Hydraulic City: Water and the Infrastructures of Citizenship in Mumbai
This chapter demonstrates how Muslim settlers in Mumbai are being rendered abject in the city. It focuses on the everyday discriminations with which engineers justify not maintaining and upgrading city water lines in the predominantly Muslim settlement of Premnagar, whose residents previously received pressured piped water. That they no longer do so reveals the reversibility of hydraulic citizenship. Having neither the substantive rights of civil society nor the numbers to mobilize as political society, residents of Premnagar now access other kinds of water to maintain their lives, hydrating their homes with bore wells and other sources of water. Their use of this water not only reveals how urban residents can live in the city despite municipal abjection but also marks how they are seen and treated as not deserving of the city’s resources.