Chandigarh: The first Indian chief architect of the city beautiful Chandigarh, M N Sharma breathed his last during the wee hours on Sunday. He was 93. His last rites were a subtle affair performed on Monday at Sector 25 Chandigarh.
Born on August 4, 1923, Sharma who worked with legendry architect Le Corbusier died after prolonged illness. He has been survived by two sand and two daughters. He was chosen to be the first chief architect in 1965 after the retirement of Pierre Jeanneret.
One of his daughters, Priya Ojha said that Sharma complaint about chest pain in wee hours after which family members rushed him to hospital but Sharma suffered heart attack and died on the way to the hospital.
A graduate from the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), M N Sharma was first associated with the Chandigarh’s first plan started by architectural firm of Mathew Nowicki and Albert Mayer.
He joined the capitol project in June 1950 and worked with the American team for the first master plan. In 1951, he joined the team of the architects led by Le Corbusier.
After the exit of Pierre Jeanerret in 1965, it was Sharma who was handed over the Batten by the Frenchman. He was instrumental in the design of the second phase of development of Chandigarh during his tenure from 1965-1979, and formed a formidable pair with Dr M S Randhawa.
Mourning on the sad demise of the exemplary artist, Parimal Rai, Adviser to the Administrator, UT, Chandigarh said, “It seems that the architectural umbilical cord of Chandigarh, connecting the birth of the City Beautiful with Corbusier has finally snapped. It’s a sad day for Chandigarh.”
Home Secretary Anurag Aggarwal laid the wreath on behalf of the UT Administration as a tribute to the departed soul. Kapil Setia, Chief Architect, and Sumit Kaur, former chief architect, said Sharma was always concerned about preserving the character of the city. He contributed a lot for completing the projects of Le Corbusier.
The architect was the recipient of many national and international awards for his valuable contribution, including the award of the Institute of Life (France) for creating the best environment for the common man, in 1973.
Sharma recently wrote a book ‘Making of Chandigarh: Le Corbusier and After’ which brought the chronology of the events of the making of the city in his book.
Sharma was the recipient of many national and international awards for his contribution to the profession, including the award of the Institute of Life (France) for creating the best environment for the common man, in 1973. For his devotion to the profession the administration conferred the lifetime achievement award on him in October 2015.
MN Sharma against getting Metro for city
The first Chief Architect of the city beautiful Chandigarh was strongly against bringing in the concept of Metro for city. His daughter Priya Ojha and Yojana Rawat, general secretary of the M N Sharma Architectural Society said that he often used to talk about the concept. Yojna said, “He was deadly against the Metro Concept. He said Chandigarh was never designed for the concept as Metro will increase the public inflow into the city from outside and people living in Chandigarh will not be benefitted at all. One living in Chandigarh is just few minutes’ drive away from places like PGI, University, Sector 17 and can use his own transport. But Metro will bring in people from outside the city thus overpopulating the city.”
He knew time and specie of bird visiting his house
His favourite pastime was waiting and watching birds visiting his house compound to have water. He knew the time and specie of the bird going to visit his house as daily routine, said Yojna Rawat.
“In the afternoon, he used to ask me to take his chair outside as a particular bird is about to arrive in the compound to have grains and water. He also used to tell the time and surprisingly the bird used to arrive, drink water and fly away. He said that he gets relaxed in watching birds arriving in his house compound.” He was totally fulfilled and contended with his file and had no more desires left.
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