There have been many deaths. Even our erstwhile leader has died in waiting.

Next consider, Siva Ram, son of the dead leader Sushila aunty mentioned, another beneficiary under the scheme waiting for the construction to be completed:

No, look, the work is happening. Luckily, the private construction contractor is a good man. He is putting his own money into keeping the work going. The problem is that the government is not paying the contractors their dues [bills]. What can the contractor do in this situation? What's the point in us putting pressure on the contractor? We'll prevent them from even doing the little bit of work that's taking place.

Then there was the site engineer, who worked for the private contractor: ‘The work has slowed down because the government is not paying our bills’. I asked him: Why is the contractor putting in his own money? He responded:

Well, suppose we stop the work altogether, what if tomorrow the government refuses to pay us at all, claiming it is a breach of contract? What if they make us a scapegoat for the delays? So we have to keep up the appearance of work.

I also spoke to the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) site supervisor, who was affronted that I had walked into her office, probably because she was nervous about all the people gathering there. She yelled at me in response to my questions, saying: ‘We [the municipal corporation] are only in charge of construction; we do not distribute the funds. What can we do if the Revenue Department doesn't give us the money?’ The day's assembly ended with some young male leaders returning on their motorbikes from the revenue office and announcing to the waiting crowd: ‘The revenue officers will come on Friday morning at 10 am. Come back then. Nothing will happen right now’. Many of the women were upset by this news. They had left kids behind, lost a day of work and travelled a long distance. The crowd then started to disperse.

But to complete the sequence, I need to move away from the scene at XY Colony and go to the revenue office across the road, where I went myself after the events I just described. I asked the Deputy Officer what they intended to do on Friday. He said:

The government is applying for additional funds from the central government. For that, we need to conduct a resurvey, but it's not today. I don't know why people have come here today. We can't do anything until the central government sanctions the funds.

So the state government itself claimed to be waiting for the central government to approve the funds it had requested. To appeal to the central government, they needed to provide ‘clean data’ about the beneficiaries, so they started conducting resurveys in some other sites on that day, but the rumours reached XY Colony residents, who gathered out of turn just in case they missed out on getting counted.

And finally, consider Ravi, a tenant of fifteen years who was simply excluded from the list of beneficiaries because he was a tenant. Yet he waits around at the site nonetheless because he has a promise from another beneficiary that he can continue to rent their flat at a subsidised rate. It is worth noting that Ravi, although wholly excluded here, is the actual houseless and BPL beneficiary the government had set out to provide dignity to.

In the above sequence, the beneficiaries are waiting for construction to complete, the contractors in charge of construction are waiting for money from the municipal corporation to procure materials and pay workers, the municipal officers are waiting for fund sanctions from the revenue office, the revenue office is waiting on the state government to approve the sanction and the state government is waiting on the central government to top up their dwindling coffers.

Each conversation revealed suspended accountability, but taking the sequence as a whole punctures the narrative of accountability altogether. Taken as a whole, what emerges are the bureaucratic processes of producing deniability in government. Delay is not just a local tactic employed at the interface between ordinary people and local bureaucracies; rather, welfare schemes seem embedded in inter-locked durations of delay and denial. These inter-locked durations are composed of bureaucratic apathy at the grassroots level, but they are produced by a wider political economy of development through politicised spectacles such as the 2BHK scheme. This is further aggravated by deep-rooted cynicism about development in the very agencies that carry out its implementation (see Aiyar 2022). Thus, a deep gap emerges between the poor subject who has been responsibilised for their own welfare and development, on the one hand, and a cynical and apathetic apparatus of governance, on the other hand, which is mobilised to deliver abstract goods like transparency and efficiency prescribed by global policy hegemony, rather than basic services and everyday welfare. In this gap, situation tragedies proliferate.

