Friday, 1 February 2013



Land is Commodity in Modern Times


Architects, Planners plan, draw, paint beautiful 2D, 3D images, with landscape, served on a platter to public. In the course of time there came 4D - moving images - with emergence of technology (ET-IT).

However, a building becomes an Act of Law, when a project - a house, road, flyover, bridge, dam... or a city materializes on the land, according to the Law. That doesn't happen to texts/pictures unless the culture police protest and/or vandalize them.

How many indeed do see this situation beyond the standards and bye-laws? Or did I ever see?

This question has been following me for a long time. It kept on lingering at the back of my mind during the busy hours on drawing board and leisure days of long travels.

Sometimes the question would surface and quietly recede, leaving a tingling feeling, an astringent taste! I made several mental notes as well as notes on paper over the years. They referred the places & people together, witnessed across the life-span.

I also wrote several stories/poems – metafiction – on the subject of Land, Waters and Life. Each time the question would reveal some clue, stilt it remained.

‘Architect’ is a legal title in India for a few decades now. However, ‘Architecture’ is not is not subjected to legality!

The Land is under the jurisdiction of Land Revenue Act. Its label ‘agricultural land’ changes to 'non-agricultural land', used for building construction. Its tenure changes in the land records, which obviously it is meant for higher taxes. The law was originally designed by the British Raj.

Hence, Land becomes a Commodity. Our ancient belief / faith / sentiment of 'Mother
Land' — also as “Vande Mataram” depicts — , then turns into a mechanical ritual of 'Bhoomi Pooja' – worship of land – whether a cultural custom or religious ceremony. Its cultural or religious sanctity is long lost into oblivion.

None, either the orthodoxy or the religious, ever came to her - Mother's - rescue.
Wars are waged for ownership of land though. Our 'cultural police' are quiet on the issue for long, long lost!

The adivasi – aborigine – communities in India, and elsewhere too, continue to believe that 'no one – an individual or a group – has right to own the Land', behave and live for millennia. The onslaught wrecked on them by the civilized societies, for the past five thousand years, did not change their belief, behaviour and way of living.



Architecture - What is it? Basically a Shelter!
Personally for me architecture has been only a Utility, a means for survival. I don't hold that ‘title’ any more. I was, perhaps the 1ST “Idiot”, long before Aamir Khan’s movie, “3 Idiots”, came; I had unceremoniously walked away from the first day of final, qualifying examination.

They – the aborigine – believe, behave and live, 'Walk the Talk', whole heartedly in harmony with Mother Nature to sustain living.

Land Revenue Act and its instrument 'Land Survey Maps' have been more sinister than the black law, the 'Land Acquisition Act' that followed. It was a sinister blow to the ancient 'Unwritten Law of Mother Nature'.


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©Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

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