ABSTRACT

The chapter presents a picture of the structurally marginal position of the poor within a city which has itself been structurally marginalised to development processes in the region. The city of Amritsar occupies a unique position within the histories of Punjab and India. At the time of the annexation of Punjab by the British in 1849 Amritsar was the largest city in Punjab. Due to colonial policies, however, Lahore soon became the largest town in the region. The demise of Amritsar as a commercial and manufacturing centre effected the poor with regard to income-generating options. The contemporary statistics on Amritsar reveal that it is not a city exhibiting rapid industrialisation or expansion. The city of Amritsar has historically been a place where different religious communities have coexisted. The region of Punjab had, prior to partition, represented a diverse cultural, literary and religious agglomeration.