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   I have never been to Chandigarh, only heard about it... (June 20, 1986)

I have never been to Chandigarh, only heard about it. How Courbusier was given a large area of flat land, a rim of hills in the blue distance, and told to build a city on it.

I understand it is built into sectors, like a military camp, between the sctors there are vacant lands where it is dangerous to pass through in the nights. Each sector is supposed to be a complete module, but the city has overgrown its plan. Now, soon, wisely or otherwise, it will be the state capital of Punjab and further overgrow itself.

Among the state capitals, undoubtedly, the most beautiful is Simla or Himachal Pradesh. That would be capital worth fighting for, not Chandigarh.

And Bangalore, Karnataka's capital, with its rose gardens, parklands, a racecourse in the, centre of the city, a pleasantly bracing climate through the year, its cantonment, the streets with British army names, some of the finest book shops in the country, rows of cinemas, Mavelli Tiffin Rooms, Ramakrishna Hegde, it makes a worthy capital city.

Trivandrum is smaller, quieter, in spite of its many leftist governments. It is also a clean city, the people civilised, a cinema industry all its own, a zoo on a terraced hill. Kerala, not the commercial, which is Ernakulam-Cochin. It exists so quietly, that the rest of the country forgets it most of the time.

Nobody forgets Calcutta, though. It is large and squalid and overflowing, mostly with Bengalis and Biharis. That is the difference between Bombay and Calcutta, Bombay is an Indian city, Calcutta is a Bangali city.

And Madras is very much a Tamilian city, but, unlike in Calcutta, you are not reminded about it all the time. Perhaps, Madras is what all Indian cities once were, with its Fort, main road, century-old colleges, the sea with a beach that stretches miles away, large cinema posters and the country's first cinema politicians.

Patna is probably the least developed among the state capitals, after Chandigarh, that is. It is the city of the Ganga, with its own river shipping, ferries across the river.

I have never been to Bhopal and now, probably, I never will. There has been too much tragedy in that city, all of it man-made. But I have been to Indore several times, stayed there. It is the commercial capital of Madhya Pradesh, a busy truck junction, the seat of the Holkars, the city of Colonel C. K. Nayudu.

And Hyderabad and Secuderabad, twin cities, filled with imposing structures of the Nizams, like a film set. There is a separate culture attacthed to these cities, an old culture. It does not belong to Andhra Pradesh, as, possibly, Chandigarh does not belong to Punjab.

 
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