When a horrifying earthquake in 2001 reduced large parts of the 16-century city of Bhuji to rubble, residents shook their heads with disbelief, awed at the prospect of reconstruction. Five years after the unforgettable morning, this book narrates the city’s story of urban development over 450 tumultuous years, revisiting the work of potentates and commoners as they went about shaping its charming, if idiosyncratic, outline.
Illustrated with pictures and stories obtained from residents, museums, and local organizations in Bhuji, the book combines ethnography, a comment on the relationship between craft and city building, and a thought-provoking critique of present-day development trends. Rare 19th and 20th century photographs complement the book’s narrative, which describes the fascinating economic role that the arts have played in city building, and the prospects ahead to marshal them as instruments of future development. It is a book for citizens and visitors wanting an unconventional introduction to Bhuji, and a portfolio of evidence for city planners, policy-makers, and investors in the city – disaster or no disaster.
Azhar Tyabji read art history, history and community planning at university, and has since worked with organizations in India, Morocco and the United States on heritage conservation and urban development projects, most recently with the Environmental Planing Collarborative in Ahmedabad, India. This is his first book.
129 b/w photos