Narendra Modi did not write a letter to the three sages but to their chief architect and patriot Bimal Patel. From the middle of next year to the beginning of 2024, he plans to release the following buildings that will be located solely on PowerPoint: a new official residence, a new cabinet headquarters, a new parliament, a new national archive, a new national museum, a new vice presidential residence, a dozen New Ministries …
The list of constructions is as long as the demolition – half a million square meters – and the application changes. All these are in the Olympus of Indian power, British New Delhi. The recommendation for a World Heritage Site was quickly withdrawn by Modi.
Modi will have a new residence and will vacate the secretariat to promote the Hindu art of the National Museum there
In the architecture of power the insurgency is so vast and on many fronts that the opposition is still trying to guess where the ball is. So far, it has only been successful in denouncing “opacity” and “waste”. Eighty intellectuals, a few weeks ago, in the midst of a huge second wave of Govt, asked for a review of investments and a priority suspension.
But in the same week, the Supreme Court again rejected any restrictions on work that was exempt from the control of the epidemic at all times. According to Modi, the 75th anniversary of independence is in a hurry to come next year. For those who oppose him, the real calendar marks the centenary of the RSS in 2024, and the Hindu supremacist movement is indebted to Modi.
Coincides with the next Indian elections, which always moves a lot of money. Nothing less than two thousand three hundred million euros, until now, one of the windiest areas of Delhi, preferred to eat an ice cream at the end of the day by its neighbors, but it is briefly crowded by the construction of a dozen ministries.
Thus executive power would be aligned on both sides of the Rajpath, from the old royal way, from the Presidential Palace – which was the viceroy – to the Gateway of India. This model is Patel’s own restructuring in Gandhinagar, the seat of government in Modi’s home state a few years ago.
The most advanced projects are the plans of the new parliament, which will be built opposite the current parliament, which is difficult to expand and will be used as a “democratic museum”.
However, neither the vice president nor the chief executive saw any plans for a new residence. He lives with his mother in the same bungalow complex as Rajiv Gandhi and his ancestors who built their own tunnel for a few years and headed to the old Safdarjung airport. Until now, Modi has been content to rename the street one of his specialties. Not anymore.
Many architects have spoken out against the “attack” on Edwin Lutyens’ legacy – bungalows reserved for ministers have cakes at the beginning of each assembly – and Herbert Baker, an architect from Pretoria.
Rajpath’s Indianisation – a venue for Republic Day parades – seems to be crowding it out. Paradoxically, the titles for Indian architecture by Lutyens and Baker will disappear. “New ministries may be on the American highway,” says one newspaper. Some will cry over Kafkaske ugly ministries.
Narendra Modi hides another slip. To pave the way for new ones, the National Archives and the Indira Gandhi Art Center will be demolished and rebuilt. Spike will reach the National Museum and its magnificent sculpture will be converted into one of the two buildings of the Secretariat – in front of the Presidential Palace.
A noble place that still holds the heart of power: foreign, security, interior and finance. At the end of the Rajpath, the stone canopy that held George V is empty and Allah is invisible. But the stone gods of India are going to get their Olympus.
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