This review considers the subversion of the racial hierarchy in 1920s colonial Saigon in Marguerite Duras’ The Lover as well as the novel’s portrayal of gender dynamics in colonial Indo-China.
Evictions of varying degree and kind continue to progress at low-income settlements such as JJ (Jugi Jhopris) clusters which have been considered illegal, informal, unplanned and illegitimate by various master plans & municipal laws which implies that they possess no legal claim to tenure. What is alarming is the fact that these contemporary evictions have happened in democratic times through democratic processes. Each of these cases have one thing in common: Public Interest Litigation (PIL). The basic housing claims of the Bastis residents have been wiped out by the courts, who saw them as a burden to the planned city’s structure. These evictions remind us that balance is critical and through these reflections I hope this will encourage us to think more deeply about the necessity for fresh & innovative approaches and claims under the changing governmental landscape. We need to plan a “pro poor city”. We have to work with the city the way our city is, not the way we wish it was. The courts need to broaden their social understanding, realising that the workers who have built the city have a right to the city and that this right has to be protected and strengthened.