Why India Needs Smart Villages Not Smart Cities

Social Commentary

Why India Needs Smart Villages Not Smart Cities

Illustration: Shruti Yatam


n the landmark novel Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino writes, “You take delight not in a city’s seven or seventy wonders, but in the answer it gives to a question of yours.” Every Indian city I’ve lived and worked in asks more questions than it hopes to answer, but it all comes down to the penultimate one: “Can you survive me?” That, is an Indian city in a nutshell, all about surviving everything that it throws at you.  

Indian cities overturn the old adage, “Why fix it if it ain’t broke” – for our perpetually wounded urban spaces, it seems more like a case of asking what if it is so broke, you can’t fix it? Our cities have long served as an illustration of wretchedness, of ghostly lives punctuated by the light of modern decadence. They’ve turned into dysfunctional, inhospitable, and in some cases plain unlivable places.