Situation Tragedy II: Measuring Unaccounted Time

A common concern binds all the people across the city who were waiting for 2BHK apartments around late 2019; even after all the delays, there were still no decisive signs that the work was getting completed. While promises of a January 2020 deadline had begun to circulate in places like XY Colony, the residents were sceptical about that possibility. Across the sites I visited, I noticed that people told the same stories, used the same tropes and articulated strikingly similar narratives about their relationship to the government through waiting. In this section, I move from XY Colony to a different settlement that I will call ‘AB Nagar’.6

Temporarily displaced due to the in situ construction, residents of AB Nagar were paying anywhere between ₹5,000 and ₹12,000 a month on rental housing at varying distances from their homes. They had taken on the rental cost themselves with no support from the government, although such support would have been in line with best practices in housing policy. By back-of-the-envelope calculations that were frequently cited by people I met, they had now spent anywhere between ₹200,000 and ₹400,000 on alternative housing. Apart from these basic costs, they also had to deal with the pressures of moving. Many residents complained about the vagaries of the informal rental market, such as the difficulties of finding a suitable place; arbitrary restrictions placed by owners such as the restriction on performing last rites for the dead; having to negotiate extension of tenure; and finding another rental accommodation considering the indeterminate timeline of the housing scheme. Further, they had lost a cohesive community that had grown organically in place for over thirty years. This attachment to the place also explains the constant draw for people who periodically travelled to the site to check on the construction. Gathering there, even in small numbers, reincorporates their community at the specific site and ensures their collective claim to the place.

Measures of unaccounted time and loss appeal both to the economistic imagination of neoliberal governance (Murphy 2017) and call out the moral repugnance of dispossessing already marginalised communities by appealing to the patrimonialism of the state.7 Narrativising and accounting for waiting using the tropes of unaccounted time allowed waiting beneficiaries to shift the ground away from the structure of deniability described above to one where the stakes were undeniable, where a responsive action by the government was necessitated.

At AB Nagar, I was walking around with some young men who were visiting the site. As a ritual, they walked around the site to inspect it for physical damage, of which they found plenty of examples in the form of cracks, subpar construction materials, etc. One of them expressed concern about the quality of the construction: ‘Our houses would have lasted another twenty to thirty years as they were. Will this building last even ten years? And what happens when it is uninhabitable?’ The concern was not unfounded. As I walked around the site with Sriram in AB Nagar, but also with other waiting beneficiaries at other incomplete sites, they took me on a tour of all the places where the unfinished building was already cracking and wearing out. They pointed to the extremely low-grade sand being used in the cement, sand that looked like a fine grey dust, and also shared their suspicions that the real sand commissioned for the construction had been siphoned off and sold for a profit on the black market.8 Their history of rights over the place was motivation for residents to be actively engaged in keeping up with site engineers from the GHMC and the contractor, and they were not averse to going to government offices as a collective when they were unhappy with the work.

People returned to the site and registered their unaccounted time and demanded accountability from the locally available actors. Partly, they returned out of anxiety. They wanted to make sure the work was continuing and that no changes took place unbeknownst to them due to political manoeuvring. They were also growing restless. As the wait extended, they only had the tropes of displacement and death to induce the government into action, but they did not actually have that promised object, dignity.

People's descriptions of their ongoing struggle were always framed in terms of unaccounted loss. Loss of place and community, loss of property and security, loss of money on rent and frequent commutes to the site, loss of time and mental peace in worry, and, most importantly, loss of life itself. Every site I visited and every waiting beneficiary I met referred to the deaths of persons unaccounted for in the policy matrix and in the fiscal games of cruel governance.

In all these conversations, I always thought of death as a trope in a narrative until I was faced with it. In AB Nagar, in December 2019, I was interviewing the local leader Sriram when a young woman with a baby girl approached us and wanted to speak to him. He turned to her and asked how he could help. She said: ‘My husband died in his sleep’. I turned off my recorder and let this fact sink in: a woman and child who had just suffered a huge loss travelled to be at the construction site so as to seek an audience with their community leader. Sriram talked to her at some length, offering some comforting words but mostly instructing her on the bureaucratic procedures of seeking welfare from the state as a widow. When he finally started talking to me again, he said:

This is the twenty-fifth person. Twenty-five people have died among our members. This has been going on for that long. Take this family who have come from Medchal [twenty-eight kilometres away from AB Nagar]. Her husband died just two days ago. They are living on rent elsewhere, so they aren't permitted to perform last rites there.

