Tamed Interventions

  • Jenia MukherjeeEmail author
Part of the Exploring Urban Change in South Asia book series (EUCS)


This chapter exposes readers to the more complex evolution of the urban, comprising tangled interactions between urban-environmental and technical-social dimensions. Applying D’Souza’s concept of “colonial hydrology” to Kolkata, it reveals how urban hydraulic projects were geared towards profits on investments through a series of tamed interventions facilitating the evolution of networked infrastructures that performed parallel functions of trade-transportation and drainage-sewerage-sanitation. Using the perspective of urban political ecology of networked infrastructures to better understand colonial urban environmental history, this chapter explores debates and discussions surrounding various plans and designs relating to canal excavation and marsh reclamation among the different wings of the government, including the Military Board, the Corporation, the Irrigation and Waterways Department, the Public Works Department, and different committees appointed by the government. Consulting administrative and revenue records between the 1770 s and 1920 s, the chapter weaves the complex web of city, nature, and technological history, reflecting on the colonial encounter with nature and native in a volatile, vulnerable, uncertain, “unhygienic,” and “unruly” fluid scape.


Kolkata Canals Bidyadhari Kulti Adi ganga Salt water marshes 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Humanities and Social SciencesIndian Institute of Technology KharagpurKharagpurIndia

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