DOI link for Nationalist dreams
Nationalist dreams book
Descriptions of colonial cities often focus on grand architectural monoliths designed for the expansion of commerce. Among them are the imposing institutions of law, administration and government, ﬂ anked perhaps by a town hall or a cathedral. As Thomas Metcalf observes, the grandiose colonial architecture introduced in India inﬂ uenced and often rivaled its British counterparts (1989: 8-16). These are the ediﬁ ces through which a colony is typically identiﬁ ed (long after it ceases to be a colony) in terms of an often indelible visual imprint of an unwelcome colonial past. The mnemonic traces of that past are concretized in the everyday landscape of the independent nation resisting erasure and indigenization, and are often meaningless to the populations that pass through them. Furthermore, this architecture, which was Indianized in a form of eclecticism deemed appropriate for the colonies and was developed with reference to Orientalist studies in art and archaeology, was applied liberally as an aesthetic outside India in other colonial outposts including Ceylon. The decolonization of a colonial formula for indigenization and the invention of a distinctive nationalist alternative is the subject of this chapter. This process of reinvention by which hitherto private concerns were made public and visible, during the late colonial period, describes early efforts at claiming and remaking institutional space.