Open Collections

UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

The colonial entombment of the Mughal habitus : Delhi in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Kaicker, Abhishek 2006

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata


831-ubc_2006-0212.pdf [ 5.16MB ]
JSON: 831-1.0092517.json
JSON-LD: 831-1.0092517-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 831-1.0092517-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 831-1.0092517-rdf.json
Turtle: 831-1.0092517-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 831-1.0092517-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 831-1.0092517-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

The Colonial Entombment of the Mughal Habitus: Delhi in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries by  Abhishek Kaicker  A THESIS S U B M I T T E D IN P A R T I A L F U L F I L L M E N T O F THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE D E G R E E OF  M A S T E R OF A R T S  in  The Faculty o f Graduate Studies  (History)  UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH C O L U M B I A  A p r i l 2006  ©Abhishek Kaicker, 2006  ABSTRACT In this paper I examine changes in the way in which the city o f Delhi was perceived by its residents and visitors over the course o f the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. B y the eighteenth century, the built environment o f Delhi was interpreted by residents and visitors v i a a distinctively Mughal habitus o f urbanity that ultimately depended on a matrix o f Mughal technologies and institutions, and particularly the management of water resources i n the urban environment. After the British assumed control of the city i n 1803, residents' perceptions o f Delhi began to change i n response to the manner in which colonial authorities envisioned the city and changed the way in which water was used and distributed through the city. The desire o f colonial authority to remake the city i n its own image in order to secure hegemony is evident in its ways o f gathering and processing knowledge o f the city. B y scrutinizing the city through a mausoleal modality, the British administration began to identify Delhi as a 'dead' city that needed to be ordered, classified, interpreted, and ultimately placed within the confines o f History. In doing so, the British regime made previous modes o f seeing and inhabiting the city irrelevant and introduced a colonial habitus o f urbanity that privileged their own rule. This process reached its logical culmination i n the destruction o f the city during the war o f 1857 and the creation of yet another city o f ' N e w D e l h i ' as a reflection o f imperial grandeur.  11  T A B L E OF CONTENTS Abstract Table of Contents List of Figures Acknowledgements The Colonial Entombment Nineteenth Centuries Bibliography  ii iii iv v of the Mughal  Habitus:  Delhi  in  the Eighteenth '.  and 1 59  in  LIST O F FIGURES Figure 1 David Ochterlony (1820) Figure 2 Hauz-e Shamsi in Reminisces of Imperial Delhie Figure 3 Delhi ca. 1860; view towards the red fort  41 46 52  iv  ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I thank the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, which supported my research with a scholarship. I am extremely grateful to Dr. Michael Schoenhals, who helped me develop the relationship between 'water' and 'culture' at an early stage; and to Dr. Timothy Brook, who discussed this project with me at several stages and commented on a draft of the paper. Finally, I am deeply indebted to my advisor Dr. John Roosa, who guided my research, patiently discussed the issues at hand for endless hours, suggested theoretical readings, provided extensive comments on several drafts of this paper, suggested a title for it, and was extremely supportive throughout. A l l remaining errors are mine alone.  The Colonial Entombment of the Mughal Habitus: Delhi in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries Abhishek Kaicker ...Then M i r z a Fakhru addressed the gathering: "Sirs, by some strange coincidence this gathering o f poets (mushaira) started with the Fatiha Khair and now it has come to end on the very same Fatiha Khair." Saying this, he snuffed out both candles (shama) which had circled around [the gathering] and returned to him. Just as the candles extinguished, the heralds called out: "Gentlemen, Delhi's last Mushaira ends!" 1  W i t h these words, the author Farhatullah B e g (1883-1948) ended his epic A Memorable Poetic Gathering of Delhi in 1845 (Dehli Ka Ek Yadgar Mushaira, ca. 1935), an elegy to the culture o f Mughal Delhi that had vanished by the twentieth century. The image draws its poignancy from the final act o f the extinguishing o f candles: circulated around the poetic assembly (mushaira), these