2011 has been a turning point. For the first time in history, the number of people living in Earth’s cities exceeded the population of rural areas. In the winter of 2010-2011 I’ve spent 5 months in the largest cities of India, documenting the characteristics of some of the fastest growing metropolises on the planet.
The many thousand year old Indian culture entered a liminal state, when due to a huge economic boom, ancient tradition is merging with the new lifestyles of the western world. Being one of the most powerful countries in Asia, Indian cities are now expanding in a faster rate then ever. India’s population doubled since 1967, providing a constant problem for city planners. While the British colonial style buildings of city centers are slowly decaying amidst sprawling vegetation, the construction of new suburban areas are constant on the outskirts.
The large number of new inhabitants, and constant renovations within the city creates serious case of waste management problems. Globalization also leaves its unmistakable marks. The densely decorated streets now present a showcase of western icons and symbols, as deities of a new age, while billboards and advertisements suggest a modern, appealing lifestyle, not yet accessable to most of their audience.
The relevance of observing such a phenomenon lies in the fact that in Eastern Europe (where i spent most of my life so far) most of the above had already happened. But not anymore are we able to tell the difference between our traditional and adopted cultures. Also, by looking at these megapolises, we may have a clue about the the future of mankind, as the powerline of Earth is steadily moving towards Asia.
buy enlightement, ranging from an expensive Vipassana course, to souvenirs of any size, colour and type. At the same time Indians themselves approach spirituality in modern way: the TV Buddha (could be an hommage to Nam June Paik) is telling fortune for the cost of an sms.
with ancient, traditional scientific background.
Asia’s largest slum, located in Mumbai, and giving home to 700.000 people, living on 2,2 square kilometers.