Advertisement
Wednesday, Dec 08, 2021
Outlook.com
opinion

The Walled City Isn’t The Old One

The lack of public spaces, the gated communities, the norms of collective living elude us. And then we talk of our unhinged free-floaters.

The Walled City Isn’t The Old One
Sanjay Rawat
The Walled City Isn’t The Old One
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

Once on a flight from Dubai to Delhi, I sat alongside two Punjabi carpenters on a short visit home. Throughout the barely four-hour flight, the two pestered the stewardess with continual requests for  Scotch, and insisted on calling her “waitress”, even tugging at her dress as she walked past. She was a white woman, and as full paying passengers they felt entitled to her in any way they wished. In hushed tones amid chuckling noises, they talked amongst themselves on how they would treat her if the inside of the plane was suddenly rendered completely dark. It mattered little that their offensive remarks were being overheard by everyone around them­—for it was an odd badge of entitlement brought on by their new status as successful Indians settled abroad. Besides, they belonged to an old civilisation, older than anything the barbaric ancestors of the white stewardess—or waitress—could ever imagine. The new India of 7 per cent plus annual growth rate only encouraged their attitude.

In the shadow of the recent gangrape in Delhi, there are obviously many issues being raised; changes in mindset, enacting of new laws, security arrangements, police attitudes, public behaviour, additional patrolling, better street lighting, more women bus conductors. Yet, the prime cause of urban distress in Indian cities remains unaddressed—a condition that stems largely from an acute absence of public space, indeed, from the utter lack of the citizen’s participation in urban life.

Advertisement

Outlook Newsletters

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Read More from Outlook

Aung San Suu Kyi Verdict 'Disturbing' But Will It Change India's Equation With Myanmar?

Aung San Suu Kyi Verdict 'Disturbing' But Will It Change India's Equation With Myanmar?

While India has time and again appealed for rapprochement between the democratic forces and the military, it has continued to engage with the junta in Myanmar.

Church In India Cosying Up To BJP To Protect Its Interests

Church In India Cosying Up To BJP To Protect Its Interests

What has led to this change of heart over the past few years for the Church, long seen to be anathemic to the Sangh Parivar?

Ashes, 1st Test, Day 1 LIVE: ENG 147 All Out; Rain Delays Start Of AUS Innings

Ashes, 1st Test, Day 1 LIVE: ENG 147 All Out; Rain Delays Start Of AUS Innings

England have not won a Test match in Brisbane since 1986-87. Can Australia protect that record this time in the Ashes? Follow live.

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