This brief example captures all the motifs of how dispossession is accounted for at the 2BHK sites: displacement, dispossession and death. Across all these scenes of situation tragedy, waiting emerges as a measure of dispossession (Henry 2022 and Povinelli 2011) that is experienced by my interlocutors in the crosshairs of bureaucratic structures of deniability beyond their control. Through a combination of individual documentation and collective mobilisation, they not only make moral claims on governmentality (Chatterjee 2004), they also politicise the gap between neoliberal governmentality and cruel governance. Each of these is a matter of fact in the lives of waiting families with unrepresentable affective tolls on their lives, but they are reduced to a narrative trope, because it is only their narrativisation that makes it a matter of concern for the government, which at best means inviting intervention from the very same structures of cruel governance.

Witnessing Waiting and Concluding Remarks:

In AB Nagar, people's frustration, their disenchantment and their affective turmoil register their experience of domination and subordination. Notwithstanding the apathy of others in the governance structure, people keep accounts of the forms of suffering that they incur. Thus Sriram, in our first meeting, meticulously walked me through his entire dossier of documents, filling in other affective details with photographs and site visits over subsequent days. At the end of my first visit to AB Nagar, as Sriram placed all the reems of documents back into their plastic bag, he politely insisted that I accompany him as he went to meet the site engineer in his office in the adjacent building. I agreed without hesitation, and we ended up sitting across from the desk of the site engineer.

As the leader of the community, Sriram did not perform any supplication to the contractors and officers, and instead did his best to establish himself as the authority in the room. He introduced me to the site engineer, and pointedly mentioned that ‘this researcher has heard everything about this colony, and has seen all the relevant documents, and now he has some questions for you’. I was not really prepared to ask any questions, but I was clearly being interpellated into Sriram's tactic of applying pressure on the contractor. I asked the most obvious questions about the reasons for the delays, the contractors’ perspectives and the government's funding crunch. The site engineer responded to each question evasively, vaguely insinuating that the problems of the scheme were common knowledge. He said that they were being broadcast on TV daily such that every child in the city was well aware of the facts. At this point, Sriram jumped into the conversation:

Sriram: Does the government ever ask you when the work will get done?

Site engineer: I'm not into social service. I don't lose sleep over these questions. It's the government's fault. They should have figured out the budget before sanctioning all these projects.

Sriram: Come on, don't tell me you builders didn't know that's how the government works? Okay, so right now there is a budget crunch, but why have there been delays until now? How much of that money did your contractor eat up?

[The engineer was taken aback, then grinned, but did not respond to the question directly.]

Site engineer: Well, give us the funds now, and we will do it. What more can I say?

Sriram chuckled wryly. After some more awkward chitchat, he and I got up to leave. But Sriram had one more request. He asked that a photograph be taken with his phone of me and him and the site engineer holding the documents. The site engineer tried to protest; he said he was busy. But Sriram said: ‘Why not? Didn't you say it's all public and [that] every child knows the story anyway?’ And the engineer sheepishly participated in the photograph alongside me. I was left marvelling at Sriram's political manoeuvring. This photograph circulated across Sriram's WhatsApp contacts, which probably included other political entrepreneurs and activists like himself.9 Sriram had very subtly subverted the plot of ‘waiting for dignity housing’ by producing a scene where I and the site engineer were compelled to witness – and to be photographed as witnesses of – the situation tragedy.

I as an ethnographer had been entered into Sriram's records and file of documents. I had also newly become part of his network of WhatsApp contacts who got regular updates in text and images of the unfolding situation tragedy at AB Nagar. It is moments like these that also subvert the plot of anthropology, that reconfigure the expected relations between ethnographer and interlocutor, and place the ethnographer squarely at the heart of processes of political contestation. In this way, ethnography witnesses and participates in political life. Not only through its later inscription as text or theory, but also primarily through embodied participation in ongoing situations, which is what Deborah Thomas describes as the ‘psychic and socio-political dynamics in which we are complicit’ (2019: 3).

In conclusion, I briefly return to the governmental discourse. The following is a quote from a letter from the Ministry of Urban Development to the Telangana State Films Division. The government wanted to commission a documentary film to celebrate the 2BHK housing scheme as a successful achievement, and it described the 2BHK scheme, two years into its chronic delay, as follows:

The Govt of Telangana is emerging and paving its way towards social status to all the homeless BPL families and has taken initiative for their overall integrated and sustainable development in all indicators and successfully, highly motivate, participative with a conceptual design and constructing 2,80,616 double bedroom houses in 31 districts in the State … (sic.)

