The Newsletter 57 Summer 2011

From loot to trophy. The vexed history of architectural heritage in Imperial India

Mrinalini Rajagopalan

On October 28 1843 the Illustrated London News published a curious article titled “Sale of the Mogol Sultan Akber’s Palace at the East India Docks” which began on the following melancholic note: “There is no reflection more mortifying to human pride than that which occurs to the moralist when he witnesses the degradation, ruin, and dispersion of the mighty edifices of ancient days – edifices which were destined by their founders to carry down to the latest generations the memory of the monarch or potentate at whose expence [sic] they were constructed”.1 Such was the unfortunate fate of the once-grand palace of the Mughal emperor Akbar that the newspaper was reporting on.

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