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The Lousy Wayfarers of Lutyen's Delhi | Observing the littering behavior in public places

The Connaught Place skyline

I was walking down the wide, ever-bustling and beautiful passageways of Connaught Place, New Delhi in a humid monsoon evening. I have time and again, taken refuge in the heritage marketplace of Lutyen’s Delhi from the mounting heaps of dullness and monotony that often lays siege to my days. The sight of thrilled faces, walking down the walkways of this magnificent business district built on the lines of Georgian architecture has always galvanized me with an eager sense of purpose.

Poorly maintained storm water channels

Water channels choked from littering

It was 8:30 PM in the evening when I decided to click this snap after I decided to sit back on a bench to relax after a long walk. The clogged water from a fresh monsoon shower beneath my feet turned my attention away. The water, which was meant to be directed to the greeneries along the walkway via water channels, was meanly passing through.

This sight took my mind down the memory lane straightaway. I suddenly remembered the exchange I had with one of the jury members in World Architecture Festival. It was a bright morning in Berlin and I, along with my teammates, were explaining our comprehensive redevelopment scheme of Mandi House, which included the idea of storm-water management by the means of drainage channels along the roads. The proposed channels were not only meant to be carrying the storm-water away but were also to act as edges along the road that promoted amusement, leisure, and refreshment. Upon hearing this proposal, one American jury member pointed out his concern straight away:

“You people have come here with this proposal from India. I know Indians. Pardon me saying this but you Indian people are a corrupt mass. You plan to dig channels that carry water along the walkways, and I say this with my knowledge of your people, these channels will be turned into a stinking disaster, with trash thrown into them; and wayfarers finding these water channels as another opportunity to spit tobacco or even urinate; during all times of the day.”

Our minds were filled with sundry emotions upon hearing his argument. Whilst we were coping with the tetchy line of reasoning thrown at us, we could not arrive at a seamless comeback. We tried to counter his words with the best arguments we could, but all the counters were not absolute and just right.

The images of Connaught Place - a neighboring district to

Mandi House in the Lutyen’s Bungalow Zone, present a similar scenario of corruption and neglect observed on the part of people who visit the place.

Sitting on the bench that lied next to the choked drains, I wondered:

To what extent, was the argument we faced during our jury in Berlin true?
Could we come up with a counter-argument that could mark our successful comeback?
Was it a crude, but an accurate narrative of our people and the moral corruption that they encompass in their public realms, or was the jury member simply touting his preconceptions about our people?
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