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Tankshal ni Masjid: Creating a Counter Space

” One was left wondering, in a place that has uncomfortable memories, can the introduction of women’s narratives bring reconciliation? “



A Counter Space is a space that functions very differently from the spaces around. It has a very different activity to its surroundings, a dissimilar character and an altered pace. Spaces like these are important for a city as it makes the inhabitants pause, think, and possibly reflect. The wooden masjid at Tankshal ni Pol was one such space in the neighbourhood of the Historic City of Ahmedabad. A neighbourhood that usually hustles with commercial activities during the daytime, and is a dead negative space during the night time, had this enclosed space open to the city and especially the neighbourhood for a day. Most were awed by the calmness of the space in the otherwise bustling noisy neighbourhood at that time of the day. Many residents saw the space for the first time, and the discussions were then around the possible introduction of educational activities in the middle of this neighbourhood that has a history of violence and rioting. They felt this could bring the much-needed texture to the place. In their words “kai alag thashe” (something different will happen). The most interesting aspect of the day was the presentation by Dr. Aryanti, who spoke of the production of women’s spaces in mosques. One was left wondering, in a place that has uncomfortable memories, can the introduction of women’s narratives bring reconciliation? This, considering that the neighbourhoods in the historic city have a substructure, where women’s interactions with one another have always been crucial for the city to get back to life after an event of destruction or disturbance. The Tankshal ni Pol Masjid promises to be a complex and layered lesson in conservation for all of us.


26th February 2021

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