Advertisement
Wednesday, Dec 08, 2021
Outlook.com
opinion

Brooms In Pebbles

Smart renewal in Varanasi must respect its spiritual-urban geography

Brooms In Pebbles
Illustration by Saahil
Brooms In Pebbles
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

At the turn of the century, a series of world conferences witnessed numerous debates addressing the renewal of historical cities. Arnold Toynbee, the distinguished historian, once remarked that “cities can survive and prosper only as they meet challenges of the current age and they need to be renewed every 100 years”. It is extremely convenient to develop templates as part of development projects; however, the challenge is to tailor and align such projects with the inherent character defining each city. The Kyoto to Varanasi agreement set off by Narendra Modi in Japan is a bold step. But, one wonders how this will happen—the inherited complexity of Varanasi or Kashi or Anandvan or even Banaras needs to be kept in mind.

Enthusiasts must be aware that no one wants to move out of the spiritual-emotional-urban geography of Kashi, which is also perceived as the moksha sthan, for this is the borough where one’s soul is freed from the cycle of life and rebirth. It includes the riv­er­front, along with its onion-like layers in the interconnected backlanes of Kashi. Along this space run the pedestrian paths, streets and a colonial-era sewage system. The riverfront and the dense neighbourh­ood and clogged streets along it remain dirty and congested right through to the central area of the city from Assi, Lanka to Gaudauliya. The stretch includes the heart of the historical city and stretches for kilometres but excludes the banks of the Ganga on the other side contiguous with Ramnagar.

Advertisement

Outlook Newsletters

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Read More from Outlook

Why A Democratic India Must Junk Draconian AFSPA

Why A Democratic India Must Junk Draconian AFSPA

Experts believe the AFSPA has caused more harm to the Indian State in insurgency-hit areas than mitigating problems. Here’s why.

Nagaland Ambush: Not Just AFSPA, It’s Time To Do Away With Most Special Laws

Nagaland Ambush: Not Just AFSPA, It’s Time To Do Away With Most Special Laws

It may be time for India to uphold human dignity, take a hard look at some of its regressive laws like AFSPA which includes Special Laws that authorises detention without trial.

Ashes 2021-22: Australia Start Favourites - Statistical Preview

Ashes 2021-22: Australia Start Favourites - Statistical Preview

The Gabba has been like a fortress for Australia in the Ashes. The Aussies have a 12-4 win-loss record in Brisbane and they will do everything to protect that record.

Why AFSPA In Jammu And Kashmir Is Not Just A Defence Act

Why AFSPA In Jammu And Kashmir Is Not Just A Defence Act

Has the AFSPA become an ideological Act, a tool to revise Kashmir history? Many analysts believe so.

Advertisement