By Howard Spodek

In the twentieth century, Ahmedabad used to be India's "shock city." It was once where the place a number of the nation's most crucial advancements happened first and with the best intensity—from Gandhi's political and hard work organizing, during the development of cloth, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries, to globalization and the sectarian violence that marked the flip of the hot century. occasions that occurred there resonated through the nation, for higher and for worse. Howard Spodek describes the pursuits that swept town, telling their tale throughout the careers of the boys and girls who led them.


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A combination of unresolved legal claims of creditors and laid-off workers plus ecological legislation forbidding further industrial development within city limits prevented its recycling. Later, however, industrial employment rebounded as pharmaceuticals, chemicals, soaps and detergents, diamond polishing, and denim manufacture provided new jobs on new land slightly farther east. 5 million people lived in the eastern industrial part of Ahmedabad, with another 200,000 further out, in the urbanized area beyond the official city limits.

A gregarious and friendly man, Mangaldas enjoyed his postion at the social and economic center of his circle of friends and colleagues. Mangaldas apparently participated actively in the club life that was taking root in Ahmedabad. Ahmedabad housed three important clubs for its professional and business elites, one at Bhadra, one at Khadia, and one in the new northern suburb of Shahibaug. (Ahmedabad’s first cinema hall, the Alexandra, opened in 1912, and by 1921 the city housed six movie theaters.

But Chimanbhai proved to be part of the problem rather than the solution. Further investigation suggested that he was in league with farmers to keep food prices high, that he controlled much of the higher education bureaucracy for his own purposes, and that he bribed, threatened, and cajoled members of the state legislature to support him. Leaders of the Nav Nirman movement now ignited protests against him, which turned violent, especially in Ahmedabad. An official total of 104 people (120 unofficially) were killed.

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