South Delhi’s Star – Tara Apartments (a History)

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Tara Apartments (photo coutesy http://www.msaudcolumbia.org/summer/?p=3439)

On October 2nd 1976, exactly 39 years ago, the Foundation Ceremony of Tara Apartments took place. Tara Apartments was the first Group Housing project in Delhi. Over the years, the complex has seen many residents come and go but the pride and bonhomie among the residents has remained the same over the years. Many have been born and brought up in this wonderful society that continues to be a landmark community in South Delhi.

It’s hard to imagine South Delhi without Tara Apartments. 50 years ago, this was a rugged landscape with overgrown vegetation. Today, it is practically the heart of South West Delhi, a landmark which is also a major junction for all public transportation.

The concept for Tara Apartments came about in the 1950s and 60s, when there was a pressing need for retired senior Government officials to find affordable housing options for themselves in Delhi. Many had been displaced during the 1947 partition of India and had no home of their own in Delhi, post retirement. Some had actively taken part in India’s freedom struggle and had dedicated their lives to serving the nation.

taraIn order to address this growing problem, a group of 21 people, under the leadership of Dr. Sushila Nayar met on 12th November 1980 and formed ‘Tara Cooperative Housing Society’. Dr. Sushila Nayar was the Minister for Health in the Central Government, in Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s cabinet. She belonged to a family of freedom fighters and had spent much of her youth serving Mahatama Gandhi’s cause. ‘Tara’ was her mother’s name. Sadly, only two weeks after this meeting, Tara Devi Nayar passed away. The hardships endured by her during the freedom struggle finally took a toll on her health.

Tara Cooperative House Building Society Ltd. was registered on 21st February 1961. Soon more members joined and the process of acquiring land began. After many years of complications and frustrations, a deposit was finally made to the DDA in April 1972 for 3.5 acres of land, where flats for 175 members was to be built.

The planning and architecture of Tara was a challenge to begin with. World renowned architect, Charles Correa, took over this mammoth task and has received many accolades for it around the world. His attempt was to give every family their own home, like a bungalow with its small garden. What he did was path breaking in those days. He designed 2-storey units in two layers in stepped sections. The lower ones got a small garden patch and the upper ones got their terrace garden (ref: Tarisma – The Spirit of Tara by Karan Sarwal).

The landscaping was designed by renowned town planner and landscape architect Prof. Ravindra Bhan. The blocks have been designed to facilitate maximum human interaction, yet keeping in mind the privacy of individuals. The collaborative designs of Tara Apartments gave rise to the concept of cooperative living in modern Delhi.

There’s a lot to be learned from the history of Tara Apartments and all its residents. The community is all important here and nearly everyone takes active part in festivities and celebrations. We, at Connectgk2, have always emphasised the importance of “connection” between neighbours. Today, on Gandhi Jayanti and the 39th Anniversary of Tara Apartment’s Foundation Ceremony, we congratulate all the residents of ‘Tara’. May Tara continue to sparkle on Delhi’s landscape for many, many years to come.

 

References:

Tarisma – The Spirit of Tara by Karan Sarwal

http://www.msaudcolumbia.org/summer/?p=3439

 

connectgk2South Delhi’s Star – Tara Apartments (a History)

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