Shaping identity of Tier-Two City through collective memory


Keywords: Collective memory, Public memory, Place identity, Sociability, Local communities, Historical narratives, Intangibles, Continuity, living heritage

Author: Rasika Haval | Krvia – Post Graduate Program | 2021

The thesis aims to use collective memory as a medium for tier two cities to draw out the nuanced forms of place identity and set a framework to enable development integrated with conservation practice in the historic urban environments .This thesis looks to form a framework that would highlight the uniqueness and peculiarities as crucial characters of place identity.  The case of conservation of the historic two-tier city of Kolhapur would focus on preserving the living unique character of the city’s heritage in everyday public spaces through the medium of history, public memory, and place identity. The historic neighborhoods and urban fabric holding the historicity within it would allow for embracing of the change in patterns w.r.t people’s association to the place. 

This thesis is an attempt to see up till where the idea of collective memory can reach and how the memories are housed in different parts of cities to decipher the relations between spatial transformations in the historic built environments w.r.t to experiential collective memory networks and use the public memory act as a tool to establish the place identity concerning the people and its spaces.  The crucial local narratives are brought up to counter the generic perceptions being formed by prevalent or dominant visual imagery.

Narrowing down to the prominent memories which locals talked about lead to the history of Kolhapur’s culture i.e Kushti being a prominent identity as a part of people’s past lives, their memories, and form of entertainment in the past. The aspect of Talim was further considered to peek into detail study as we see a major lag in today’s scenario of the city where Talims are ceasing and the identity of Kushti is fading in this historic city. The Talims of the city plays an important role as a social institution in the city. The Talim being the center promoting fitness, moral values, wrestling spirit, sense of unity remains intact in the city of Kolhapur. The study emphasis establishing a network of Talims in the walled city. The idea of Talim as a social institution in the city is being evolved since historic times is somewhere losing its importance in contemporary times but the idea of social space is still constant where the use of Talims has transformed over the decades. The evolutionary system of Talims remain robust till today forming tangible and intangible connections with the city.

The Memories which have also been on a shifting terrain have been considered as subjective and cannot be treated in isolation. So the Talims in the city is acting as urban catalysts w.r.t typologies identified in the urban context. These Talim typologies being an idea of social space and sites of public memory act as an urban impulse to the site conditions.  Lastly, Talims have never had the type of built significance endorsed by conventional conservation practice but they have always allowed for a sense of community cohesion and w.r.t activities, network, location and thus embracing the idea of Robust evolutionary form of Talims and the continuation of memories associated by connecting generations through which it is possible to activate the public sites where the historic events are unfolded, and the past, present and future dimensions of the inhabitants of the historic cities are preserved.

Text & Image Credit: Rasika Haval | Krvia – Post Graduate Program | Urban Conservation

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