Black and white constructs plethora of metaphors in mind. ‘Landfill gulls’, hawks and stench, mark their territory over the skies of Bhanpur Landfill. This area signifies and marks the decaying rotten side of the city. An unplanned unscientific dumping of waste spread across 57.80 acres, has been continuously exploited for more than four decades.
In a sorry development, a modern architectural marvel was demolished. The landmark symbolized India’s tryst with modern architecture. The cast concrete structures designed by architects Raj Rewal, Kuldip Singh and engineered by Mahendra Raj stood witness to numerous exhibitions and trade fairs. Though well known to architectural community these modern ‘monuments’ were not ‘popular’ amongst masses.
Amidst wi-fi dreams the city has started abandoning its heritage, its identity. The sense-of-belonging to cities has seen rapid decline and they have been reduced to basics of being economic engines.
The demolition of Hall of Nations on night of April 23-24′ 2017 has resulted in a debate about definition of heritage. It has also highlighted lack of public discourse and popular participation in development of urban habitats in a nation on massive urbanization drive. The destroyed structures formed part of modern ventures in world’s 2nd largest urban centre, which essentially prides of its history and diversity.
In the wake of such situations we observe lack of professional and educated participation from architects, planners and urbanist in urban governance. The management and government of urban centres is often left in the hands of a creed oblivious to issues of urban environments, management, heritage. This is true not only regarding built environments but a wide gamut of issues including urban pollution, safety. Equally essential is sensitizing general population about environments they inhabit and participate in decision making regarding their cities and not just be a mute audience to ‘their’ governments.
Hall of Nations, Pragati Maidan, Delhi – 1980-2017