The New Middle-Class, Technology and Modernity in Seelampur

Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



National Center for Digital Government


My paper studies a globally acclaimed experiment in computer literacy and cultural capital in Seelampur, located on the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh state border. In late 2003, Datamation, a prominent private, Delhi based Information Technology firm, with partial funding from UNESCO and the Delhi state government, established computer literacy and e-commerce development projects in Zaffarabad in Seelampur. Seelampur is a diverse community but like the rest of the area, Zaffarabad is largely a settlement of informal working class Muslims. State violence and dominant middle-class interests have historically colluded to create Seelampur. During the National Emergency years in 1975-1977, residents of Seelampur were given small plots of land in exchange for demolitions of their homes and forced sterilization at the same time that middle-class groups received tax breaks (Tarlo, 2003). Over the decades, the Delhi government has raided and razed homes and businesses in Seelampur, enforcing its policies on slum clearance and recently, its controversial environment laws on closure of several manufacturing industries that are an integral part of the local and national economy.