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New Delhi’s new monument

Delhiites give their take on a famous Charles Correa landmark.

entertainment Updated: Aug 02, 2010 00:48 IST
Ojasvi Maleyvar

Not all monuments in Delhi belong to the time of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. This one was built long after Bollywood actor Priyanka Chopra was born. We are talking about the Jeevan Bharti building (1986), popular known as LIC building. Located in colonial-era Connaught Place, its back overlooking the Janpath flea market, the building was designed by Hyderabad-born architect Charles Correa, whose collection of essays,

A Place In The Shades, has just hit the bookstores. A complex of stone, glass and metal, this ‘monument’ means different things to different people. The building is a familiar landmark for many. Shikhar Sharma, a college student, says, “It’s a really cool building and is pretty modern. It makes for a good view in Connaught Place.”

Rakhshanda Jalil, an author who has written on Delhi’s monuments, says, “The LIC building is a great piece of architecture. Amid the old buildings of Connaught Place (CP), it juts out like a paean to the need of modern times and gives a hint of the new-century skyline that may follow in the years ahead. Have you noticed that it is just across the road from the very colonial-looking Regal cinema building?

The contrast could not be starker and yet it is so aesthetically pleasing.” Voicing a different opinion, Rakesh Chandra, a bookshop owner in CP, says, “It’s ugly. It doesn’t gel with the surroundings. The highrise has no relevance to CP’s architecture where buildings were never supposed to be multi-storied.”

Jai Kumar Chautala, a social activist in Valmiki Sadan colony, says, “LIC, after which is building is named, is India’s first life insurance company. The building sends out an inspiring message to all the people looking at it. While the rest of the CP is being renovated, it is one landmark that need not be brushed up.”