Manek Chowk, Khadia, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India
The 'pols' of the Walled City are its soul and represent a strong urbane Amdavadi character. The pol life had its own uniqueness, which is only seen in Ahmedabad -- this includes community sharing of resources, and participating in the joys and sorrows of the neighbours. Pol comes from the Sanskrit word pratoli, which means gateway or entrance. It was built by groups of families based on occupation, or kinship and clan, or ethnicity. It was not based on economic differences. So a mill owner and a worker would possibly stay in the same pol, creating mutual interdependence and respect.
But in the midst of growing developmental pressures the life in pols has come under threat. Each month, there are instances of old pol houses being pulled down to give way to modern apartments in the name of affordable housing. This is happening, though, since 1997, there has been concerted efforts to resist pulling down of heritage structures and revive the pol way of life.
The AMC’s Heritage cell is making all the possible efforts to retain these marvelous pieces of history. The glory of the city lies in them; we need to protect them to preserve the sanctity of the city.