Sridipta Ghatak

MArchS
Department of Architecture, Architectural Studies in History, Theory and Criticism of Architecture

Corporate/Nationalism? TISCO and the Making of Infrastructure

In theories of development, public infrastructure has often served as the symbol of state led progress. It is superfluous to say that infrastructure is a contested terrain within which the political economy of development unfolds. However, this thesis argues that it is through this iteration of infrastructure’s intricate ways of creation and functioning that private capital begins to accumulate in post-colonial India.

The project looks at the discourse of industrial development and planning in late and post-colonial India, investigating the manner in which infrastructure appears as a trope not only for state’s validation but also for aggregation of the Indian industrialist class.

The thesis untangles the relationship between private capital and national planning. It highlights the ways in which late colonial strategies negotiated questions of foreign and native enterprise by constructing what would become the largest bridge in 1940s.

The construction history of Howrah Bridge (1943) offers an alternate, albeit subverted history of infrastructure in which the infrastructural object backgrounds the functioning of capital, thus establishing infrastructure as the fulcrum around which to pivot reading the history of state and capital.

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