Indian Cities:Some General Characteristics

English: View of Dal Lake and the city of Srin...

English: View of Dal Lake and the city of Srinagar from Shankaracharya Hill (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Although it is true that it is very difficult to see generality in towns because towns in India and in the world are system in themselves some similarities can be seen in the cities . Besides that in general the towns are so unique individually that even categorizing two cities in one single category poses many problems. Nevertheless a pattern emerges in organization and there are some similarity in characteristics of India towns. A modest attempt has been done here to list some of their characteristics.

          Strong Agricultural Base

 In a great majority of cases towns have still very strong agricultural elements within them. The smaller ones are indeed little more than large market villages with the same very local administrative function added; perhaps two or three central streets inadequately paved and lighted give the semblance of an urban formation. Even in so large a city as Agra herds of dairy buffaloes are driven out in the morning, back in the evening ‘hour of cow-dust’.

           Administrative Base

 Large number of towns are primarily administrative : they may have been local commercial centres and market villages picked as headquarters of districts or their sub-divisions mainly on account of centrality. For the most part these have a strikingly uniform cast, owing to the alien and hierarchical character of the administration of British India.

          Mixed Residential pattern And Disticttiveness Too!!

  Most Indian cities (and large sections of even the greatest of them) have not separated residential and other functions to the same extent as occidental towns.

            Yet if the separation of work from residence often hardly exists, there is a very strong tendency (at all lends from village to metropolis) for members of each religious community, caste or race to live together. This is only to be expected in the general social context of India. Notable examples are the pols of Ahmedabad and the Parsee housing estates of Mumbai and where there are very large number of Chinese, has in Calcutta there is a China town – as indeed happens universally.

            The British in India as it were fused this communal separatism with their own emphasis on class. Large Indian cities generally consist of two entirely distinct areas ; the old Indian city, a squalid but picturesque confusion and the monotonously planned open-developed town of European style bungalows with large gardens along straight, broad roads, aloof and boring in a high degree and absolutely dead in the heat of the day. These two are very often separated by the railway which – in some cases apparently by design – forms a broad barrier with few crossings ; the motivation of ‘Internal security’ is obvious. The ‘Civil tines’ contain the official residence of the local bureaucracy and such hangera-on as the more flourishing layers; architecture is European. The railway colony is generally on a far less generous scale, but on the mathematically rectilinear lines. The cantonment explain themselves, but they generally had a little Indian enclave, the bazaar to serve the needs, material and some times other, f the troops : this was necessary as for the most obvious reasons the Indian city was strictly out of bounds.

            Colonial Heritage

Although this distinction (between the main city and civil line area) is fading fast but to this date most of the cities retain their colonial heritage.

            Post Indepence Cities

Although this is true for the old cities of India but the newly developed cities which are developed in the post independence period has a character of their own, the tendency now is that of small towns developing into big cities with infrastructural links.

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