While Ahmedabad today is home to some of the best skyscrapers, multiplexes and flyovers, in the past it was more about mills and being the 'Manchester of the East'.Here's a look at the incredible 'makeover'
The past two decades have been very dynamic as they have been a witness to a city that evolved very rapidly and cast off its garb from being just a traditional city of Gujarat to adorning the role of being amongst the leading new-emerging metro cities of the nation. The next year will see the culmination of a decade that began with the tragedy of the earthquake of 2001 where nearly 50 multistoreyed buildings were destroyed followed by another tragedy in 2002 which saw the city burning in communal riots. The commitment of the community, the government and the NRI Gujarati's, in a combined effort, succeeded in retaining the image of a glorious city and today Ahmedabad is one of the leading cities of the country. It all began when in 1818 the British East India Company took over Ahmedabad. This was followed by the establishment of a British Cantonment in 1824, a municipal government in 1858, a railway link to Mumbai in 1864. The presence of an industrial elite, who saw the British rule as a means to procure latest textile technology, ensured that even under colonial rule the city grew affluent and was in fact known as the 'Manchester of the East'. It was from only 1915 that the city took on an active role in the freedom struggle. This struggle gave birth to not just leaders like Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Mahatma Gandhi, but to a philosophy that economic independence and self sustenance is the answer to genuine prosperity. Ahmedabad is divided by the Sabarmati into two physically distinct eastern and western regions. The eastern bank of the river houses the old city with its packed bazaars, the pol system of close clustered buildings, and numerous places of worship and heritage buildings. It also houses the main railway station and the GPO.The western bank facilitated by the construction of Ellis Bridge in 1875 and later with the modern Nehru Bridge, houses educational institutions, modern buildings, well-planned residential areas,shopping malls, multiplexes and new business districts centered around roads such as Ashram Road, CG Road & Sarkhej-Gandhinagar highway.
Post-Independence saw the structure of Ahmedabad city gracefully absorbing and soaking in the new experience of being declared as a provincial town of Mumbai. Growth in all sectors reached its shores. Trade, roads,rails, and ports were established. It was as late as 1960, after its bifurcation from the State of Bombay, that Ahmedabad truly became the State capital of Gujarat.
Thus the 1960's can be truly claimed as that period of Ahmedabad's history where the city came to its own. It expanded not just in terms of square miles but also in the broadening of the mind. Ahmedabad's economic base too was diversified, from textile and gem trading, to the establishment of heavy and chemical industry in its vicinity.
The architecture too took a new turn and materials and technology of the west were very quickly adopted. A large number of educational and research institutes were established. Modern buildings designed by famous architects mushroomed in the urban landscape; Louis Khan who designed the Indian Institute of Management; Corbusier who designed the Shodhan and Sarabhai Villas, the Sanskar Kendra and the Mill Owner's Association, Buckminster Fuller who designed the Calico Dome, the Gandhi Ashram designed by Charles Correa, the School of Architecture, the Sangath, the Doshi-Hussein Gufa by BV Doshi, Achut Kanvinde who designed the Indian Textile Industries Research Association, Hasmukh Patel and Bimal Patel - renowned architects of the city who designed the Xavier's High School Loyola Hall, Gujarat High Court and the Ahmedabad Management Association, and Anant Raje who designed the newest addition of the IIM are a few of the eminent structures that emerged post1960.1974 is that phase of Ahmedabad's history that saw the Nav Nirman Agitation. Ahmedabad took centre stage in national politics. An attempt to revolt against old norms, to establish new laws, wage a war against corruption and reservation all threw the state in turmoil.Despite this the city very successfully rode the 1990 liberalization wave and entered the global arena.
The effects of liberalization of the Indian economy energised the city's economy towards tertiary sector activities like commerce, communication, and construction activities. The city witnessed the establishment of scientific and service industries as well as a dignified expansion of the IT sector and media.
Ahmedabad located on the banks of the river Sabarmati,and boasting of two beautiful lakesthe Kankaria Lake and the Vastrapur lake has its construction activities administered by the AMC and the AUDA. These two organizations have seen to it that the city is well on track to meet the needs of a city that is claiming to be the seventh biggest city in the nation. The Ahmedabad Civil Hospital, the largest in Asia, Sardar Patel Stadium, Mithakali Multi-Sports complex, Public Libraries and many new universities like NIRMA, NID, NIFT, malls, multiplexes, highways, expressways, international airport, five-star hotels and housing activities that are flooding the Ring Road as well as at Naroda, Paldi, Usmanpura and Vastrapura, IT hubs, the Sabarmati River Front Development Project, the Sardar Sarovar dam, bridges, parks, gardens are all just a drop in the ocean of the development that is stretching to accommodate a population of over 50 lakhs as per the 2001 census. In recent years, population is growing,which has resulted in a construction and housing boom. Almost half of all real estate in Ahmedabad is owned by cooperatives and "the spatial growth of the city is to the extent contribution of these organisations." Duplexes, villas and apartments catering to a very cosmopolitan and modern populace are emerging. The coming decade is likely to see a phenomenal growth in real estate and infrastructure. A request for a metro link express for Gandhinagar, a metro rail project between Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad are all going to lead to a vast expansion of development all the way from Ahmedabad to Gandhinagar.
source: Times Of India