Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Gyan Prakash's Book "Mumbai Fables"

Chandrahas Chaudhari writes an excellent books blog

Here's his observation about Bombay (I am partial to this old name for the city I love and hate), especially about New Bombay in his review of Gyan Prakash's book "Mumbai Fables.":

"But, attacking this project (New Bombay) for wanting to "engineer an organic urban space to meet the needs of capitalist industrialisation", Prakash leaches the movement of much of its civic idealism, and presents it instead as yet another imposition upon the masses by those in power. Drawing upon Freud, he argues that "Politics and society, which the planners had suppressed, returned with the rage of the repressed to sour the modernist dream of postcolonial geography." Indeed, any kind of planning by governments or urban planners is inevitably described by Prakash with loaded words like "dream text", "fantasy", or "utopia"."

I am interested because I live in New Bombay. I agree with what Chandrahas has to say. New Bombay is not a total failure. It has wide open spaces, wide roads, gardens, recreational areas, etc. But slowly politics and bad town planning has been creeping into its crevices, about which I have written in details on this blog. The guardian angel (sorry, minister) of the area is someone who has a more than casual interest in the rampant quarrying that is reducing the hills of New Bombay into naked rocks.

Though politics and politicians are impinging upon the new city, however, development is also taking place. There's a Urban Haat (market) in CBD Belapur where I live, there are plans for a nature park in the area adjoining Sector 8 in Belapur, there are other initiatives which are going to make the city a utopia.

I haven't read "Mumbai Fable," no, not yet. But it's on my reading list.

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