South Asia

Organized Panel Session

3 - In Search of Citizens in Citizennagar: Narratives of Death and Displacement in Ahmedabad, Gujarat

Friday, July 6
12:10 PM - 1:40 PM
Location: Casuarina, Lower Ground Floor

In this paper use the concepts of ‘social death’ and ‘zone of abandonment’ to explain what is happening in the lanes of Citizennagar, a resettlement colony that came up in the aftermath of the 2002 Gujarat riots. The lives of the citizens of Citizennagar, a locality on the outskirts of Ahmedabad city, got more complicated given the fact that the regional state officials deny the very idea of resettlement after 2002. Living near Ahmedabad’s garbage dumpsite made them question every day their precarious lives and status in the city. My ethnography of this locality follows the notion that citizenship is not just a status but a process in the lives of the urban poor who construct their identity as citizens through certain moral claims on the state and the immediate political community.


The use of death narratives as a case of a moral claim by the residents of Citizennagar to resettle at that site points to a certain failure of the civil society in Ahmedabad to deal with the repercussions of the 2002 riots. In my ethnography, I have argued that just like civil society, the domain of the political society has largely been unsuccessful in providing a platform for the moral claims of the residents there. The subject of death in Citizennagar provides the basis for their victimhood and the subsequent moral claims on the state and the political community to criticise their displacement. 

Adil Hossain

University of Oxford, United Kingdom

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