• refugees;
  • Calcutta;
  • Muslims;
  • partition;
  • urban;
  • segregation

This article explores the relationship between refugees and urban segregation, using Calcutta as a site of analysis. Using interviews and other sources, it shows how refugees displaced Muslims in the process of squatting in the post-partition period. The aims of the article are two-fold. First, it aims to investigate the ways in which refugees, often considered ‘victims’ of persecution, can in fact become hegemonic forces within the urban environments to which they are displaced. This complicates their subject positions within larger geopolitical and urban discourses. Second, it aims to historicise current discussions of communalism in India by linking them to the partition of India and Pakistan in 1947 and to interrogate the ways in which the latter continues to haunt urbanisation in India. The article thus reveals some of the ways in which various ‘marginal’ groups displace and dominate each other enabling the spatialisation of Hindu hegemony.