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Forgotten DILLI - Portrait of An Immortal City

Forgotten DILLI - Portrait of An Immortal City

Author: Sasmita S. Akhtar
&
Shamim Akhtar
Year of Publication: 2010
ISBN: 978-8190583329
Language: English
Edition: 1st
Pages: 182
Binding Style: Hard Cover
Size (in mm):
Weight:
Rs. 4500
 

Nothing can be more difficult than retracing the steps of history in a value-neutral manner. E.H.Carr in his book “What is History” tends to frighten us a bit by questioning whether all individuals engaged in recording the past are value-neutral.

If not, then what is being passed on as historical facts is only a coloured version of it. This led to some wishful thinking on our part: what if we could somehow strike a conversation with the monument itself? I am sure if not most at least some of us must’ve spoken to the monuments at times in a momentary spurt of fantasy; or perhaps experienced a weird, uncanny feeling as if spoken to and dismissed it as a figment of imagination or maybe hesitantly attributed it to the questionable presence of Djinns.

Picking up the threads of history does require a little courage especially if one is not a student of History. But as students of Sociology we tend to see a little more than facts and figures in the remnants of the past. We tried to coax everybody possible- historians, renowned writers and friends with a sound backing of History as a subject. Ultimately the onus of doing the text landed on my lap. I literally developed anxiety spasms in fear of treading upon the subject. I started off with the collection of research material on the subject and am thankful to Aqsa Agha, Urvashi Gautam and Pamkhuila Shaiza, MA students in Medieval History, at JNU my Alma mater.  

The more I read the more difficult the task seemed to be owing to difference in opinion of renowned authors, variations in dates, authenticity of names and their spellings to name a few. It sure isn’t easy to document the past, I realized.  Today if you take a walk in the Red Fort or especially when you walk towards the Salimgarh Fort from it, you tend to see more of British structures than the original ones built by Shah Jahan. Most of Shahjahanabad was bulldozed by the British yet ironically it was they who founded the Archaeological Survey of India in 1861 to explore and preserve monuments and sites of national and international importance! We are grateful to the English for the good things that they left behind.

We proudly live in Lutyens Delhi, glorify the Rashtrapati Bhavan and India Gate during the Republic Day parade and value being a part of the Commonwealth! Let’s thus accept the valued possessions of both the medieval and the modern period, take pride in them as being a part of the Indian heritage at large and preserve them all. This book is a miniscule attempt to create awareness of the importance of heritage conservation and bring to notice the increasing depletion of the same. We only hope our earnest effort will be fruitful in some way even if it is a drop in the ocean......


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Testimonials

When stones burst into songs Qutub Minar mu
Mr. Khuswant Singh

At times Delhi looks beautiful but the kind
Mrs. Sheila Dixit

This book provides an opportunity to relish
Janab Wajahat Habibullah

Best book and pictures of Kailasa I have ev
Shri Ved Pratap Vaidik

'I have great pleasure in commending th
Dr. Karan Singh