Urban Legendhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/urban-legend-8/

Urban Legend

The sights,sounds and streets of Chandigarh are now a constant companion of Patsy Craig — author,artist and cultural enthusiast from the UK.

The sights,sounds and streets of Chandigarh are now a constant companion of Patsy Craig — author,artist and cultural enthusiast from the UK. The city is second home to Craig since 2006,when she landed here for the first time to research for a book on Chandigarh that includes photographs,interviews with a cross-section of localites,essays by local writers and international scholars,and archival material. The working title of the book,which will examine the legacy of Modernist design on Indian society and culture,is Chandigarh Catalogue.

Craig says that every visit to the city offers her new material for her book. “I could do this forever,though the book is 80 per cent done now,” says Craig,who is here these days for the last leg of research for the book. Chandigarh,which she believes to be one of the most significant planning experiments of the 20th century,was her topic of dissertation for a Master’s degree in cultural studies. Awarded a grant from the US-based Graham Foundation to support her work,Craig describes her work-in-progress as “giving voice to Chandigarh not through a foreigner’s eyes,but allowing the city to speak for itself”. With a strong emphasis on visual content, Craig says her book aims to portray the diverse cultural context which she finds lacking in the publications being produced about the city.

Craig has extensively looked at Le Corbusier’s books,and is working closely with an architect and a graphic designer in Canada to focus on her book’s visual element. “My background in fine arts adds value to the effort,” she says. Using the city’s architectural elements to structure her book,Craig says Chandigarh is the most exemplary of Western Modernist experiments and is perhaps the best setting to examine the implementation of Modernist architecture and its sustainability.

There can be no consequential structure without the human element,so Craig focuses on the everyday life of Chandigarh to explore subjects pertaining to history,culture and urbanism. She moves from buildings to sectors to capture the openness and innocence of people,their relationship with nature and their role as citizens of Chandigarh. Juxtaposing day shots with night shots to signify dreams and reality,the text has interviews from people from all walks of life — be it professors or rickshaw pullers. “It’s fascinating how no one is alone in India,” says Craig,adding that her book is an effort to be creative,and not academic.