The imposing buildings constructed by the British in India did not spring from the fancy of the architects or from purely aesthetic concerns: rather, they embodied a vision the British had of themselves as rulers of India. An Imperial Vision examines the relationship between culture and power expressed in the architectural forms the British employed in India. From the great monuments of New Delhi to the most obsure structures in dusty country towns, these buildings visibly representedin stone the choices the British made in politics as imperial rulers. Viewed together they enhanced the hold of the empire over the ruler and the ruled alike. Much of this architecture drew on European classical forms, for these had long evoked a vision of empire in Europe. But the British also constructed, in the years after the uprising of 1857, a vision of themselves not as mere foreign conquerors but as legitimate, almost indigenous rulers, linked directly to the Mughals and henceto India's own past. In so doing they created the distinctive forms known as Indo-Saracenic architecture. For half a century this building sustained a new ideology of empire. With Victoria as empress and India's cities dotted with imposing Indo-Saracenic colleges and courts, post offices and railway stations, the British could proclaim their supremacy as they sought to reshape India, and at the same time assert a claim to knowledge-and hence to power-from within. But this self-confidence could not endure forever. By the 1920s, despite the massive building projects under way on the plains of Delhi, the knowledge and the power that upheld the Raj had begun to slip away. By its focus on the relationships of culture and power that underlay the colonial order, An Imperial Vision throws light on the distinctive nature of late nineteenth-century imperialism and, more generally, on the way political authority takes shape in monumental architecture. Those interested in questions of discourse and representation, so far largely studied in the field of literature, will also find here a new way of approaching their subject. _An Imperial Vision examines the relationship between culture and power expressed in the architectural forms the British employed in India.
|Title||:||An Imperial Vision|
|Author||:||Thomas R. Metcalf|
|Publisher||:||Oxford University Press, USA - 2002|