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Ashis Nandy engrosses audience in political discourse

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If you have a great tradition in any domain of knowledge you have to find out in what form that tradition survives in present day, said Ashis Nandy during a talk on political discourse on politics of art form at National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) on June 19.

The event was held to discuss politics of vernacular architecture and how R L Kumar and others of his kind constantly explored the relationship of architectural practice and theory with politics, culture and history.

R L Kumar was a renowned vernacular architect who passed away on June 23, 2012. He believed that traditional practices of building craft are more relevant resource for good living. He was deeply influenced by Ashis Nandy, political psychologist and social theorist who was present at the event.

Addressing the gathering, Ashis Nandy said, “Kumar never missed out on the politics of any art form or any mode of self expression. He insisted on discovering the political meaning and political implication of all modes of self expression, and architecture was only one of them.”

Kumar’s decision to call himself vernacular artist was a political act, he added.

Remarking on the works of R L Kumar, Himanshu Burte, an architect said, “Kumar’s work has been extremely engaging. His work is not completely accomplished but what he built was warm, inviting and had a poetic look to it.”

Kumar was a critical thinker and he was critical enough to see architecture as a process. He saw architecture from a political perspective through his commitment, he added.

Random Rubble, a collection of essays by R L Kumar was launched posthumously. The copies of the book were handed to people who contributed in its completion.

-AIMAN, II MS COMM

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