candles ritually permitted each poet in turn to recite his compositions before an audience o f patrons, peers, and competitors. In Beg's vision, the mushaira represented the primary site o f literary creativity in a city longrenowned for its elegance and sophistication. In this context, the candles were an apt symbol o f Delhi's culture: they signified not only its beauty and vitality but also its evanescence i n the age o f British colonial rule. The final snuffing out these candles - and the reading o f the invocation in the first chapter o f the Quran (Fatiha Khair) - both pointed to the irrevocable demise o f that culture. Looking back from the early twentieth century, Beg imagined that the last light o f Delhi's autonomous culture had been extinguished in 1845, and the residents o f the city  1  Farhatullah B e g , D e h l i K i A k h r i Shama (Delhi: U r d u A c a d e m y 2003) p. 138-39. Translation mine.  1  were left helpless in the darkness of colonial rule. C M Nairn has shown that the sense o f the past generated by this conflation of the poetic assembly's 'candle' with the notion o f 'Mughal culture' was fundamentally ahistorical. According to Nairn, the beginning of 2  British rule over Delhi in 1803 created a stable environment which led to the 'Delhi Renaissance' -  a burst o f intellectual creativity facilitated by intercultural contact  between British and Indians and the diffusion o f western knowledge through newlyestablished educational institutions and newspapers. For Nairn, the 'candle' o f D e l h i ' s 3  culture was not the flickering remnant of a supposedly pure Mughal tradition: rather, it was the "product of Indo-British collaboration." If this is indeed the case, then what 4  explains the pervasive sense o f loss and nostalgia with which M u s l i m intellectuals o f the late nineteenth and early twentieth century imagined Delhi before the devastating war o f 1857? W h y did the conception of Delhi as a 'ruined' city with a 'dead' culture gain such resonance amongst the M u s l i m elite of the city in the colonial period? The problem o f cultural change and continuity in the city has generally been examined as a part o f the broader social, political and intellectual history of the city.  5  C. M . Nairn "Ghalib's Delhi: A Shamelessly Revisionist Look at Two Popular Metaphors" Annual of Urdu Studies, vol. 18 2003 On intellectual activity fostered by colonial institutions, see Gail Minault, "Master Ramchandra of Delhi College: Teacher, Journalist, and Cultural Intermediary" Annual of Urdu Studies, vol. 18 2003; Gail Minault, "Delhi College and Urdu" Annual of Urdu Studies, vol. 14 1999; Gail Minault, "Sayyid Ahmad Dehlavi and the 'Delhi Renaissance'" in Robert Eric Frykenberg, Delhi Through the Ages: Essays in Urban History. Culture, and Society (Delhi; New York: Oxford University Press, 1986) 524, Margrit Perna'u, "Preparing a Meeting-Ground: C F . Andrews, St. Stephen's and the Delhi College" in C. F. Andrews, Zaka Ullah of Delhi (New Delhi; New York: Oxford University Press, 2003); on emerging print culture in Delhi, see Margrit Pernau, "The Delhi Urdu Akhbar Between Persian Akhbarat and English Newspapers" Annual of Urdu Studies, vol. 18 2003 Nairn, 23 For the history of Delhi and its society under colonial rule, see Narayani Gupta, Delhi Between Two Empires. 1803-1931: Society. Government and Urban Growth (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1981) Delhi as the center of a 'patrimonial-bureaucratic empire' has been discussed in Stephen P. Blake, Shahjahanabad: The Sovereign City in Mughal India. 1639-1739 (Cambridge England; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991). For the intellectual culture of 19 -C. Delhi see Mushirul Hasan, A Moral Reckoning: Muslim Intellectuals in Nineteenth-Century Delhi (New Delhi; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005) 1  3  4  5  th  2  This study, however, focuses on city and culture in mentalites of its residents. I argue that the change in the perception of the city and its culture from the eighteenth to the nineteenth century was caused by the colonial desire to replace the accepted forms and customs of Mughal rule with their  own. The visions and actions of colonial  administrators ultimately destroyed the pre-colonial imagination of Delhi, and reshaped the ways in which people related to the built environment of the city. The city of Delhi itself is particularly worthy o f study. W i t h a population of at least four hundred thousand in 1739, the city represented a pinnacle of pre-colonial urbanism in the subcontinent. Delhi was a political-administrative capital of immense 6  strategic importance because it lay between the North Indian Gangetic Plains and the paths to West and Central A s i a . A s a center of elite consumption, Delhi encouraged the 7  economic development of a large hinterland, and encouraged overland trade with across south and west Asia. Most importantly, Delhi was the capital of the realm and the symbolic heart of civilization and culture in Hindustan. The city's aura and prestige far outlasted its political and economic importance. A s both mutinying soldiers and British officers understood well enough during the war of 1857, the fate of Delhi represented the fate of Hindustan. In this paper I use on the writings o f Pierre Bourdieu to theorize change in Q  perceptions of the city.  