In ruins : cultural amnesia at the Aam Khas Bagh

Mahn, Churnjeet; Mahn, Churnjeet and Murphy, Anne, eds. (2018) In ruins : cultural amnesia at the Aam Khas Bagh. In: Partition and the Practice of Memory. Palgrave, Basingstoke, pp. 255-274. ISBN 978-3-319-64515-5

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This chapter offers a case-study of a collaborative research project between the Indian conservation architectural firm, CRCI, a designer and a visual ethnographer and academics to deliver a workshop and exhibition on heritage and memory in Sirhind, Punjab. As part of a British Council/Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK) project, the workshop was designed to bring academics and their research into communities. CRCI provided maps, charts and an index to the key sites they were looking at along the Grand Trunk Road to assemble a UNESCO World Heritage Site bid for the road. Our work would end with an exhibition in Sirhind, in East or Indian Punjab, to be followed by an exhibition in Delhi and then London that prominently featured the Aam Khas Bagh, a Mughal-era serai that the World Monument Fund had placed on an international endangered site list that year. Definitions of heritage varied across the collaborating team, largely determined by our training as well as our own cultural perspectives. Part of this chapter’s larger purpose is to unpick some of the ways in which heritage is made and understood in East Punjab today.