Amaravati: “Ambition is fine, but outlandish ideas are not”
The Telugus in their fifties, including Chandrababu Naidu, the self-styled Architect of New Andhra Pradesh, might be well aware of the “Goli Soda”.
One used a little wooden gizmo covered with a rubber band to push in a marble stuck in the mouth of a bottle and guzzles the sweet, fizzy drink with the marble dancing around inside the neck of the bottle and felt full and satiated.
But it was mostly “GAS”.
It’s a feeling lot like that these days, looking over the narrative that is being built around the construction of Amaravati, the much hyped would be world class capital city, and Babu must be going through rough times to create the Gas for the fizz to keep the spirits of the Telugus to dance like the marble in the Goli Soda bottle.
Every day there is saccharine shot over this design or that design of the Capital city, but let us face it that we are being forced to drink Amaravati Goli Soda and feel the fizz and go fly ecstatic in the Gas clouds.
While we are being offered Goli Soda, the drumbeat of dismal Designing process continues.
By all means, three years after the process of constructing the so called world class capital city began the Design selection drama continues cause confusion and ridicule. Designs are being revised with metronomic regularity.
To everybody’s surprise or is it at the cost of foolishness of all Telugus that cherish to live on cinematic fantasies, Babu has been brainstorming with Rajamouli, the architect of Cinematic graphical capital Mahismathi to map a path out of this self-designed morass.
Out of nowhere, the grand project has slipped into a morass of bad taste, the favoring of special interests and the use of public funds to all these dramas of design selection.
Ever since the design process had begun, For Naidu and company, the designs prepared by foreign companies from Maki of Japan to Norman Foster’s firm had lacked the spice and fusion which Naidu had been seeking as they did not meet his Vaastu superstition.
Lo and behold, to help the project to get on track, Naidu has now roped in the biggest architect who built a capital city before whom all the work of Pritzker Prize winners like Maki and Fosters look amateurish.
Yes, I am talking about SS Rajamouli, the designer of Mahismathi.
Well, I might have gone a bit above the ground. Mahismathi is a CGI fantasy and Rajamouli has never constructed anything in his life. But, that does not mean he cannot give Foster and Partner tips on the Indian spirits, (I mean not on Andhra Goli Soda).
One need not be surprised if all international input on designs of Amaravati is suspended and the entire thing handed over to Contractor Rajamouli.
Roping in Rajamouli to contribute his designing skills to the architecture of Amaravati had already created waves of laughter and ripples of indignation among architects and urban planners, who were already sore with Babu for inviting foreign experts to plan and design the world class capital, a manifestation of neglecting Indian talent.
A grand project has now turned into a train wreck due to virtual world ambition of Naidu who is going around mudding the already murky waters of Krishna on banks of which he plans to build a city without petrol filling stations, where only vehicles ply like those unidentified flying objects in the Harry potter’s magic world.
This is the vision of Babu which aims at promoting modern life style with foundation in tradition values- a collection of catch-phrases and jumlas.
Now, by seeking the advice of Rajamouli, Naidu, wants the mythological Mahismathi to restore Andhra’s lost glory.
Well however laudable the idea to resurrect the forms of the past to symbolize links with the present , it certainly ridiculous thought to turn the Andhra Capital into ‘Bahubali” sets.
In a country where history and mythology are inseparable in public imagination and Political grandstanding, restoring the to the visions of fictional Mahismathi to revive the historic memories of Telugus, in the political project of Amaravati should not come as a surprise.
No doubt, the grand project that started on firm ground had now slipped into a morass of grandstanding and turning into a Jumla.
It’s all fizz and gas of Andhra Goli Soda.