Tuesday, 15 July 2014

A Report on Guest lecture: Colonial Architecture in Bangalore

On the Saturday afternoon of 12th July 2014, Mr Ampat Varghese, addressed the English Honours class; regarding colonial architecture especially in Bangalore. Mr Varghese works as News Editor with the Deccan Herald Student Edition in Bangalore since June 2013. The concept of colonialism was introduced as being intertwined with capitalism and conservatism. The hour long session that followed was informative and thought provoking at the same time.  One of the ideas discussed in length was the “colonization of mind” which is a perpetual phenomenon in a post-colonial world.

The idea of “Space” and “Place” was also discussed and how they play an important role in analysis of architecture. The architectural marvels of Bangalore like the Sir Puttanachetty Town Hall, Mayo Hall are all classic examples of colonial architecture. The foundations of both the buildings have been laid down at the heights of colonial power in India as a part of British developmental projects in India.

The colonial architecture of the Mayo Hall and Town Hall can be juxtaposed that by the Neo Dravidian architecture of the Vidhan Soudha. Inaugurated in 1965, it is one of those few buildings that has escaped the influence of colonialism. A visual presentation enhanced our understanding of architecture. Malls are one such space which has been heavily impacted by colonial architecture. The concept of “high rise building” is also a colonial construct.

The presentation left us wondering about our constant struggle to decolonize our minds. How difficult it is to escape the shackles of colonialism? Or is it possible at all? These are questions that stays with us while the quest for answers continues in a postcolonial world.

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