Freitag, 24. Januar 2014, 15:15 - 16:45 iCal

Will the Real Delhi Stand Up

Tourism and the Visual Character of the City

Ein Vortrag von Prof. Dr. Nirmal Kumar

Seminarraum 1 des Instituts für Südasien-, Tibet- und Buddhismuskunde
Spitalgasse 2, Hof 2, Eingang 2.7, 1. Stock, 1090 Wien


Dr. Nirmal Kumar is Associate Professor at the Department of History of Sri Venkateswara College, Delhi University. Currently he is serving as the third ICCR Visiting Professor of Indian Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Vienna.


In my presentation I will try to understand how Delhi is visually communicated by the stake holders to its prospective viewers, most importantly the tourists. The modern, colonial and post-colonial Delhi has its centre of power in the Raisina hills, away from poverty, filth and congestion. The British imperialists created the new city of Delhi away from the last Mughal city, to distinctly create a new identity of imperial power, glory and wealth. They used red sandstone, but apart from that did everything to create the image of a European power.

I would like to suggest that despite all the imposing structures the British constructed, and in spite of all the expensive residential quarters built by newly rich residents, the Delhi that the government, tourist agencies and their publicity materials try to present, to attract potential tourists, is showcasing mainly its Islamic past. No foreign tourist comes to see modern Delhi, and even tourist literature hardly has British monuments on its list of important sites. Almost all sell Delhi on the visual representation of its Islamic remains. That is what I call Jo Dikhta hai so Bikta hai (What is seen, gets sold). Delhi has laid its claim to be included in the list of World Heritage cities but for reasons best known to UNESCO, that status has been denied until now. What is important here is that the claim to World Heritage City status is being made on the basis of Delhi’s Islamic past.

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Institut für Südasien-, Tibet- und Buddhismuskunde


Judith Starecek
Institut für Südasien-, Tibet- und Buddhismuskunde
4277 43502