AS THE first Indian Chief Architect of Chandigarh M N Sharma was honoured with the lifetime achievement award by the UT Administration at the age of 92, he questioned the purpose of honouring a person at this age when he did not even know if he would be awake next morning to feel the happiness of that award. He said that from next time, the administration should not wait for anybody to reach an age of 90 to honour them for their work.
While Sharma was to be conferred the lifetime achievement award on Friday at the international symposium, ‘Celebrating Le Corbusier’s Chandigarh, 50 Years After the Master’. However, he could not attend the event due to poor health. On Sunday, UT Adviser Vijay Kumar Dev went to his residence to confer the award.
As two people helped him stand from his sofa to receive the award, Sharma said, “I am feeling lucky to be honoured at an age of 92 for my contribution to the city beautiful.”
Talking to Chandigarh Newsline, Sharma said, “I believe that the UT Administration should honour the person when he/she is 50-60 years old so that he/she could feel happy about the honour for few years and not at an age of 92. However, I think that age is never a bar, provided you are gifted to create something new and give happiness to others.”
Asked if the UT Administration honoured him for the first time, Sharma said, “Why only UT Administration? Even India has never honoured us. Le Corbusier was also not honoured during his time by the UT Administration. We do not have a culture of honouring the outsiders or our own people for their outstanding contribution. The community of architects is most ignored.”
Sharma said that the honours had gone to politicians and the ones who had assisted them and supported them in their ideologies. “I have received this honour not for doing something yesterday but throughout my life. I have done a lot and have worked a lot, now the situation is that I cannot even sit by myself,” he added.
While presenting the award to Sharma, Dev said, “This honour is not even an iota of what M N Sharma has done for the city. His valuable contribution will always be considered and whatever he has envisioned for the city beautiful, will be implemented.”
On the occasion, Sharma shared his vision for Smart Chandigarh as the UT Administration has been running a contest on ‘Vision for Smart Chandigarh in one line’. “A clear view of mountains from everywhere in the city should be the vision of Chandigarh which is already smart and the purpose of the city beautiful should be to spread happiness as much as possible,” Sharma said.
He said like the Capitol Complex which has now been opened to general public, the Governor house should also give an access to the public on the days when Governor was not available or certain section of the House should have a separate access so that students, residents and families could visit it.