ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Chandigarh: Making of a City

Chandigarh Lifescape: Brief Social History of a Planned City by Kavita Sharma, Chitleen K Sethi, Meeta and Rajivlochan; Chandigarh Government Press, 1999, pp 101, price not indicated.

“While a house is built by bricks, ahome is built by hearts”. Chandigarheven today remains a lot built bybricks, a classic example of architecturalextravaganza, to suit the role expectedfrom it. This role is that of the cementingforce between traditional cultural aspectsof the colonial rule and the modern glimpsesof independent India. Cities come upas a result of numerous factors as economic,social, historical and most importantly– locational advantages. Whateverbe the factors that help building a city, theprocess is gradual as in the cases ofBombay (now Mumbai), Madras (nowChennai) and Calcutta (now Kolkata) andnot sudden. It was the locational advantagesof these areas that provided themtheir initial spurt in development. Suchcities generally do not have a specific dateof birth.

However, there are cities that generallydo not come up as a result of such factors It is rather on the initiative of the peopleto make a city to overshadow certain lossesthat had taken place in its recent past Chandigarh is distinctly an example ofsuch an initiative. The present book is inthe context of what actually led to thecreation of Chandigarh and how did itcome into existence? The book is dividedinto four parts. The first part looks intothe factors that led to the building of thiscity. It also provides a description of thesituation that prevailed at the site of thelater city of Chandigarh. Perhaps theurgency of building Chandigarh was theresult of the loss of Lahore, the traditionalcapital of Punjab province following thepartition. The challenge was to makeChandigarh a far better place than theearlier capital of Punjab. The second partdescribes the resistance offered by theinhabitants of the villages, on which theproposed city was to be built. It alsodescribes the village life and the way thevillagers were compensated against thelosses following the construction of thenew city. The third part looks into thegrowth of the city since its coming intoexistence. It further looks into the stepsthat were taken by the government toproperly build and populate Chandigarh Finally the authors go on to describe theproblems that the residents faced in thenewly built city. They conclude the bookwith views of people, who have settled inChandigarh, as its citizens.

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