1st Edition

Heritage Conservation in Postcolonial India Approaches and Challenges

Edited By Manish Chalana, Ashima Krishna Copyright 2021
    328 Pages 71 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    328 Pages 71 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Heritage Conservation in Postcolonial India seeks to position the conservation profession within historical, theoretical, and methodological frames to demonstrate how the field has evolved in the postcolonial decades and follow its various trajectories in research, education, advocacy, and practice.

    Split into four sections, this book covers important themes of institutional and programmatic developments in the field of conservation; critical and contemporary challenges facing the profession; emerging trends in practice that seek to address contemporary challenges; and sustainable solutions to conservation issues.

    The cases featured within the book elucidate the evolution of the heritage conservation profession, clarifying the role of key players at the central, state, and local level, and considering intangible, minority, colonial, modern, and vernacular heritages among others.

    This book also showcases unique strands of conservation practice in the postcolonial decades to demonstrate the range, scope, and multiple avenues of development in the last seven decades. An ideal read for those interested in architecture, planning, historic preservation, urban studies, and South Asian studies.

    by Jeffrey M Chusid

    Untangling Heritage Conservation in Postcolonial India by Manish Chalana and Ashima Krishna

    PART I: Developments in Heritage Conservation: Institutions and Programs
    1.1 The Evolving Role of India’s Foremost Heritage Custodian: Archaeological Survey of India
    Saptarshi Sanyal

    1.2 Role of the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage in Heritage Conservation in India
    Divay Gupta

    1.3 Heritage Management and Conservation Planning for Historic Cities in India: Case of Jaipur and Ajmer
    Shikha Jain

    1.4 Tools for Heritage Advocacy in Lucknow: Active Civic Engagement and Public Interest Litigation
    Ashima Krishna

    1.5 Heritage Education:  An Essential Element in Elementary Education
    Michael A Tomlan

    PART II: Critical Challenges in Heritage Conservation
    2.1 History, Memory and Contestation: Challenges in Preserving Amritsar’s Diverse Heritage
    Gurmeet S Rai and Churnjeet Manh

    2.2 Loss of Cultural Artifacts: Continuing Challenges around Antiquities Trafficking from India
    Swapna Kothari

    2.3 India’s Modern Heritage: Conservation Challenges and Opportunities
    Priya Jain

    2.4 Heritage Conservation and Seismic Mitigation in Small Town India: The Case of Chamba, Himachal Pradesh
    Manish Chalana and Sakriti Vishwakarma

    PART III: Emerging Trends in Heritage Conservation
    3.1 Making Heritage Accessible: Experiments with Digital Technologies for Urban Heritage Conservation in India
    Aishwarya Tipnis

    3.2 Reclaiming Neighbourhood, Rebonding Community: Urban Conservation Initiatives for Kolkata’s Chinatown through The CHA Project
    Kamalika Bose

    3.3 Conserving Vernacular Heritage in Kerala
    Patricia Tusa Fels

    3.4 Craft as Intangible Heritage : The Thatheras of Jandiala Guru, Punjab
    Yaaminey Mubayi

    PART IV: Sustainable Approaches to Heritage Conservation
    4.1 Ghats on the Ganga in Varanasi: A Sustainable Approach to Landscape Conservation
    Amita Sinha

    4.2 Conservation of Indo-Islamicate Water Experience
    James L Wescoat Jr

    4.3 Restoring and Nurturing the ‘Nature-Human’ Bond through Conservation of Historic Gardens
    Priyaleen Singh

    4.4 Community-led Sustainable and Responsible Tourism Promoting Intangible Cultural Heritage of West Bengal
    Ananya Bhattacharya

    Past Forward: Preparing Heritage Conservation in India for the 21st Century by Ashima Krishna and Manish Chalana


    Manish Chalana is an Associate Professor in the Department of Urban Design and Planning at the University of Washington with adjunct appointments in the Architecture and Landscape Architecture departments. He also serves on the faculty of the South Asia Studies program in the Jackson School of International Studies. Additionally, Dr Chalana served as the director of the Graduate Certificate in Historic Preservation and co-directs the Center for Preservation and Adaptive Reuse. His work focuses on historic preservation planning, planning history, and international planning and development, particularly in his native India, primarily through the lenses of social justice and equity.

    Ashima Krishna is Associate Director at the Purdue Policy Research Institute and Assistant Professor of Practice in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies at Purdue University. She is an architect and historic preservation planner whose research spans the management of historic urban landscapes and adaptive reuse of historic religious structures and landscapes, with a particular focus on intersection with community development issues and resulting policy challenges. Dr. Krishna has examined issues related to historic preservation planning and urban conservation in the United States and India and continues to highlight the ways in which the historic built environment can be preserved, managed, and planned for.

    Heritage Conservation in Post Colonial India: Approaches and Challenges is the first important publication on conservation as it is understood today since it emerged in 1984 with establishment of The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage to focus on unprotected heritage. This book has come out three-and-a-half-decades since the commencement of the Conservation Movement in India. It keeps in mind the paradoxes existing within the Indian context of a critical time especially when norms and systems continue to evolve. It is a must-read for its vast and wide-ranging effort covering important ground with contributions of young scholars. I congratulate the authors Manish Chalana and Ashima Krishna for its professional perspective. With its dynamism and contemporary focus, the book is bound to generate dialogue and discussion.

    - Professor Nalini Thakur, Former Dean and Head of Architectural Conservation, School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi


    This book is timely and captures the ‘state of the art’ thinking around conservation issues in India. In a post-colonial context when the custodians of a built heritage are culturally different or distant from the creators of that environment, new narratives have to necessarily be constructed to facilitate conservation in the contemporary context. This collection of essays, from the most engaged thinkers about conservation in India, promises to do just that – offer insightful, multifaceted and critical ways of reimagining how we may evolve the culture of conservation practice in the future.

    - Rahul Mehrotra, Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design, John T. Dunlop Professor in Housing and Urbanization, Harvard University Graduate School of Design 


    Manish has been a friend since the early 1990s and these 3 decades have also marked the growth of the field of heritage conservation and its maturity in India, as well as our growth and development as conservation professionals, one in academia and the other in practice. This period has perhaps been the most definitive in the evolution of the practice and profession of conservation in India. As an overview and evaluation of conservation in the Indian context, the book is a valuable addition to any library as an overview of the development and field of monument and urban conservation in India. 

    - Abha Narain Lambah, Conservation Architect & Historic Building Consultant


    A collection of essays, this book, intends to bring to the fore a nuanced understanding of the complexities faced while approaching conservation of cultural heritage in postcolonial India. The editors have created four "thematic sections" to highlight the challenges associated with the field of heritage conservation at various scales of intervention, through a continuous process of evolution and located in highly diverse cultural milieus...The book, quite clearly, touches upon an appreciable range of concerns and complexities and no doubt is an important addition to the currently negligible amount of research available in the public domain on conservation practices in India.

    -Saumya Sharma, Chandigarh College of Architecture, India