This paper makes interventions in our understanding of the histories of Partition. Rather than treating 1947 as a moment of temporal rupture, it argues that processes that were set in motion during the two World Wars persisted into the post-colonial period and proved critical in determining the shape of contemporary Indian urbanism. While the post-Partition Indian state, obsessed with planning capital spaces, used rehabilitation as an instrument to gain control over the city, this paper argues that it was during the early 1940s, and particularly during World War II, that we can trace the genealogy of post-colonial urban governance. It will assess migration, urban planning, popular protest, war-time controls, and the political economy of land use during the 1940sin Delhi, which in many ways shaped how the city later