In particular, I employ Bourdieu's notion of the habitus in  conceptualizing the perceptual world of historical subjects and its relationship to the built environment of the city. While Bourdieu's idea of the habitus has been criticized for Blake, 67 Frykenberg, xxiv-xxv Pierre Bourdieu and John B. Thompson, Language and Symbolic Power (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1991) 302, Pierre Bourdieu, Practical Reason: On the Theory of Action (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1998)  6  7  8  3  lapsing into the very objectivism it seeks to transcend, it nevertheless remains useful in relating the multiplicities of social practice that are bounded by the commonly assumed parameters of objective reality. The habitus, when embodied in historical actors, reflects 9  the connections between the putatively instinctive knowledge of societal codes to the realities of urban existence. While it thus preserves the possibilities of historical agents to employ a variety of strategies for advancing through the social field, the habitus also points to the indisputable relations of power that constitute social reality and privilege certain historical actors over others. The embodied habitus thus ties the perceptions of individuals to their society as a whole, and to the large number of technologies and institutions that engender the society and the habitus in the first place. In this paper, the embodied habitus refers to the perceptions and practices by which individuals relate to the city and make it 'inhabitable.' I focus particularly on the place of water in the city and in the imaginations of city-dwellers.  10  The presence of water throughout the city shaped the urban experience  and the economy o f the region in the Mughal era: the water which streamed through the main streets of Delhi contributed to the city's distinctive urbanity and reflected Mughal ideas o f civilized space. But under colonialism, water assumed a wholly different identity derived from the emerging discourses of capitalist progress and sanitation. This change in the conception of water reconstituted the city in terms o f colonial authority.  An  examination of this change reveals the delicate relationships between the subjective perception of the city and the structures of authority. It also demonstrates how the urban  For an excellent summation of the criticisms leveled against the habitus, see Anthony King, "Thinking with Bourdieu Against Bourdieu: A 'Practical' Critique of the Habitus," Sociological Theory 18:3 November 2000 Ivan Ulich, H2Q and the Waters of Forgetfulness (Dallas: Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture, 1985)92 9  10  4  experience was directly  affected by the ideology and practices of the colonial  administration. The first part of this paper analyzes the writings of eighteenth-century visitors to Delhi in order to create a sense of the Mughal habitus of urbanity. Here, I show how the habitus privileged the Mughal emperor and associated his person with the city of Shahjahanabad and the realm of Hindustan.  I then examine the perceptions of early  British visitors to the city and contest the widespread notion that Delhi had been reduced to a ruined and irrelevant city by the eve of colonial rule. While the Mughal Empire had ceased to exist by the end of the 19  th  century, the Mughal emperor remained of  paramount symbolic significance in North India. This, I argue, was due to the fact that the Mughals retained their symbolic capital even after they had lost all access to its economic forms. British perceptions of the city as 'declined' and 'destroyed' were charged with a rhetorical force that attempted to reject this symbolic capital and to legitimize the expansion of their own rule. Having examined the habitus of urbanity of the ancien regime, I then turn to the emergence of a colonial habitus o f urbanity that was shaped by British views and desires. This presence of this habitus is evident in the physical transformations of the city under British rule, and the manner in which British administrators saw the city and the K i n g ' s place within it. This colonial habitus was produced by a mausoleal modality  of  