Inhabited Pasts : Monuments, Authority, and People in Delhi, 1912–1970s

Sutton, Deborah Ruth (2018) Inhabited Pasts : Monuments, Authority, and People in Delhi, 1912–1970s. Journal of Asian Studies, 77 (4). pp. 1013-1035. ISSN 0021-9118

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This article considers the relationship between the official, legislated claims of heritage conservation in India and the wide range of episodic and transitory inhabitations which have animated and transformed the monumental remains of the city, or rather cities, of Delhi. Delhi presents a spectrum of monumental structures that appear variously to either exist in splendid isolation from the rush of every day urban life or to peek out amidst a palimpsest of unplanned, urban fabric. The repeated attempts of the state archaeological authorities to disambiguate heritage from the quotidian life of the city was frustrated by bureaucratic lapse, casual social occupations and deliberate challenges. The monuments offered structural and spatial canvases for lives within the city; providing shelter, solitude and the possibility of privacy, devotional and commercial opportunity. The dominant comportment of the city’s monuments during the twentieth century has been a hybrid monumentality, in which the jealous, legislated custody of the state has become anxious, ossified and ineffectual. An acknowledgement and acceptance of the hybridity of Delhi’s monuments offers an opportunity to re-orientate understandings of urban heritage.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of Asian Studies
Additional Information:
The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Journal of Asian Studies, 77 (4), pp 1013-1035 2018, © 2018 Cambridge University Press.
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? ancient monuments preservation actarchaeological survey of indiabureaucracydelhiheritageindiamonumentsurban biographyurbanismcultural studies ??
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Deposited On:
01 Dec 2017 11:20
Last Modified:
26 Jan 2024 01:21