TO MAKE ONE PROUD
1600 / TO / CURRENT
Leading by example; by restoring their house, John and Kinnari brought awareness to the forgotten beauty of these homes and more importantly they made a statement that it was possible to have a modern lifestyle within the Old city.
Their efforts garnered attention from various institutions like B.V Doshi's Vastu Shilpa Foundation, who sponsored the documentation of the pol under the US AID Research Voucher Programme in 1997.
The local Alliance Francaise and its director Olivier Debre brought the French Ambassador and the French Cultural Minister, Christian Dupavillon to Jethabhai ni Pol; who were then inspired to restore haveli’s and temples themselves. Consequently they sent a team from The Paris Heritage Office to study and document the uniqueness of Ahmedabad’s architecture.
Kartikeya Sarabhai, the director of The Centre for Environmental Education, a government branch, aided John and Kinnari to create workshops that that shed light onto their community regarding health, hygiene and an appreciation for the heritage of their built environment.
However, even after all their efforts and due to no landmark or heritage laws, the old houses kept getting demolished. Therefore, they decided to purchase the houses to save them, over 20 years they were able to procure six of them. All of them are currently being renovated.
Ahmedabad's Old city is now a UNESCO world heritage city and the local Municipal Commission has put forth 'Heritage' laws but it is slow going. The houses continue to be used as godowns and whole sale shops which cause the houses to dilapidate and the old narrow streets congested with pollution and traffic, there are no parking areas and new apartments exasperate the already overburdened infrastructure of the old neighbourhoods.
In the meanwhile the 'bottom up' effort of making our immediate environment beautiful continues in Jethabhai ni pol with the hope that 'top down' legislation and building codes for the Old City will meet us halfway.