Source:South Asia Multidisciplinary Academic Journal, Volume 11, p.1-42 [gold OA] (2015)
Lucknow, a city once dominated by Shi’a nawab rulers, is now known for elites’ nostalgia for Islamicate pasts and masses seeking better futures. This special issue builds interdisciplinary dialogue about a city overwhelmingly represented in historical accounts and emplaces Lucknow within recent investigation of urban India in which the city of nawabs is largely absent. Focusing on old city Lucknow where Muslims still demographically predominate, our introduction blends ethnographic exploration of cultural memory with new statistical data on old city’s changing population, socioeconomic ‘backwardness,’ and segregation. We frame Lucknow’s Islamicate old city in contemporary times as a place where north India’s beleaguered Muslim minority negotiates between their remembered cosmopolitan past and a present burdened by structural violence and communal riots – blending (rather than choosing between) modernity and tradition, cosmopolitanism and provinciality, melancholia and aspirations, history and future.