Anirban Pal, a research scholar at the University of Colorado, Denver, has written a paper in the journal Environment & Urbanization, titled “Scope for bottom-up planning in Calcutta: rhetoric vs reality”.
He examines how elected officials at different government levels, professional planners and ordinary citizens interact. Which players are dominant in the process of metropolitan planning?
Here’s an interesting passage from Anirban’s article:
There is a story of a would-be school teacher who was asked during an interview by the principal of a conservative religious school: “Is the earth flat of round?” The hapless teacher looked around at the faces of the interviewers for hints, and, not finding any, settled for: “I can teach it flat or round.” This story might help us to understand the relationship between the planners of Calcutta and their political bosses at the state and local levels.
I am reminded of the Indian film maestro Satyajit Ray's satirical fable Hirak Rajar Deshe ("In the land of the Diamond King"). Here an evil king's ministers piously nod their head in acquiescence, reciting "right, right" whenever the king declares any of his inhuman, irrational fiats.
Untruth, idiocy, ugliness and inhumanity thrives, and in that is the power of our rulers!