Friday, February 2, 2018

Outskirts of New Town- Juxtaposed lives and unknown stories

When a satellite town is planned suitable land is sought. Those who are occupying the suitable land are usually asked to abandon agreeing on the compensation offered. Often the compensation remains inadequate and people protest eventually disposseing the land and their everydaylife.

Eventually, they leave and settle down in crowded outskirts of the township. The state takes initiatives to build construct as many things as possible to restrict entries. New Town, Kolkata, surrounded by numerous villages is no exception. There are existing villages and shanty like neighbourhoods for uprooted people. Many of the settled people had to abandon land at a price which is more than 100 times to 1500 times less than what they were paid about 20 years ago.

Hence, people here, the 'indigenous' ones can barely overcome the trauma and the loss. Meanwhile, Kaleidoscope belongs to a college which is established at the heart of the new town with  a postmodern glassy building not much different from the shopping malls which are concentrated in the region. Students here comes from those villages and shanties. On the one hand they experience their uprooted everydaylife and on the other hand they witness all the gated communities, mall going youngsters. There seems to be an identity crisis as they are squizzed between the extravagance of IT industry based  satellite town and its outskirts. There are juxtaposed realities and the fleeting positions which continue to seek for an anchor which is long lost.

Meanwhile, when Kaleidoscope attempts to explore some of the villages he could readily identify the boundaries. In a village near Shapoorjee complex there are farmers still unwilling to give up their land and cultivating while a fast food chain Katleen has entered. Meanwhile, cash is coming through the occupation of house keeping by the men and maids by the women. There are opportunists forming syndicate of labour and material supply to the massive constructions working with an alliance to the local politics. Hence, there are all sorts of juxtapositions. While there are still basket makers, farmers and fishermen; starving bodies in the shanties, people living in extreme poverty,  people trying to marry off their daughters in tender age and seeking superstitious practices for remedies; there are others enjoying the seepage from the capital intensive exchanges in the areas where the city is growing fast.

Kaleidoscope along with few of his willing friends went crossing the sweage that carries most the waste water of the town to explore the villages of the uprooted. However, there are only bamboo bridges which allows the villagers to walk through only or at most carry a motorcycle slowly without riding. This perhaps represents how the canal is 'protecting' the .'outisiders'  to intrude the planned everydaylife of town. On their way back, Kaleidoscope and his friends discovered the tea stall near the college being evicted! Perhaps the 'outsiders' were intruding as a mechanism to earn a livelihood!

A couple of photos and supporting story may be found in the following links.

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