Social Scientist. v 11, no. 119 (April 1983) p. 37.


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ABANTI KUNDU^

Urbanisation in India A Contrast with Western Experience

MANY attempts have been made to study industrialisation and urbanisation, their relationship and interdependence and their role as instruments of further development and growth. Unfortunately none of these attempts have gone beyond a few highly generalised deductions, based mostly on the models developed in the West. The Western models of economic growth assign utmost importance to economic development as a concomitant phenomenon to the process of urbanisation,1 This assumption has been reflected in many contemporary writings concerning economic growth. For instance, Sjoberg says that "economic development, it seems clear, demands expansion of the urban growth".2 Berry echoes Sjoberg claiming that "economic advancement is related to urbanization and that increasing specialization and continued urban growth go hand in hand".3

Such generalisations could not be avoided because the deductions were based on mere observations of industrial and urban phenomena of developed Western countries and not on any detailed analysis of the forces at play in different situations and that too without considering the factor of time. To differentiate between the context of urbanisation in the developed Western countries and that of developing countries Berry argued that the former were already economically advanced compared to the rest of the world at the time of their attaining modern economic growth, while the developing countries remain economically worse off than the developed West during the present time.4 The process of urbanisation of the Western world during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was facilitated by freer trade policies, freer opportunities for international movements of population and lesser political and economic barriers than in the world of today. In this context, Berry also pointed out the asymmetry of investment and saving patterns between the two worlds.5

With such fundamental contrasts existing between the economic and political itstitutions of the developed West and the developing Third World, it is not rational to equate the experiences of

^Fellow in Geography m (he Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta.



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