India: The Jinxed Jewel

In the early 1950s, the great French architect Le Corbusier designed the city of Chandigarh as a capital for India's sprawling Punjab state. Though shantytowns have long since sprung up alongside its lovely cubes and rectangles, Chandigarh (pop. 150,000) still stands out like an exquisite jewel in the blazing Punjab plain. From the first, however, it has been a jewel with a jinx —accursed, like the Hope diamond.

In November 1966, after savage rioting, the Punjab was split in two, creating a predominantly Hindu Haryana state and a Sikh-dominated Punjab state. Both...

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