The Decadence of Preservation

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The Decadence of Preservation

A photo essay on the stagnation of cultural and social development
in a place known for its rich traditions and historical significance.

25 June 2016・Text by Chahat Rana・Photographs by Rana Vikramaditya

There is stagnancy in the bustling markets of Chandni Chowk. Even as I jump puddles, dodge loaded, manually driven carts, and duck under heavy steel rods carried over malnourished shoulders; I feel like I am going nowhere. In the stifling heat of the Sunday sun, most walk with a rhythmic purpose, while I walk in circles. I carry my privilege around my neck, a digital camera. Too ashamed to take any more pictures. My shutter doesn’t capture remnants of history. My shutte creates relics. Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 6.34.23 am
A multistoried building constructed next to an old ruin.
My shame sprouts to my heated face as I attempt to take a picture of a man on a street corner, diligently scrubbing old pots and pans. He tells me there is no need to take a picture, ‘I am only doing my work!’ he says. I apologize and I leave. ‘Me too!’ I think to myself. I go on to inspect an old Haveli. The residents are nice enough to let me take pictures inside. The outside is a beautifully preserved fragment of the past; the inside belongs to a past that develops haphazardly. ‘Bahar heritage hain, andar kuch bhi karo.’ (‘The outside is a heritage site, inside we can do whatever we want.) And so we let a facade be a representation of history and the authentic to crumble. I bring you photos that can only hope to represent the authentic.
Next article: Into My Eyes
bio photo
Chahat Rana is currently pursuing a liberal arts degree in English literature, the only thing Chahat has done is to read and write. So she writes: the good, the bad and especially the ugly. She believes that words weave messages and hence good expression is not just a literary necessity, but a responsibility.
Recently graduated as a History Major from Hindu College, Rana Vikramaditya has versatile interests or as his parents call it, chronic indecisiveness. He is of course, an avid devourer of books, an almost addicted gamer and an amateur photographer. Currently, he plans to spend the year learning Japanese... or not.

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