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Online Lecture “Chandigarh – celebrating Gandhian values.”

Chandigarh.2 October,2020:On the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti the Department of Tourism, Chandigarh Administration, organised a lecture on the theme “Chandigarh – celebrating Gandhian values.”

The online presentation by Deepika Gandhi, Director, Le Corbusier Centre, brought out some very interesting facets of the city that relate it to the philosophy and ideals of Mahatma Gandhi. Chandigarh is normally known as a product of the vision of Jawaharlal Nehru and Le Corbusier. However as Gandhi explained there were many parallels in the thinking of the creators of the city and Mahatma Gandhi. The Statute of land of Chandigarh by Corbusier clearly states that “Chandigarh is the city made to provide all amenities to the poorest of the poor to lead a dignified life” -resonating the Mahatma’s philosophy of catering to the lowest category of citizens for betterment of the country.

As Deepika Gandhi elaborated further- from the housing for the masses to the symbolism inherent in the Capitol Complex ,there is an echo of Gandhian philosophy in Corbusier‘s work. The provision of ample schools and colleges from the very inception of the city addressed the concern of Mahatma Gandhi that the salvation of the country was through education. The planning of the sector was on the lines of a mini village trying to recreate the mohalla which is the essence of rural life in India. With many such interesting examples and parallels Deepika made a point that Chandigarh was neither a show of power nor a mere symbol of Western planning, but a true product of the Indian ethos aimed at the amelioration of the masses that was so dear to Mahatma Gandhi.

The curiosity of people about the topic was evident by the fact that the participant limit for the online event got exceeded. There was an interesting interaction after the lecture during which many participants revealed that they did not know many facts about the creation of the city and the thought process behind it. Deepika Gandhi expressed satisfaction at the reception to and enthusiastic participation for the lecture. She concluded that this is an area which has not been studied in detail and it was interesting to make these connections. In the end Chandigarh is a city that brought together the forward looking vision of Nehru with the deeply spiritual ethos of Gandhi.