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Nari Gandhi on Ethics and the State of the Profession (1984)

Shared by Jagdeep Desai

This was in 1984, when Jagdeep Desai, former editor at the Journal of Indian Institute of Architects, received a reply from Nari Gandhi on his question about the state of architecture profession in India. From the text of his reply, Nari Gandhi seemed very disturbed and frustrated with the profession.

Nari Gandhi - Architecture Quote

“The reply from Nari Gandhi covered almost every millimeter of space available on the inland letter, including the flaps…” – Shared, Jagdeep Desai.

The text from the reply (as it was received) is following:


I have recd your letter and in answer to that this letter comes to you = My stay here is now very short and therefore I can’t reply in any detail = Architecture is what Gentleman is among beings without integrity that crowd the surfacity today. Gandhiji was a Gentleman if Nehru was not in that context = So you will see how few if ever Architecture has to sprout can come about = There can never be much of it = Politically anything put together may pass off as Architecture and one qualified by the unqualified he can call himself an Architect = Life without character is not a worthy life = That of a blade of grass is better and nobler = it is this that we lack totally = Philosophy when talked about and not lived is simply HYPOCRACY = And it is everywhere = How can you have low cost when all the NOC cost so much = So even if you had a no cost building it will be a high cost structure = I cant and I do not build anything in the city. To deny small practice is not possible only big can survive = They live by bribes and favours exchanged by jobs on a glass of liquor or food = Housing is not an obligation of the administration that we call Government it is individual needs answered by individuals = it never was never can be = You may not like this but this is the sad state of the affairs we call Architecture.



Thursday 9th August [1984]


Book: India: Unbuilt Architecture

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