Mapping the Spatial Dynamics of Insurgency: The case of Gurjar Agitation in Rajasthan

Author: Daksh Jain | Krvia – Post Graduate Program | 2020

Insurgency can be understood as revolt or protest against the state or authority following a period of suppression. Insurgent movements are a result of failure of state to provide an inclusive environment of growth and development. It manifests in urban centers creating deep cleavages in spatial form on the basis of socio-economic factors and transformation in urban fabric of the city.

The Gurjar agitation in Rajasthan dates back to 1980. The Gurjars have been demanding reservation under ST category. However their demand has not been granted by subsequent governments. It was in 2008 that the movement took a violent mode. The demand for reservation, low social rank, and economic backwardness have been attributed as the main reasons for agitation. However what remains undiscovered is the fact that what the spatial nuances that fueled the insurgent movement were.

The spatial segregation and discrimination of caste is a product of inequitable planning and existing social biases that fuels insurgency in urban setting. The urban fabric is a result of its geography, political representation, land acquisition, allocation of resources, and socio-cultural biases.

The issue of inequitable planning and representation at city level can be addressed by altering the planning process and giving a spatial reserve accommodation as time dependable solution. Providing zones of social interest in various sectors, and formation of collectives may help in better representation of caste at the level of governance, planning and budgeting.

The different caste territories survive through association, negotiation and conflicts in common spaces & public nodes. The various linkages are established between these territories based on clustering, provision of amenities, occupation and industry, built form reacts to these territorial differences, edge conditions change, urban tissue is morphed and activity pattern is either spatially enforced or altered.

It questions accessibility, permeability, and mobility of caste at built – open, urban commons, public utilities and enforced use of space based on time and activity.

Urban design is considered as a polity towards these issues. The urban inserts act as a catalyst to bring the change in spatial discrimination by establishing dialogue. However, the limitation lies in the fact that caste is a subjective matter. Urban design may address the spatial dimension but sets the limitation as it can’t alter the behavioral pattern and inherent caste bias amongst people. The symbiosis of radical planning, representation and small urban inserts that allows accessibility and inclusivity can initiate the social integration process.

Text & Image Credit: Daksh Jain | Krvia – Post Graduate Program | Urban Design

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