INDIA: In the Race to Modernity

INDIA, vastly known for its diverse culture and tradition is now losing its own identity, the neighbourhood culture, festivals in courtyard, welcome at chabutras all are changing to western culture and high rises. India not being India or retaining its own culture is converting to America or any ‘other’ country. Now-a-days planners, architects, and engineers are searching for solutions outside the country instead of local answers and our very own ancient culture.

India’s older, ancient cities were successful in developing their individual identities. With limited technology, local resources and constrained by geography they developed their unique histories. They don’t need to have ACs in their homes, their building material itself maintain their temperature. Courtyards were there for marriages, family functions etc., they have flexible markets, Hats, which just don’t need to have large build-ups.Taking example from Udaipur their white surfaces of terraced, stone urbanity were a direct response to heat and topography.

Every Indian city need to recognize their fabric, their uniqueness, it does not only spread their identity in the world but also passes their pride to successive generations. But still we are searching solutions for our citizen outside our area, we are not only changing the fabric but also interrupting in the social structure, by changing their culture by fascinating technologies.

We also have local solutions like the one award-winning engineer Himanshu Parikh came up with in his slum-rehabilitation work in Indore – ‘Aranya’. They had understood the traditional habits and planes according to the socio-economic and technical conditions.

Development control mechanism is inherited from the colonial system. The Indian concept of “Baras” (open space inside with no setbacks) has not been incorporated. Municipal acts, Town Planning acts, building bye-laws are generally based on British laws and leading to this culture we now are losing our identity, the one India had, the one India can sustain, with cost efficiency too.

Sakshi Khare

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