India is a diverse country with several regional cultures and histories. We implicitly acknowledge this diversity as a badge of identity. However, when it comes to modern architecture, we expect all buildings to look ‘modern’, whether they are built in Maharashtra or Bengal, Punjab or Kerala. Even critics don’t expect otherwise. But the ground realities reveal a different picture and some critics are beginning to realize that modern architecture in India is not as homogenous as it is imagined. After Independence, architecture was routinely related to the aggrandizing political aspirations of the nation-state, which perhaps resulted in our inability to distinguish the different trees in the woods and resulted in the fact that we became wilfully blind to regional differences in modern architecture. This has created many problems for architects and their role in society, which has eroded the credibility of the profession. There are many such ideological issues that architects and critics need to examine to mitigate the problems facing the architectural profession in India and re-evaluating its history is a good starting point.
December 2017, volume 41, No 12