Calcutta Poor: Elegies on a City Above Pretense

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M.E. Sharpe, 1997 - Social Science - 189 pages
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Calcutta is notorious for its pavement dwellers, street children, and scavengers that have become a portrait of the worst sort of human degradation. In this illuminating critique, Thomas investigates the standard solutions - improved housing, increased job creation, and intervention of social services agencies - only to come to the conclusion that such initiatives have little effect on the inherent nature of the problem of poverty. Based on historical and anthropological findings, and the author's visits to the slums of Calcutta, what becomes clear is that even in the midst of great poverty, there is a nobility of character, a vitality of ethnic and cultural ties, and an energy that bring out inventiveness and ingenuity in the lives of the poor. If Calcutta's poverty is not to be an intractable problem, these internal forces must be awakened to generate solutions. Illustrated with stunning photographs, Thomas's reflections provide new insight into an age-old problem.
 

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Calcutta Poor: Elegies on a City Above Pretense

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What solutions could possibly exist for the horrible poverty suffered by Calcutta's poor? Thomas's (Univ. of California-Berkley) investigation moves beyond the impressionable and grapples with the ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
3
Impressions
9
Black Town and the City of Palaces
15
Bhadralok and the Genteel Poor
25
Refugees and Migrants
35
Slums and Squatters
49
Bustees from Within
62
Improving the Bustees
73
Providing Livelihoods
107
Mobilizing the Community
121
Slum Politics
139
The Intractability of Urban Poverty
151
Notes
165
Bibliography
171
Index
181
Copyright

Caste and Occupational Niches
89

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