What are the determinants of a megacity? Is it just the population and demographic make-up, or is it also about intangibles like quality of living, cosmopolitan make-up and community activities and spaces?
This month will see the twin cities of Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar being converted into global hub. Thematic seminars, presentations, panel discussions, B2B and B2G meetings, exhibition pavilions and other networking opportunities will be spread across a week or ten-day activity.
Though Vibrant Gujarat’s focus on knowledge share is attracting delegates from several countries, an important point to note is the cultural symposium and seminars that the global summit has generated. Still about a week for the summit, business institutions are holding relevant exhibitions, workshops and conclaves.
Meanwhile, besides the business atmosphere, there is enough happening in sporting and community sphere of this city. Sabarmati Marathon goes global this time, with participation of nearly 150 international runners. Barely three years since its inception, the marathon is making quite a mark as a well-managed event and is attracting professionals from all over the country and abroad.
The Sabarmati Cyclathon too, which sees its first edition this year, is another idea for attracting community participation. Aimed at the common man as much as the professional, the cyclathon aims to bring out thousands of people who love biking.
A large chunk of Indians use cycles for commutation – from the milkman to a delivery boy – but this event is a great opportunity to bring out the fun-factor in cycling. Taking this community fervour forward is the international kite festival, which attracts people irrespective of regions and countries. Many Gujaratis in the country or abroad choose this time to make their winter visit. International visitors – from Italy, UK, Brazil, Canada, Indonesia, Malaysia, USA, Singapore, Japan, France and China – are also here, to fly kites!
Also happening is Saptak – the longest classical music festival – that brings to Ahmedabad several exponents of Hindustani Sangeet. Late Pandit Ravi Shankar had performed here, also Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Zakir Hussain, Birju Maharaj and other celebrated names.
Winter and performing arts festivals – be it music concerts or dance recitals – or concerning heritage, theatre and folk, all these events work towards creating awareness, an exposure and move towards experiencing the richer elements of life.
Being a megacity is more than just analysing demographic and economic parameters. It refers to community spaces, knowledge enhancement opportunities and community involvement. If this January is any indicator, Ahmedabad clearly shows signs of being a Megacity.
The writer is an entrepreneur and educationist.