The curious case of Central vista

Chennai: Ever since its announcement in general and commencement in particular, Centra Vista, the pet project of the Union government, is attracting equal share of criticism and support.

Especially, a recent article by noted sculptor Anish Kapoor in ‘The Guardian’, in which said, “Modi’s bulldozing of parliament shows him as the architect of a Hindu Taliban,” has kicked off a fresh debate of sorts. Kapoor compared the NDA Government to ‘Hindu Taliban’ and claimed that the Central Vista Project was an effort to ‘de-Islamify India’.

Anish Kapoor claimed, “Unsurprisingly, the Islamic origin of these buildings offends the current regime in Delhi. It is why the tyrant Modi and his henchmen are destroying it.”

He added: “The ego displayed in this and other of his vainglorious projects puts Indian democracy at huge risk. Modi recently opened a cricket stadium named after himself, in laughable mimicry of Kim Jong-un in North Korea. He erected a monumental statue to Vallabhbhai Patel, the Hindu-Gujarati freedom fighter. It is four times bigger than the Statue of Liberty, unimaginably vulgar and cost over $400m. These are edifices for ultra-nationalist Modi Talibanists to rally around.”

Joining issue with Kapoor, Oopalee Operajita, an adviser on international relations, communications, and public policy to leaders worldwide, said, “As New Delhi’s Central Vista Project ( CVP ) acquires shape, its iconic Parliament building is not going to be demolished, nor are its elegant North and South Blocks, which accommodate offices of India’s federal government. The latter will eventually house the National Museum, after being upgraded, per heritage standards.”

India’s Parliament building, beautiful and strong in its time, is, alas, decrepit now. It is over a hundred years old, creaky, precarious, not earthquake proof, and in a state of rapid disintegration, she adds.

She further states, “If India’s government was allergic to Islamic architecture, it would have demolished Humayun’s Tomb, Jama Masjid, Qutub Minar (built after razing a Hindu temple to the ground), Safdarjang Tomb, Lodi Gardens, Purana Qila, the Red Fort and other lovely Islamic monuments across Delhi, which it assiduously maintains for the viewing pleasure, and aesthetic experience, of millions of Delhiites and tourists.”


NT Bureau