Building Histories

The Archival and Affective Lives of Five Monuments in Modern Delhi
by Mrinalini Rajagopalan
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Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Series: South Asia Across the Disciplines

Publication Date: March 01, 2017

ISBN: 9780226331898

Binding: Kobo eBook

Availability: eBook

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Building Histories offers innovative accounts of five medieval monuments in Delhi—the Red Fort, Rasul Numa Dargah, Jama Masjid, Purana Qila, and the Qutb complex—tracing their modern lives from the nineteenth century into the twentieth.

Mrinalini Rajagopalan argues that the modern construction of the history of these monuments entailed the careful selection, manipulation, and regulation of the past by both the colonial and later postcolonial states. Although framed as objective “archival” truths, these histories were meant to erase or marginalize the powerful and persistent affective appropriations of the monuments by groups who often existed outside the center of power. By analyzing these archival and affective histories together, Rajagopalan works to redefine the historic monument—far from a symbol of a specific past, the monument is shown in Building Histories to be a culturally mutable object with multiple stories to tell.