In its actual implementation, the scheme was achieving the opposite of paving the way towards social status. However, it produced an interval where the ground between state and citizen could be reconfigured. For example, Sriram not only took responsibility for holding the government accountable on behalf of the displaced residents, but he also looked out for the construction workers and subcontractors who were left in the lurch of the funding crunch. Sriram organised free meals and distribution of essential goods with support from opposition parties to these subcontractors and unpaid workers to performatively gain the higher moral ground vis-à-vis the government. Photographs of Sriram providing food to the construction workers contracted for government work circulated amongst all his WhatsApp and Facebook contacts.

In general, waiting engenders new affective alignments of subordinated citizens towards the state. On the one hand, waiting families articulate their experience of the gap between the form and the substance of ‘the right to housing’ by documenting the cost of waiting in terms of money spent on rent, the emotional distress of displacement, and strikingly the deaths of waiting beneficiaries. The time spent in waiting becomes a flashpoint where ordinary residents experience the dissonance between legal rhetoric about possessing abstract ‘rights’ and the concrete reality of possessing property. Waiting also disenchants the poor from the grand sovereign dreams of progress and development, and it makes them increasingly cynical in their interactions with the machinery of state-led development. While the inevitable waiting for any particular scheme or benefit might be productive in terms of aspirations and political mobilisations amongst subordinated citizens, the chronic and inescapable structure of cruel governance wears away at people's hopes and solidarities.

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Syantani Chatterjee, Luciana Chamorro and Fernando Montero for the inspiration to think deeply about delay and deferral. I am grateful to the anonymous reviewers and the journal editors, as well as to Nikhil Anand, Lisa Mitchell and Deborah Thomas for their beneficial suggestions on an advanced draft of the article. Many thanks also go to Asif Agha, Aliyah Bixby-Driesen, Xiao Ke, Ferhan Tunagur and Rebecca Winkler for formative feedback on an earlier draft of this article, which was also enriched by comments I received at a Columbia Heyman Center Symposium in April 2021 from Maria José de Abreu and by comments I received at an AAA 2022 panel from Keith Murphy and Miguel Pérez. Lastly, I thank Sneha Annavarapu, Ishani Dasgupta, Amber Henry and Larissa Johnson for generously sharing with me their insights on time and dispossession. This research was supported by Hyderabad Urban Lab, the American Institute of Indian Studies and the Wenner-Gren Foundation.

Notes

1

2BHK stands for ‘two bedrooms, hall (living room) and kitchen’. It is an apartment model that is considered to be emblematic of an urban middle-class lifestyle. The mobilisation of 2BHK apartments as an emblem of dignity and development is a telling sign of the middle-class aesthetics (Kopper 2019) pervading the governmental discourses of development.

2

This aggressive push for slum redevelopment despite slum households having relatively secure tenure and decent quality housing is driven by a ‘slum-free city’ agenda, which has practically been the motto of urban housing policy since the 1990s (Dupont and Gowda 2020).

3

I anonymise the names of the sites because they are communities with relatively small populations and the pseudonyms of persons would lose efficacy if connected to an actual place name.

4

‘About Us: 2BHK Housing, Government of Telangana’ (accessed 21 October 2019).

5

‘TRS Party Election Manifesto’, 2014. It is reprinted in a pamphlet entitled ‘Right to Housing’ produced by the Montfort Social Institute, Hyderabad, in June 2014.

6

The process of redevelopment at AB Nagar has been even more contentious than others, owing to its prime location in Hyderabad. The residents of AB Nagar were deeply anxious to give in to the persuasions of the government to undertake redevelopment, because they did not believe that the government would actually resettle them in situ; rather, they thought the government would resettle them elsewhere by some sleight and that the latter would keep the prime land for itself.

7

I am grateful to Larissa Johnson's (2021) powerful multimodal work bringing together questions of dispossession and temporality.

8

For accounts of how corruption narratives dovetail out of structural violence, see Doshi and Ranganathan (2017).

9

On political entrepreneurs in slum settlements, see Auerbach (2019) and Jonnalagadda (2022).

