A Mumbai born British artist writing for the Guardian has accused Indian PM Narendra Modi of “using coronavirus to destroy India’s heritage” and ending the legacy of first Indian PM – Jawaharlal Nehru.
According to Anish Kapoor, India’s “fascist government” has some sort of a hidden agenda to push forward, during the ongoing pandemic. Kapoor claims that PM Modi’s agenda is to “dismantle” Nehru’s legacy of a secular India.
“Modi fully understands that a new parliament designed by an Indian architect will further his Hindu India agenda and take a further step away from Nehru’s secular India,” critiques the author
Modi government’s plan to redevelop the Central Vista has received a nod from the High Court even though it has drawn criticism from various personalities including 60 retired IAS and IPS officers. “The high court of India has been coerced into giving the go-ahead to this hair-brained scheme in the last few weeks without consultation or due process,” wrote Kapoor.
The Central Visit is located in New Delhi and is also known as the ‘Imperial core’ of the capital. It houses the Parliament and the Rashtrapati Bhavan. These corridors of power were designed by British architects Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker in 1931.
The redevelopment is estimated to cost ₹20,000 crores. “Lutyens and his fellow architects used quotations from all the architectural styles of India: Hindu temples, Mughal forts, Jain and Buddhist edifices to festoon his buildings and give a theatrical sense of pomp and glory.
Lutyens fashioned the central vista as a Greek ceremonial path of glory with the parliament building sitting at the top of the grand avenue as if a temple to the power of the state,” wrote Kapoor.
He slammed the decision to appoint Bimal Patel as the architect for this project saying that Patel’s talent is “not up to the mark”. He challenged the appointment of the architect saying that “due process” wasn’t followed.
“Mr Patel has destroyed the city of Ahmedabad by cementing over the banks of the Sabarmati river that runs through it, he is in the process of ruining Varanasi by building roads through it and covering it in concrete with no regard to its people or its history. All this of course under Modi’s BJP government’s direction,” wrote Kapoor.
Kapoor points out that architecture is an effective tool used by propagandists. He cited a few examples including China which commissioned the Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron to design their Olympic stadium for the 2008 Beijing Olympics and “effectively used it to divert attention from their criminal human rights record.”
He further talks about how the French presidents have “used symbolic architecture to stamp their cultural and political hold on the nation”.
The British artist concludes by considering the possibility for the need of a modern parliament which is representative of the people of India. However, he asserts that it is a “shameful attempt” which is being carried out without due process and consultation.
“The destruction of Lutyens’ Delhi is deeply misguided and comes out of Modi’s political fanaticism. This is not the redesign of buildings, it is instead Modi’s way of placing himself at the centre and cementing his legacy as the maker of a new Hindu India”, wrote Kapoor.
The OpED Does Not Represent The Views Of The EurAsian Times