The promise and pitfalls of urbanization in India
The urbanization that has taken place is skewed and cannot be a healthy long-term model
The eye has never seen a place like it," wrote Persian ambassador Abdur Razzak of Vijayanagara, capital of the Vijayanagara empire, “and the ear was never informed that there existed anything to equal it in the world." He was writing in 1443, during the long summer of the empire. Other visitors would praise the city’s wealth and prosperity in later years; Domingo Paes, a Portuguese traveller, compared it favourably to the Italian city-states in 1520. A high compliment indeed—the latter, at the height of the Renaissance, were global centres of wealth, commerce and culture. Sailing east along the Mediterranean coast would have brought a traveller like Paes to one of their few rivals, Constantinople (now Istanbul)—in its time the richest and largest city in Europe.