References

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  • Doshi, S. and M. Ranganathan. 2017. ‘Contesting the Unethical City: Land Dispossession and Corruption Narratives in Urban India’. Annals of the American Association of Geographers 107 (1): 18399. https://doi.org/10.1080/24694452.2016.1226124

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  • Drèze, J. and A. Sen. 2013. An Uncertain Glory: India and Its Contradictions. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

  • Dupont, V. and M. M. S. Gowda. 2020. ‘Slum-Free City Planning versus Durable Slums: Insights from Delhi, India’. International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development 12 (1): 3451. https://doi.org/10.1080/19463138.2019.1666850.

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  • Fox, E.. 2019. ‘Anticipating Relations: Beyond Reciprocity and Obligation in the Ger Districts of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’. Cambridge Journal of Anthropology 37 (1): 32–46. https://doi.org/10.3167/cja.2019.370104.

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  • Haas, B. M. 2017. ‘Citizens-in-Waiting, Deportees-in-Waiting: Power, Temporality, and Suffering in the US Asylum System’. Ethos 45 (1): 7597. https://doi.org/10.1111/etho.1215.

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  • Harvey, D. 2007. A Brief History of Neoliberalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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  • Holston, J. 2008. Insurgent Citizenship: Disjunctions of Democracy and Modernity in Brazil. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

  • Jeffrey, C. 2010. Timepass: Youth, Class, and the Politics of Waiting in India. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

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  • Jonnalagadda, I. 2018. ‘Citizenship as a Communicative Effect’. Signs and Society 6 (3): 531557. https://doi.org/10.1086/699539.

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    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jonnalagadda, I., R. Stock and K. Misquitta. 2021. ‘Titling as a Contested Process: Conditional Land Rights and Subaltern Citizenship in South India’. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 45 (3): 458476. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-2427.13002.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kopper, M. 2019. ‘Porous Infrastructures and the Politics of Upward Mobility in Brazil's Public Housing’. Economic Anthropology 6 (1): 7385. https://doi.org/10.1002/sea2.12132.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Levien, M. 2015. ‘From Primitive Accumulation to Regimes of Dispossession: Six Theses on India's Land Question’. Economic & Political Weekly 50 (22): 146157. https://www.epw.in/journal/2015/22/special-articles/primitive-accumulation-regimes-dispossession.html.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mathur, N. 2016. Paper Tiger: Law, Bureaucracy and the Developmental State in Himalayan India. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Menon, A. K. 2015. ‘KCR Keeps His Promise to Build 2BHK Homes for the Poor’. India Today, 5 June. https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/k-chandrasekhara-rao-kcr-free-homes-for-the-poor-in-telagana-255872-2015-06-05.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Murphy, M. 2017. The Economization of Life. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

  • Pasotti, E. 2020. Resisting Redevelopment: Protest in Aspiring Global Cities. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Pérez, M. 2022. The Right to Dignity: Housing Struggles, City Making, and Citizenship in Urban Chile. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Piliavsky, A. (ed.) 2014. Patronage as Politics in South Asia. New Delhi: Cambridge University Press.

  • Povinelli, E. A. 2011. Economies of Abandonment: Social Belonging and Endurance in Late Liberalism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

  • Ranganathan, M. 2022. ‘Caste, Racialization, and the Making of Environmental Unfreedoms in Urban India’. Ethnic and Racial Studies 45 (2): 257277. https://doi.org/10.1080/01419870.2021.1933121.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Roy, A. 2017. ‘Dis/Possessive Collectivism: Property and Personhood at City's End’. Geoforum 80 (March): A1–11. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2016.12.012.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sanyal, K. 2014. Rethinking Capitalist Development: Primitive Accumulation, Governmentality and Post-Colonial Capitalism. New Delhi: Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sharan, A. 2014. In the City, Out of Place: Nuisance, Pollution, and Dwelling in Delhi. c. 1850–2000. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Simone, A. 2020. ‘To Extend: Temporariness in a World of Itineraries’. Urban Studies 57 (6): 11271142. https://doi.org/10.1177/0042098020905442.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
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  • Upadhya, C. and D. M. Rao. 2022. ‘Dispossession without Displacement: Producing Property through Slum Redevelopment in Bengaluru, India’. Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space. February. https://doi.org/10.1177/0308518X221073988.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Yoltar, Ç. 2020. ‘Making the Indebted Citizen: An Inquiry into State Benevolence in Turkey’. PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review 43 (1): 153171. https://doi.org/10.1111/plar.12347.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

Contributor Notes

Indivar Jonnalagadda is a Doctoral Candidate in Anthropology and South Asia Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. His current research focusses on the intersecting politics of property and citizenship in the slum settlements of Hyderabad, India. His research findings have been published in Urban Studies, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, City and Economic & Political Weekly. Email: indivarj@gmail.com

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  • Figure 1.