investigation, which saw the city as a series of monuments that needed to be identified, classified, and fixed in History. This modality made the lives and practices of the inhabitants of the city irrelevant and prepared it for reform. In turn, it shaped how native elites such as Sir Sayyid A h m a d K h a n came to view the city.  5  While some native elites vociferously championed the new vision of the city, the Mughal habitus of urbanity remained dominant. In the aftermath of the war of 1857, however, the British fundamentally reconstituted the city and attempted to impose their own perceptions of urban practice on the residents of Delhi, I discuss the reaction of two native intellectuals to this process. While Ghalib noted the reconfiguration of the city with despair and predicted the doom of the 'old culture,' later reformers such as Nazir Ahmad sought to find a 'third way' that acknowledged the past was dead but nevertheless resisted British ways of thinking about the city. Thus, by the beginning of the 2 0  th  century,  the Mughal habitus of urbanity had been completely destroyed. In conclusion, I assess the impact of this destruction on the lives of Delhi's inhabitants.  O n July 10, 1737, the sixty-six year old Mughal nobleman C h i n Qulich K h a n and his entourage were warmly welcomed at the gates of Shahjahanabad. For his many services to the empire, he had been given control of the six provinces (subah-s) of the Deccan and a title by which he was most commonly known: N i z a m - u l M u l k (Administrator  of the  Realm). Thirteen  years before, Nizam-ul M u l k  had left  Shahjahanabad to establish an autonomous fiefdom in the Deccan that was only nominally under the authority of the Mughal court. H i s move signaled the weakness of the imperial court, and other noblemen in the empire were quick to take note of the fact. Between 1724 and 1730, the administrators (subahdar-s) of the richest provinces in the empire established themselves as the de facto rulers of their domains. While they stopped remitting revenue to the increasingly hapless Mughal emperor in Delhi, they continued to represent themselves as his faithful servants.  6  Nizam-ul mulk returned to the imperial capital in 1737 because he sensed a profound shift in the politics of Hindustan. The imperial court was no longer capable of defending its territories and seemed to be in imminent danger of a humiliating defeat at the hands of its old enemies, the Marathas. Just four months before Nizam-ul mulk's arrival, the city and its emperor lay at the mercy of a contingent of Maratha cavalry for three days whilst Mughal armies stumbled cluelessly farther afield. Perhaps out of lingering respect for Delhi's imperial aura, Baji Rao, the Maratha commander, did not despoil the city. Writing later wrote to his brother, he claimed that he "did not want to drive our friends to an extremity by committing sacrilege on the capital."  11  It was the  knowledge that the Mughals could not rest their security on the reverence of their enemies that presumably galvanized N i z a m - u l mulk into action and brought h i m yet again to the service of the emperor Muhammad Shah. Some Mughal chroniclers in Delhi had long felt the sense of crisis that doubtless spurred Nizam-ul mulk into action in the twilight of his life. Jahandar Shah, (r. 1712-13) for instance, is said to have sold the treasures and furnishings of the palace and spent "the last of the reserves accumulated since the time of B a b a r . " Fiscal calamities 12  were associated in the minds of the chroniclers with moral decline; there are many descriptions of Jahandar Shah taking a common singing-girl (mughinah) by the name of L a i Kunwar to be his queen and permitting her to use the regalia commonly associated with the person of the emperor himself: she was allowed to display the imperial standard, march with beating drums, and possess a personal guard of five hundred mounted  " Satish Chandra, Parties and Politics at the M u g h a l Court 1707-1740. 4th ed. (New D e l h i ; N e w Y o r k : O x f o r d University Press, 2002) 267, ft. 51 Chandra, 123 1 2  7  gentlemen-troopers (ahadi-s)P The chronicler Hadi Kamwar K h a n was infuriated by the fact that "the fiddlers and drummers who were the brothers and relations o f L a i Kunwar, swaggered through the streets o f Delhi, committing every sort o f outrage." Similarly, K h a f i Khan sarcastically remarked that "it was a fine time for minstrels and singers, and all the fine tribe o f dancers and a c t o r s . "  14  Writing in 1718-19, Nur-ud D i n Faruqi  complained, Everybody high and l o w immersed themselves i n a life o f ease and pleasure... There was no one to pay heed those oppressed by the kalawants [performers] and [those] whose life and property was in danger. A l l things forbidden by the sharia [Islamic law] were completely forgotten by the Shah and the soldiers alike, and from faqir [dervish] to wazir [minister] everyone became immersed i n things forbidden, and became heedless o f everything except pleasure. Little by little, the prestige and dignity o f the sovereign was forgotten by high and low alike, and the king appeared to be a king in the game o f chess, moved hither and thither... 