Shanghai, Mumbai and Urban Realities

Peter van der Veer in Mumbai
Highlights from Peter van der Veer's talk in Mumbai on Oct. 4, 2011. (5 min., 11 sec.)

MUMBAI, October 4, 2011 — Urban life in Shanghai and Mumbai is a reflection of social, economic and political policies made by their respective governments.

Peter van der Veer, Director of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity at Göttingen and Tata Chair in Social Sciences at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, made this case at a programme here. He said that the comparison between the cities is valid in that both China and India were at the same stage of development in the 1950s, and the size and population of both cities today are similar. Despite this, he regretted that there was a lack of mutual understanding and interest between the two cities.

Van der Veer elaborated on differences between these two cities. With regard to housing policies, for instance, Shanghai had housing permits which restricted immigration till the 1970s (in line with Stalinist principles) and still has restricted immigration, whereas Mumbai has more unregulated immigration but has its own difficulties in the form or stringent rent control laws.

Regarding corruption, meanwhile, strong ties between party officials and the party hierarchy give rise to a "functional corruption" in Shanghai, whereas Mumbai suffers from "dysfunctional corruption," wherein everyone has to participate in corruption in order to get things done.

Watch the video highlights. above, for more on van der Veer's discussion.

Presented in partnership with Pukar, Studio X Mumbai and the Tata Institute of Social Sciences