    Incomplete 2BHK complex in the lower Tank Bund area, Hyderabad, November 2019. Photo courtesy of the author.

  • Figure 2.

    Incomplete 2BHK apartment buildings at a site near Old City. Photo courtesy of the author.

  • Aiyar, Y. 2022. ‘Apathy, Cynicism of Babus Hurt Welfare’. Hindustan Times, 23 February. https://www.hindustantimes.com/opinion/apathy-cynicism-of-babus-hurt-welfare-101645628090769.html.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Anand, N. 2017. Hydraulic City: Water and the Infrastructures of Citizenship in Mumbai. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

  • Annavarapu, S. 2022. ‘The Weight of Waiting: Suspended Mobility and Deferred Aspirations amongst Cab Drivers in Hyderabad’. Social Change 52 (2): 187202. https://doi.org/10.1177/00490857221096646.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Auerbach, A. 2019. Demanding Development: The Politics of Public Goods Provision in India's Urban Slums. New York: Cambridge University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Auerbach, A. and T. Thachil. 2023. Migrants and Machine Politics: How India's Urban Poor Seek Representation and Responsiveness. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Auyero, J. 2012. Patients of the State: The Politics of Waiting in Argentina. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

  • Bear, L. 2016. ‘Time as Technique’. Annual Review of Anthropology 45 (1): 487502. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-anthro-102313-030159.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bear, L. and N. Mathur. 2015. ‘Introduction: Remaking the Public Good’. Cambridge Journal of Anthropology 33 (1): 1834. https://doi.org/10.3167/ca.2015.330103.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Berlant, L. 2011. Cruel Optimism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

  • Biehl, K. S. 2015. ‘Governing through Uncertainty: Experiences of Being a Refugee in Turkey as a Country for Temporary Asylum’. Social Analysis 59 (1): 5775. https://doi.org/10.3167/sa.2015.590104.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Björkman, L. 2020. Waiting Town: Life in Transit and Mumbai's Other World-Class Histories. Ann Arbor, MI: Association for Asian Studies.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Chatterjee, P. 2004. The Politics of the Governed: Reflections on Popular Politics in Most of the World. New York: Columbia University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Davis, M. 2006. Planet of Slums. New York: Verso.

  • Deccan Chronicle. 2016. ‘Hyderabad: Houses for Poor in Jubilee Hills’. Deccan Chronicle, March 30. https://www.deccanchronicle.com/nation/current-affairs/300316/hyderabad-houses-for-poor-in-jubilee-hills.html.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Doshi, S. 2013. ‘The Politics of the Evicted: Redevelopment, Subjectivity, and Difference in Mumbai's Slum Frontier’. Antipode 45 (4): 844865. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8330.2012.01023.x.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Doshi, S. and M. Ranganathan. 2017. ‘Contesting the Unethical City: Land Dispossession and Corruption Narratives in Urban India’. Annals of the American Association of Geographers 107 (1): 18399. https://doi.org/10.1080/24694452.2016.1226124

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Drèze, J. and A. Sen. 2013. An Uncertain Glory: India and Its Contradictions. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

  • Dupont, V. and M. M. S. Gowda. 2020. ‘Slum-Free City Planning versus Durable Slums: Insights from Delhi, India’. International Journal of Urban Sustainable Development 12 (1): 3451. https://doi.org/10.1080/19463138.2019.1666850.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Fox, E.. 2019. ‘Anticipating Relations: Beyond Reciprocity and Obligation in the Ger Districts of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’. Cambridge Journal of Anthropology 37 (1): 32–46. https://doi.org/10.3167/cja.2019.370104.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Göral, Ö. S. 2021. ‘Waiting for the Disappeared: Waiting as a Form of Resilience and the Limits of Legal Space in Turkey’. Social Anthropology/Anthropologie Sociale 29 (3): 800815. https://doi.org/10.1111/1469-8676.13096.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Haas, B. M. 2017. ‘Citizens-in-Waiting, Deportees-in-Waiting: Power, Temporality, and Suffering in the US Asylum System’. Ethos 45 (1): 7597. https://doi.org/10.1111/etho.1215.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Harvey, D. 2007. A Brief History of Neoliberalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Henry, A. 2022. ‘(In)Alienable Bodies: Palenquera Women and Negotiations of Embodied Sovereignty in the Colombian Caribbean’. PhD Diss., University of Pennsylvania.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Holston, J. 2008. Insurgent Citizenship: Disjunctions of Democracy and Modernity in Brazil. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

