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'Memory, architecture are linked'

Hindustan Times  Mumbai, October 09, 2012
First Published: 00:55 IST(9/10/2012) | Last Updated: 00:57 IST(9/10/2012)

Mazgaon is a story of change from time immemorial. After the 1962 Indo-China war, the majority of Chinese left the area. Chinatown used to be a thriving part of Mazgaon.

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After the 1965 Indo-Pak war, most of the Pathans left. They would sit outside local restaurants, most of them in money-lending or riveting businesses; suddenly these hangouts became empty.

Till the 1992-93 riots, we used to have the most terrific and traditional Ganpati celebrations. It was so lovely to watch entire families dance their way to Mazgaon Pier for the immersion; it's part of history.

Areas change over time, new buildings come up. The physical changes matter but they don't happen in isolation, they are driven or accompanied by sociological transitions.

When people/communities go away, they take away their customs. When new people come, they bring in other customs.

There are fewer Irani shops and restaurants now, fewer nukkads that I used to hang out at; instead there are coffee shops and malls that the young want.

They want a certain kind of change because they have no memory to fall back on, memory is intertwined with architecture. The new architecture is functional, it doesn't inspire a bond, a relationship.

Rafique Baghdadi is a writer- researcher, cineaste and history raconteur


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