Monday, 26 November 2012

Water Celebration at Sarkhej Roza, Ahmadabad

Traditional Wisdom of Indian Artisans


Sarkhej Roza seen from the pond


We, and all the life forms on the Earth, are waterborne. Our first ancestors were bacteria. Our body contains 70% water. Water has special place almost in all cultures.

(Note: The following text generally refers to the Place; and the photographs are not in any particular sequence of the text or the Place.)

Embankment with steps

Sarkhej Pond attached to Sarkhej Roza (14th Century) is about 7 Km from Ahmadabad city. We — SN Kanade, other friends and I — used to take bicycle rides to visit the place. With Urban Explosion now it is part of the city.

Circular Gates for Overflow

This hot-dry region has scanty rainfall during monsoon. Many areas are under desert.

The built tank adjoining the Roza is indeed a Public Open Place. The pavilions obviously ware for royal families.


The Roza, a religious place, a complex of many buildings, has a good Tree cover.
Water from the tank seeps through Soil and reaches the Plants at Roza and goes even beyond.

The water tanks are central public places in traditional Indian cities and towns. This feature of habitats in India is evolved over centuries appropriate to tropical climate.

Villages, too, have built water reservoirs besides open wells. In Orissa villages, the peasant houses have fish ponds nearby.

Reservoirs help to maintain water level in the surrounding wells.
Where there is water there is life — plants and animals.

Ornate Pavilions

Water, Soil, Plants and Animals — an invisible Natural Organic Community — the Universal Basis of Sustainable Life!

Water brings, restores, recycles, and conserves more water through the Natural Organic Community mentioned above.

Water Reservoirs coupled with Urban Forests are vital to relieve the modern cities from being Heat Sinks in India.
The retaining earth around the tank is lined with steps of stones. Imaginative play of shade and light along the day happens!
Due to decades of silting and lack of maintenance, the tank now becomes dry during drought.

The tank was perhaps built under the patronage of rulers. This is an act of returning part of the wealth collected through taxes to People, I presume.
The Complex was built by the Indian Artisans with their traditional knowledge, besides many historical buildings.

Perhaps, now in the present Democratic setup, there is no mechanism for Maintenance of such Public Places by the local communities? 

Water overflow opening from pond side

The local People's Participation is the only way for the governments, in the context of continued maintenance; not the present capitalist system of Public–Private Participation.

Water overflow opening from outside
  I understand, from Internet (Link), an initiative of public participation for restoration of the tank is started. This is a welcome move. Water is brought from a village to fill the pond. Some gardens are developed with lawns and flowering shrubs, typical of ruling taste among the urbanite. On the contrary such a place should be self sustaining.

SN KANADE at Sarkhej Roza
SN Kanade, architect-planner-educationist, now lives and practices at Bangalore  

Any such restoration should be in tune of the 'SPIRIT OF PLACE' and in 'HARMONY WITH NATURE'. 
Some archaeological study of the place could reveal which plants existed in the 14th century in the premises.

A good tree cover brings water to the land, is an established fact. They raise the subsoil water table. In fact the plantation should continue to expand from here in the region, in reverse action to expanding desert!



Life is larger than all Arts, Sciences, Religions, Philosophies, trade, techs, States... made by civilized societies through times and places. — Remigius de Souza

Google Map Sarkhej Pond at Sarkhej Roza Complex

View Sarkhej Pond, Ahmedabad, Gujarat in a larger map
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© Remigius de Souza. All rights reserved.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Toy seller of rainbow colours in Mumbai

Home made toys for all

Toy seller in Mumbai- 1
 This toy is most popular. It is universal and timeless. The young man has learnt this craft by .himself; no schools or books referred to. The question of survival is utmost priority for the displaced, in the hostile city to migrants from villages. He found this option in a most creative way.

It is very economical to build, with bamboo stick, paper and bit of a wire. It runs on wind energy. There are several variations available.

The elders may encourage children to make it, and watch how they could use available materials. They may begin to do it first, to set an example!  

The toy seller arranges his stock with imagination. Whenever there is breeze the toys throw rainbows in 180 degrees.

Toy seller in Mumbai- 2

The toy seller was often chased away by the shopkeepers, if he stood in front of their shops. . Hence he was standing almost in the middle of the street. The two photographs were taken within half an hour, as he moved from one place another.

The Agencies are hardly aware of the Dynamic Energy of the People – Ryot.

© Remigius de Souza. All rights reserved.

Monday, 12 November 2012

'Honey-Bee-Hive' experience

'Honey-Bee-Hive' — Universal Icon of Environment-Ecology-Energy

Natural Apiary

'Honey-Bee-Hive' experience has a point that we must not ignore or forget.

Bees collect honey by travelling several kilometres daily. Besides they help pollination, which increases yield of fruits and farm produce.

In the 'trade' of 'Honey' the Bees don't receive even a least of the cost, price, value or worth of their labour and skill. Forget profit.

The profit on honey is earned by the third party — agents, transporters, toll-tax collector and traders; it's a long chain from the depleting forest to city.

Honeybees, if at all survive; they lose their home and natural habitat.

It is the same story of the peasants and the aborigines in our agrarian country.

Paddy farming in Konkan | Image by Pooja Rani
One may not comprehend the extent of this work, which spans entire year, from photographs or papers.However one may get a glimpse from "Cow dung, Rice and Amartya Sen (a critique): Challenges of 21st Century" and farmers' needs in contemporary context.

Community Participation is a major common feature of the bees and peasants-aborigines, besides may other species and communities. It is an ancient tradition amongst the peasants of India, also may elsewhere.

They are 'out of sight, hence, out of mind' of the ruling class of elite minority.

Honey-Bee-Hive Icon of 

"Honey-Bee-Hive" relates to Environment, Ecology and Energy, simultaneously and comprehensively. Examples are better than scholarly definitions.

NOTE: The beehive in the photo is a “natural apiary” developed by social workers of Anand Niketan, a NGO in the hills near Lonavala. It is different than that developed by the industrial Society for mass production: a colony for bees made of wooden boxes.

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© Remigius de Souza. All rights reserved.