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Maidan is an open public park located right at the centre of Kolkata in India. It was constructed in the late 1700s as a parade ground for the forces of the British East India Company who were stationed at the newly constructed Fort William. The place is now a testament to the silent burial of nature in an evolving world of concrete - a swamp essentially, gradually filled up through colonial and postcolonial urban development, also performing the bifurcation of the city between its civil and military divisions. This odd ‘park’ of our times is a symptom of how our cities are denaturalised and then renaturalised, a representation of urbanity as a recombination of the natural and social. The natural is hardly an antediluvian ‘root’ here, but more of a new space, a context but also a medium of housing many oddities of human action and life, some marginal, some occupational and some simply leisurely.
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