Monday, 29 January 2018

Republic Day

From the desk of Vitasta Raina
Time: Irrelevant

India's 69th Republic Day was celebrated 3 days ago on Friday. It was a sad day because instead of watching the Republic Day parade and all the fanfare it entailed, my mind was still hovering between the news of the Padmaavat Film release, and the stone pelting incident that occurred in it's aftermath.
Now I have no interest in watching this film, or gauging it's historical validity. For  me, it stands as a symbol of war, one where the ancestors of the protesters where defeated by the invading army. The story of the queen in question, and all the drama around it is not very different from the story of the Greek Epic, Iliad, and the story of Helen of Troy. But who has time for mythologies, when the future citizens of the country are being brought under stone-pelting fires.

Boy selling flags at Kalandi Kunj Bridge, New Delhi. Image: Vitasta, Aug 2017

Last year during Independence day week, I saw this boy wearing a 'Just-Us' t-shirt selling flags at the Kalandi kunj bridge between Noida in Uttar-Pradesh and New Delhi in Delhi, a non-state state, which is also the Capital City of India. While this region is defined as the National Capital Region and even has a publicly funded organization, The National Capital Region Planning Board (NCRPB), to look into the long-term strategic planning frameworks for the region, state boundaries such as the one between Noida (a densely populated suburb) and Delhi (central place, not necessarily the CBD) determine infrastructure spending and planning standards, drastically changing city liveability within meters along the same stretch of road way. This phenomenon was even more blatantly obvious during our January Road-trip from Noida to Mumbai along the DMIC. 

The politics of administrative boundaries between states, districts, wards, and blocks stands as a barrier, an almost negative force acting on the natural barriers and forces of urbanization that is occurring in the country over and above these 'fictitious boundaries/forces'. I believe that we need to start exploring the concepts of 'City-States' and review how these can be developed and modernised in India's expanding urbanization.

But more on this, later. For now, this Rajasthani Boy selling flags at the bridge, is usually seen selling all manners of car accessories. If you see him, say hello. 

Bombay Love.