The urban clearance programmes that were pursued on a vast scale during the Emergency are frequently alluded to by historians but remain poorly understood. In particular, historians have reproduced the assumptions and limited scope of the Shah Commission of Inquiry, which published its reports on the Emergency in 1978. Histories of the Emergency's urban policies have, therefore, focused overwhelmingly on Delhi and north India, on the demolition of buildings, and on the role of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's son, Sanjay Gandhi, as instigator of these policies. This article uses case studies to demonstrate that these policies were not limited to Delhi and its environs, and to show that a concentration on the demolition of buildings has led historians to neglect the clearing of unwanted people from India's cities. The article goes on to reassess the thinking that underpinned these policies through a case study of Jagmohan, the head of the Delhi Development Authority during the Emergency. It shows how his ideas on urban aesthetics and civics informed the urban clearance programmes and how these authoritarian republican ideas suggest a way of rethinking the history of the Emergency as a whole.