The History Project
The sexing up of Indian cities with shopping malls and multiplexes is the most apparent manifestation of a deep desire to ‘Singapore’ and ‘Shanghai’ our skylines. These aspirations have become synonymous with all things bright and beautiful. We appear to be suffering from a national split personality. Globe-trotting, well-heeled Indians speak of their holidays to Angkor Wat and Versailles, but in our own backyards, ancient repositories of art, culture and civilisation are vandalised with lovers’ graffiti and strewn with garbage. We are condemning ourselves to a kind of civilisational amnesia, a future of architectural anonymity. Keeping the conversation focussed on what we must preserve and how we preserve it is at the centre of TEHELKA’s ‘The History Project’. Specifics about what can be done by the private sector and what must be a public responsibility are addressed in this series. We show examples of how things fall apart and, equally, how things are put back together. Here are seven significant conversations about cave paintings, monuments, but, most importantly, about why we need to hold on to what is essentially ‘us’. History is not exotic, distant, or irrelevant to our lives. In these pages, expect to find a constant, running theme — making history alive and contemporary and as much a part of urban and ruralscapes today as when these magnificent structures were first built.