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Variety lost, forever

Delhi is losing its open spaces and heritage structures. All we will leave behind for our generation next are buildings that are ecologically destructive, writes Kanchi Kohli.

india Updated: Apr 07, 2009 20:45 IST

In Delhi, close to where I lived, there was a vast open space till about five-six years back. Today, this area houses three shopping malls, one next to the other. Visiting heritage structures like old palaces, tombs and forts are a part of our upbringing. We marvel at the way the architects of these structures thought about many ways of natural light, water conservation and the material they used.

When I compare this to the three malls, I wonder the contrast we will be leaving behind for the next generation. I don’t even want to begin to imagine the ecological costs of these three structures.

But what is imperative is to think about the fact as to what ecological role this open space could have played if these malls were not built. I can imagine the same place with trees, shrubs, walkways. If at all we wanted to add a shopping area to it, it could have been done in an eco-friendly way.

On March 28, despite our cynicism towards tokenism, we participated in the Earth Hour. It was the magical moments of watching the rain of candlelight that made it effortless. But our monuments of the future were bright with their blindfolded ignorance.

Our modern-day monuments like mega cities, mega malls. We suffer from mindsets that believe that these are symbols of the new age, modern India. It does not matter if huge forest areas, grazing lands, free flowing streams and natural spaces are non-existent today. Never mind what the future holds, and whether they transform into empty junkyards, when we cannot sustain lighting up the million bulbs or watering the landscaped garden where no bird call can be heard.

(Kanchi Kohli is a member of Kalpavriksh Environmental Action Group)