Filed under Urbanologics

Why study informality?

Why study informality?

At a conference a few months back, a senior academic asked my panel – ‘How relevant do each one of you think is to study informality? Isn’t it an outdated/irrelevant term?’. I responded, rather unclearly. The unclear response has been refining in my mind. It was not the answer in itself, as I was quite clear of it, but the articulation of it via language. Thus, here is what I feel is a clear(er) articulation of what I think about research on informality. Continue reading

Bhupen Khakhar and Development discourse

Bhupen Khakhar and Development discourse

In other words, for the world which doesn’t accepts him (as gay), he is a mere artist, and for world which accepts him (as artist) he is gay. This is the critique of the hidden oppression which the Tate misses to materialize, or chose not to materialize to cater to the voyeuristic nature of looking from the developed world to the developing world. Continue reading

Partial Cross-Section of a City

Partial Cross-Section of a City

Three women who came to the city of Delhi at three different points in its history, with three different backgrounds, and to three different settlement “categories”. All of them see their work as something which is making a difference, education, housing and food….yet three different positionalities…three kinds of differential access to resources…..three different ways of negotiating these differential access…. Continue reading

Encountering Chirag Dilli

Encountering Chirag Dilli

As the playful production of momos go on in the first floor of a shop in Chirag Dilli, Vikas, one of the 25 year old momo entrepreneur jokingly ask – “इतनी फोटो खीच रहे हो, कहीं बेन तो नहीं लगवाओगे?” ‘you are taking so pictures, will you ban us (laughs)’ …. and me “मेगी की तरह मोमो को बेन कर दिया तो दिल्लीवाले सड़क पे उत्तर आएंगे!” ‘if momos are banned like magi then dilli walas will protest on roads’……. laughs break as I taste the ingredients! Continue reading

Formal-Informal dualism

Formal-Informal dualism

‘Informal’ due to its dependence on formal and the connotation in the development discourse usually comes up in a negative sense and is almost always referred with urban poor. For the study of fast changing urban agglomerations (specific to India in this case), we need to have a far more neutral term. Continue reading

The Idea’s Constipation?

The Idea’s Constipation?

I am in no way making a case for Koolhaas, but using Koolhaas as a tool to argue that nothing much has changed in urban theory for the past two decades. This is resulting in projects and studies of cities, specially in the global south to have the same perspective as of Keith Hart. Continue reading

The Forced Idea of Freedom

The Forced Idea of Freedom

From the heights of atrocities’ during the emergency to the post-liberal ‘projects’ of the world class city, nothing much has changed other than the cosmetic rhetoric as far as initiatives with the urban poor are concerned. The ‘IDEA of URBAN’ as conceptualised by the bourgeois urbanist is still what forms the core of urban initiatives. Continue reading

In-Situ – The Kathputli Colony

In-Situ – The Kathputli Colony

The general notion of shame towards non-formal settlements like Kathputli Colony, which essentially is a colonial legacy, is undermining the immense potential that this settlement has. Kathputli Colony is part of the cultural landscape of Delhi and can be accentuated so Continue reading

Gali Qasim Jan ki vo Haveli….

Gali Qasim Jan ki vo Haveli….

The famous haveli at Gali Qasim jan at Ballimaran, whose resident at one point was the epitome of Urdu poetry, is one of the many mute witnesses of the Mughal tehzeeb. Like with many, Delhi have made Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan also its own, to an extent that ‘Ghalib ki Dilli’ is a common phrase … Continue reading

An Urbanist’s viewpoint on FDI in multi-brand retail

An Urbanist’s viewpoint on FDI in multi-brand retail

I felt sad that none of the politicians talked about any of the urban implications. Especially in light of the largest ever investment into urban areas through JNNURM, I thought Kamal Nath would have taken up some issues, because he is the urban development minister and was in trade ministry, which is a rare blend. Jaitly was speaking red and lefties were making arguments way too below their standards. Well! All others were just speaking something which I found really hard to make any sense in terms of logical argument. Continue reading

Public art within the politics of urban change

Public art within the politics of urban change

We need more urgently than architectural utopias, ingenious traffic disposal systems, or ecological programmes – to comprehend the nature of citizenship, to make a serious imaginative assessment of that special relationship between the self and the city; its unique plasticity, its privacy and freedom. ~ Raban Continue reading

Urban Voids & Shared Spaces

Urban Voids & Shared Spaces

When understood as articulated moments among crisis-crossing networks of social relations and understanding, places do not posses singular, but multiple and contested identities.  Thus, place-making is shaped by conflict, differences and social negotiations among differentially situated and at times antagonistically bound and others whose social relations are understanding span entire regions and transcend national boundaries … Continue reading

Urban Void | शेहरी रिक्त

Urban Void | शेहरी रिक्त

दिल्ली में कई ऐसी बड़ी जगह है जो विशाल संख्या में लोगो के आवास हेतु बनाया गया था| ये परियोजनाए उस समय के आधुनिक परियोजना सिद्धांतो पे निर्मित है, इस लिए पूरी जगह का एक साथ विकास हुआ ना की एक एक भाग में, जैसे एक पारंपरिक समूह में होता है| इस तरह के निर्माण से कई … Continue reading

Slippery pasts in Indian politics!

Slippery pasts in Indian politics!

Future is something that no one has ever seen and hence can only be picturised, but the picturisation of this future is greatly dependent on the past. The past is almost always glamorized, and hence the future is picturised as an idealized appropriation of the glamorized past. Ideologies driving Indian politics have also been derived … Continue reading

The brave new world

The brave new world

As a matter of image, everything wants to relate itself in global terms, global power, world class city, multinational company and so on. The ones who got into this race first are the ones with more power to control this race, and hence all the later entrants tried to recognize themselves with respect to the … Continue reading

What Gandhi taught us….

What Gandhi taught us….

When anything is talked about Gandhiji the most common terms associated with him are nonviolence, truthfulness and many such terms in similar lines. Are these the things that he actually taught?……… We glorified him with the title of Mahatma and then as the father of the nation, and followed it were stories about his life. … Continue reading

Public Art

Public Art

City, a word that has gained so much of importance that phenomenon like opportunity, success, and career are all read along with it. People either migrate or they are born in a city, both ways it’s most certain that they will be a part of the rat race. The race for money and power, the … Continue reading

Indigenous Innovations – I (The Wall)

Indigenous Innovations – I (The Wall)

  It is amazing to read about a phobia called Paruresis, how can someone have such a phobia which would not allow them to release themselves in public? Well it would be so good if this kind of a problem take roots in India. But Indian philosophy teaches us “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam“, which literally means the whole … Continue reading