Invisible City

INVISIBLE CITY By Rakhshanda Jalil Illustrations by Premola Ghose Photographs by DN Chaudhuri

I asked my soul, what is Delhi?
She replied: The world is the body
and Delhi its soul.

Invisible City: The Hidden Monuments of Delhi explores this other Delhi—the little-known, seldom-visited and largely unheard-of, the Delhi that has been rendered practically invisible.

Mirza Ghalib may have been indulging in hyperbole when he penned these famous lines, but there is no denying that Delhi is a notch above the other great metropolises of India. What sets it apart is the multitude of historic ruins that dot the city. Every ruler down the ages wished to adorn his beloved Delhi, to leave a mark that would last and so left behind a landscape that is studded with jewels from the past.

Neophyte New Delhi has been quick to discard most of them on the rubbish heap of history, choosing to validate a bare minimum with a name, an identity and a place of visibility.

Where it was possible to make the law look the other way, many of these monuments were razed to the ground to make way for colonisation and development. Disregarded as no more than inconvenient piles of rocks and stones, many have been pulled down, built upon and built around.

Rakhshanda Jalil has co-authored Partners in Freedom: Jamia Millia Islamia (Niyogi Books, 2006) and Journey of Faith: A Pilgrim’s Journey to the Holy Land (forthcoming) with Mushirul Hasan. Among the many books edited and translated by her that have been published in recent years are: Neither Night Nor Day; A Winter’s Tale & Other Stories by Premchand, Circle & Other Stories; Through the Closed Doorway, and Black Borders.Rakhshanda Jalil is co-editor of the Jamia Quarterly and Media and Cultural Coordinator at Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia.
Premola Ghose is Chief, Programme Division, at the India International Centre, New Delhi. A self-taught artist, she has held solo exhibitions, and illustrated books.
DN Chaudhuri has published and exhibited his photographs worldwide and won many pretigious awards. He is the author of Delhi: Light, Shades and Shadows (Niyogi Books).

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