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Tarini Bedi

Mar 2, 2022

Mumbai Taximen

Autobiographies and Automobilities in India

University of Washington Press 2022

In Mumbai Taximen: Autobiographies and Automobilities in India (University of Washington Press, 2022), the first book-length study of Mumbai's taxi industry and of the livelihoods that surround it, Tarini Bedi draws from the lives and voices of chillia taxi drivers who have sustained a hereditary trade for more than a century. Bedi considers the Bombay taxi in all its forms: a material object that is driven, an economic and political connection, an expression of kinship, an embodiment of urban time and technology, and more. She illustrates how the accumulation of capital in this masculinized and mobile trade depends on forms of fixed domestic labor and an ethics of care, and how connections among these factors impact the production and reshaping of working-class personhood and laboring subjects. From beginning to end, the world of Mumbai automobility unfolds through depictions of the sensory, embodied, and political domains of taxi drivers' work. While most understandings of automobility remain tied to Western assumptions, patterns of driving, (sub)urbanization, and engagements with the road, realities in the Global South differ. Mumbai Taximen provides a correction to this imbalance from Mumbai through an timely exploration of South Asian social, material, political, labor, and technological histories and practices of motoring and automobility.

Sneha Annavarapu is Assistant Professor of Urban Studies at Yale-NUS College. To know more about Sneha's work, please visit www.snehanna.com

Bhoomika Joshi is a doctoral student in the department of anthropology at Yale University.

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