21 September, 2020

Architecture Of Hope

"Advani thought this was a costly Japanese project. When he realised it was Indian and cheap, he said he would not have believed it had he not seen it."

Architecture Of Hope
Around the town of Morvi in Gujarat, the fields are drab and mostly, nowadays, show no traces of the plough. Sometimes they are strewn with rubble where, until the earthquake that celebrated last Republic Day, villages stood. Very few livestock can be seen. Grey with dust, hunched as though exhausted, the occasional trees, under hot breaths of wind, mutter like resentful refugees. The shrivelled rivers do not seem to move. At noon the crimson eye of the sun squints down at a landscape in stasis. The rains will soon come, but the villagers dread them; they may spread further chaos when they do.

We've come from villages reduced to rubble. In their narrow lanes, the debris of human habitations has piled up higher than a man's head. Former inhabitants live among the ruins, or in tents supplied as relief. They seem to await a miracle. So far, people have come with promises, none of which have been kept. The state government, resolved on inanition in the days immediately after the earthquake, firmly pursues this policy. The ngos and private firms who adopted villages have not yet...


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