Each stone of Sabarmati Ashram speaks of history. What will happen when it’s redeveloped?: Yoginder K Alagh

(Yoginder K Alagh is an economist and former Union Minister of Government of India. The article first appeared in the print edition of Indian Express on September 13, 2021)

 

  • Stones speak to you, unless you are the Taliban destroying the Bamiyan Buddhas with barbaric vengeance. The recent decision to build new structures in the IIM-A, because the corridors are dark and cold, took me back to the mid-Sixties when I was teaching and finishing my thesis at the University of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia. One day, Louis Kahn called all of us — Indian students and teachers — to the School of Architecture. In his dramatic style, he stood in front of a silk curtain behind which we could see a light. He dramatically parted the curtain and we saw the model of the IIM-A. He asked: “First impression?” I was in the first row and he asked me: “Do you know Ahmedabad?” I said: “Yes sir”. He said: “So?” I blurted out: “It is very un-Indian.” He was infuriated. “What do you mean?” he asked. I knew I was in a soup. I said, “Mine is a poor country. These give a sense of power.” He looked at me, stammered and said: “No. It’s a monastery.” I retired hurt.

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