  • Jeffrey, C. 2010. Timepass: Youth, Class, and the Politics of Waiting in India. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

  • Johnson, L. 2021. ‘On Dispossessed Time and Its Suspension’. Arts of Noticing, Thinking with Doing: A Penn Program in Environmental Humanities Field Notes Series (blog). June 9. https://ppeh.sas.upenn.edu/field-notes/dispossessed-time-and-its-suspension.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jonnalagadda, I. 2018. ‘Citizenship as a Communicative Effect’. Signs and Society 6 (3): 531557. https://doi.org/10.1086/699539.

  • Jonnalagadda, I. 2022. ‘Of Political Entrepreneurs: Assembling Community and Social Capital in Hyderabad's Informal Settlements’. Urban Studies 59 (4): 71733. https://doi.org/10.1177/00420980211014120

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jonnalagadda, I., R. Stock and K. Misquitta. 2021. ‘Titling as a Contested Process: Conditional Land Rights and Subaltern Citizenship in South India’. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 45 (3): 458476. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-2427.13002.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kopper, M. 2019. ‘Porous Infrastructures and the Politics of Upward Mobility in Brazil's Public Housing’. Economic Anthropology 6 (1): 7385. https://doi.org/10.1002/sea2.12132.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Levien, M. 2015. ‘From Primitive Accumulation to Regimes of Dispossession: Six Theses on India's Land Question’. Economic & Political Weekly 50 (22): 146157. https://www.epw.in/journal/2015/22/special-articles/primitive-accumulation-regimes-dispossession.html.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mathur, N. 2016. Paper Tiger: Law, Bureaucracy and the Developmental State in Himalayan India. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Menon, A. K. 2015. ‘KCR Keeps His Promise to Build 2BHK Homes for the Poor’. India Today, 5 June. https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/k-chandrasekhara-rao-kcr-free-homes-for-the-poor-in-telagana-255872-2015-06-05.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Murphy, M. 2017. The Economization of Life. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

  • Pasotti, E. 2020. Resisting Redevelopment: Protest in Aspiring Global Cities. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Pérez, M. 2022. The Right to Dignity: Housing Struggles, City Making, and Citizenship in Urban Chile. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Piliavsky, A. (ed.) 2014. Patronage as Politics in South Asia. New Delhi: Cambridge University Press.

  • Povinelli, E. A. 2011. Economies of Abandonment: Social Belonging and Endurance in Late Liberalism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

  • Ranganathan, M. 2022. ‘Caste, Racialization, and the Making of Environmental Unfreedoms in Urban India’. Ethnic and Racial Studies 45 (2): 257277. https://doi.org/10.1080/01419870.2021.1933121.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Roy, A. 2017. ‘Dis/Possessive Collectivism: Property and Personhood at City's End’. Geoforum 80 (March): A1–11. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2016.12.012.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sanyal, K. 2014. Rethinking Capitalist Development: Primitive Accumulation, Governmentality and Post-Colonial Capitalism. New Delhi: Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sharan, A. 2014. In the City, Out of Place: Nuisance, Pollution, and Dwelling in Delhi. c. 1850–2000. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Simone, A. 2020. ‘To Extend: Temporariness in a World of Itineraries’. Urban Studies 57 (6): 11271142. https://doi.org/10.1177/0042098020905442.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Thomas, D. A. 2019. Political Life in the Wake of the Plantation: Sovereignty, Witnessing, Repair. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

  • Upadhya, C. and D. M. Rao. 2022. ‘Dispossession without Displacement: Producing Property through Slum Redevelopment in Bengaluru, India’. Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space. February. https://doi.org/10.1177/0308518X221073988.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Yoltar, Ç. 2020. ‘Making the Indebted Citizen: An Inquiry into State Benevolence in Turkey’. PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review 43 (1): 153171. https://doi.org/10.1111/plar.12347.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

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