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Mehta maximum city

Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found


Vintage Books, New York



This vivid portrait of Bombay is part ethnographic study and part memoir. Mehta, a journalist and fiction writer, describes a city animated by endless transactions and exchanges, where privacy is in short supply and people make their livelihoods in innumerable, often surprising ways. Bombay’s many subcultures are explored in detailed profiles of, among others, a policeman famous for his interrogations of gang members, a dancer at a ladies’ bar, and a Hindu fundamentalist who took part in the anti-Muslim riots of 1992–93. A discussion of government planning projects, the Bombay Rent Act and its fraught relationship to private property, as well as the city’s attempts to reinvent itself through redrawing maps and renaming streets establishes the complex landscape of these personal narratives.

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