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Experiences and Encounters in Pune

Archive for the ‘Heritage’ Category

Living in a Changing Environment

Posted by Sanskriti on April 10, 2010

Photography Exhibition curated by the Maharashtra Cultural Center and the Max Mueller Bhavan

8 April to 8 May 2010 at Max Mueller Bhavan, Boat Club Road, Pune 411 001

The exhibition shows photographs of Bhagyashree Bhutada, Prasad Dabke,  Snehal Date, Sanket Deshpande, Rainer Hoerig, Arul Horizon, Pooja Joshi, Meghana Kulkarni, Shamin Kulkarni, Sanskriti Menon, Sujit Patwardhan, Vikrant Thakar

The exhibition unites twelve personal perspectives of the city of Pune. Some of the photographers take you on a discovery tour to places which contribute to the identity of their city threatened by the dynamics of urban development and neglect. Others take a critical look at the ubiquitous billboards which dominate the appearance of large parts of the city and at the new urban lifestyle symbolized by glass and concrete buildings which are neither adapted to the climate nor to the architectural and cultural context. The photographers hope that this exhibition will make a visual contribution to a discussion about the future of their city – a discussion they feel is necessary and urgent.

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The photo-exhibition is the result of a week-long workshop conducted by Stefan Koppelkamm and architect and photographer Peeyush Sekhsaria. Stefan conducted the Places I Like photography workshop in Bangalore in August 2009, and through the facilitation of MMB Pune, we were able to have the workshop in Pune too.

For me, the photo workshop was a way of exploring the old city. We walked about Tulshibagh, Mandai, Kasba, Tambat Ali, Laxmi Road, Narayan Peth looking at paars, changing uses, buildings being pulled down, new buildings replacing old, mandirs subsumed within new buildings, deep stumbhs now standing neglected, little curving lanes, ferns on old crumbling slim red brick walls, shop signs in chalk … We also had thali lunches, nira, kairi panhe, Dharwad pedhe, hot pattice from New Poona Bakery.

Our photos capture some of this flavour and tell stories about Pune.

Pooja’s photos about the brick kilns outside Pune have a story deeper than what is immediately evident. The location of the kiln was probably a farm, now its just a piece of real estate, already sold for construction. The top soil was probably sold separately to another kiln. And so the city and the built environment expands and eats up the surrounding farm land.

Rainer captures the old and the new; physical structures of glass and chrome replace mud and straw huts though remnants of the village are still strewn about. You wonder what became of the people whose village it was. In another photo, the Bombay-Pune road is the setting for the crossing of the Wari that pre-dates the structures in the background – the British water tower and the modern glass-chrome mall. Some collective memories endure and are longer-lived than buildings.

Snehal’s photos of Taljai celebrate the green patches left in our city, though the skyline of the city just beyond tells you just how vulnerable these patches are. Sujit’s photos of shops and vendors in the old core city speak about a type of economy very much alive, vibrant and colourful – but does the key-maker or the Amrutulya know that Pune’s City Development Plan also speaks about a vibrant economy, but that it might mean a very different economy and a very different perception of ‘vibrant’. These little, ‘low-value’ economic activities have no place in the modern city which measures its success by the foot falls in the malls. Vikrant comments on the larger-than-life bill boards and their empty promises.

Arul and I have more personal yet generic stories to tell – of particular people, and the changes in the city seen through their lives. Prasad captures the dull red gleam of the Tambats’ lives. The Mandai that, with its dark, musty and mysterious light, could be a child’s ‘I Spy’ delight – Bhagyashree yearns to see it full of people and life again.

Other photos also show dilapidated structures, beautiful no doubt, but maybe unsafe? A change in land-use, and an increase in the FSI limit will decongest the old core, but de-congest it of what and for what? To replace it with more glass and chrome? Perhaps the photos can be the reason or the excuse or the backdrop for a wider dialogue on what is our city about, whose lives are at stake, and whose vision is shaping the structure of the city and the destiny of its people.

My photos.

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Glimpses of the Workshop

Shamin

Pooja, Peeyush, Stefan

Sujit, Bhagyashree and Snehal compare cameras

Sujit, Bhagyashree and Snehal compare cameras

Rainer and Stefan

Prasad, Stefan, Peeyush

Mandai

Posted in Community, Development Plan, Heritage, Places in Pune, Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

Tambat Ali, Pune

Posted by Sanskriti on July 25, 2009

CEE and Intach organized a visit on 18 July 2009 to Tambat Ali for meeting one of the master craftsmen and to try and understand this famous craft of Pune. Tambat Ali in Pune has existed since the time the Peths were first created by Chhatrapati Shivaji. The tambats came to Pune from the Konkan. Seven generations have lived in Kasba Path. There used to 12 to 15 families earlier, of which only 2 seem to be active in the present day. Reasons for the decline include increasing pressures of modern development, land prices, and the ‘slow market’ for copper work. 

Mr Kadu informed about the linkages with Aksharnandan and Sahyadri schools. Students from Design schools, as well as crafts people from other countries visit and sometimes undergo short internships here. Intach has organized 3 workshops in recent times, with a view to discussing ways of enhancing the craft. Recent discussions have also thrown up the idea that an alternative location could be found at Mundhwa for the interested Tambat families to create a Copper Crafts Village. Or may be a copper village could be made right here, in situ. The historic and traditional location, where the Tambat families have always been, just a few minutes from Shaniwar Wada – I think no matter what the land prices, its only right that this is where the bumbs, oil lamps and little copper kitchen sets for little girls should continue to be made.

Here are some pictures.

Tambat Ali

Posted in Heritage | 12 Comments »