Who are we?

Who are we?

In an attempt to understand the future of the indian city I felt it necessary to understand who we are. The leaders of our freedom and independence had a vision of India and a hint of a Global India. So I decided to read Nehru’s Speech on the birth of an Independent India.

I suggest that every Indian read this speech as it defines the basic essence of what India strove to be 60 odd years ago. You may find this speech @ http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1947nehru1.html.

Quotes from Nehru’s speech on Independence day [1947]

“…………We have hard work ahead. There is no resting for any one of us till we redeem our pledge in full, till we make all the people of India what destiny intended them to be. We are citizens of a great country on the verge of bold advance, and we have to live up to that high standard. All of us, to whatever religion we may belong, are equally the children of India with equal rights, privileges and obligations. We cannot encourage communalism or narrow-mindedness, for no nation can be great whose people are narrow in thought or in action…………..”

And I wonder:

Have we worked at all? Are our indian cities a testament to this? Is building a “metro” in the capital city testament to the arrival of an Indian city on a global platform? Are we content with blocking out the sky forever from our streets to provide for tax payers money to be utilized in creating harsh concrete labyrinths? Is there a better way?  Are we really thinking about the future? The world has its eyes on India as a nation yet we follow planning strategies of the 40’s adapted for western cities. Are we aware that many of these cities are crumbling because of these strategies? Is India going to turn into the next strip mall nation just so we can be global? Whilst the world goes on to build magnificent modern structures will we be content with our sprawling cities and our Indian Habitat Center? is this the best we can offer – concrete heartless jungles built on code/bye laws? We have recently passed legislature which allows for open spaces within the city to be turned into parking lots….  if I am not mistaken we are known as one of the most intelligent communities of world…are we living up to this? What happened to our pride in building artistic monuments such as that of Kailasha Temple? What happened to our sustainable thinking exhibited from cities to structures? Where is the essence of the legendary megalopolis of Indraprastha ? Does it exist in the gated communities retrofitted with golf courses?

“…………At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom……………………………….”

Did we ever awake? or is it still midnight?

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About the Author

Amit Talwar Amit Talwar is Founder and Partner of Amit Talwar Associates / office of Blurred Edges. Amit is an Architect with a Masters in Architecture and Urban Design from Columbia University, New York City, USA. Prior to establishing ATA/OBE Amit has worked and lived in various regions of world namely the USA, Middle East and India. He has been involved through out his career in leadership roles with firms such as Skidmore Owings & Merrill Inc, NBBJ, Charles Correa Associates, B.V.Doshi's Sangath and Pan Arab Consultants & Engineers, LTD. Amit's exposure to various firms has enhanced his sensitivities towards the different processes within the realm of design alongwith its impacts on cities and the urban fabric. He is a strong advocator for the preservation of cultures and heritage of different regions and finds it critical for cities retain their authenticities during their march towards Globalism. Amit holds a keen interest with modern complex issues of Sustainability,Transit Oriented Developments, Urban Dynamics, Urban Networks and Globalism. Amit has been a visiting faculty at Knowlton School of Design at Ohio State University and has been invited as a guest critic at Columbia University, NYC on various occassions. He has also been awarded the William Kinnie Fellowship Scholarship during his Masters Degree. His work has also been published in books such as "Designing Patch Dynamics" by Richard Plunz, Brian Mcgrath & Victoria Marshall. Amit is a recipient of a World Architecture Community Award for his project "Ziranenge/Angel" - A Hospital for Children and Maternal Women - Rwanda, Africa. Amit's works and articles have been published in various magazines, newspapers and websites.