I am today back from Meerut, which is a bustling town around 60 kms from Delhi on the Dehradun Highway. It is an important town of the Western UP, which seems to be much revered by the rest of UP majorly due to its proximity to Delhi, the national capital. It is also an important military center, dating back to the Raj times.
For me, however, this town is a chaotic testimony to a total lack of any urban planning and civic sense anywhere around us. Whatever good the numerous Five Year Plans might have done for us, a planned & decent urban structure was certainly not one of them. We, as a nation, have had no idea how to raise good cities for a better living. It is probably a result of assi–pratishat–janta– gaon– mein– rahti– hai mindset.
To my mind, any Indian town, however small it might be, has got a distinct character and history, which could be developed upon beautifully. Unfortunately, we have neither been able to preserve our villages to their pristine beauty nor create good cities out of them.
All we have done is to create numerous clones of a handful of our important cities and metros. Every town and kasba is desperately rushing to transform itself from an ugly duckling to the nearest swan of a glitzy metro. Rest later..