15  Here, then, is almost a classical portrayal o f decadence: i n contrast to Aurangzeb, who had banned the performance o f music as un-Islamic, the musicians o f Shahjahanabad were running amok only five years after his death. Not only did they purvey a life o f "ease and pleasure," but they threatened private property, emasculated the soldiery and incapacitated authority. While the unfortunate Jahandar Shah's reign lasted barely a year, some thought that his reign signaled a time o f decadence and unmitigated imperial decline. M u c h o f the criticism in this vein was directed against the emperor Muhammad Shah. Reigning from 1719 to 1748, Muhammad Shah came to be known as " T h e C o l o r f u l " because o f his fondness for entertainment, and for his lassitude in the conduct o f the affairs o f state. The contemporary observer Rustam ' A l i Shahabadi may have  13  14  15  Chandra, 110-11 Chandra, 112,ft.41 Jahandar-Nama, quoted in Satish Chandra in Frykenberg, 211-212  8  reflected the disgust o f a section o f the nobility when he described the emperor to be a veritable "asylum o f negligence." Following the accounts o f these chroniclers, historical 16  work since has tended to reproduce the chroniclers' emphasis on the rapid moral decay o f the imperial court after the death o f the emperor Aurangzeb in 1707.  17  There was little doubt that the Shahjahanabad in which N i z a m - u l mulk's procession arrived that sweltering day in July had lost some o f its sheen. The emperor i n 1737 could not control large swathes o f his empire in the fashion that his ancestors had. While the emperors Shah Jahan and Aurangzeb had maintained a gruelling schedule o f movement from city to city within the empire, Muhammad Shah remained sequestered i n the Lai Qila (Red Fort) and left only to visit nearby parks and a fair at Garhmukteswar, a hundred miles east o f D e l h i . The ability o f the imperial court to control Delhi itself had 18  also become compromised: the privy-counsellor (wazir) Qamar-ud D i n Khan and his soldiers had considerable difficulty in quelling the so-called Shoe-sellers riot o f 1729 which was severe enough to prevent the Friday prayers from taking place at the central mosque (Jama Masjid).  19  The apocalyptic visions o f elite Mughal political commentators reflected their own preoccupations in a time wherein dominant authority was being eroded and other centers o f power and authority had begun to develop. The fact that some elite Mughal 20  writers were appalled by the dissolution o f social norms and the rise o f 'vulgar' people did not mean that the Mughal world was falling apart. In fact, an excellent description o f Chandra, 207, ft. 9 See esp. Jadunath Sarkar, Fall of the Mughal Empire (Calcutta, India: M . C . Sarkar, 1932), Chandra, 354,, Thomas George Percival Spear, Twilight of the Mughuls: Studies in late Mughul Delhi (Cambridge Eng.: University Press, 1951) 269 Sarkar, 4 Chandra, 282-83 Muzaffar Alam, The Crisis of Empire in Mughal North India: Awadh and the Punjab. 1707-48 (Delhi; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986) 365 16  17  1 8  19  2 0  9  the city and its variegated charms was produced by Dargah Q u l i Khan, a seventeen yearold nobleman who accompanied N i z a m - u l M u l k ' s procession to Shahjahanabad. Dargah Q u l i K h a n was N i z a m - u l M u l k ' s protege: the young man had been groomed for governance since his childhood by the elder statesman. Before leaving for the North, he had also been appointed the Superintendent o f Newsrunners (Daroga-e Harkara).  21  As  the central node in a large and sophisticated intelligence network, Dargah Q u l i K h a n ' s tasks would have been to collate information for his master from a constant stream o f data provided by a network o f settled newswriters (akhbar navis) and peripatetic undercover agents (khufia navis).  2 2  But the young Dargah Q u l i K h a n was not  overburdened overmuch by his official duties, for he found time to record the many attractions o f the city in a manuscript entitled Salar Jang's Essay (Risalah-e Salar Jang) which now forms one o f the best extant records o f eighteenth-century Delhi.  First  published in Persian in 1926 under the title o f The Delhi Folio (Muraqqa-e Dehli), the text was subsequently translated into U r d u (1981) and English (1989).  24  The Muraqqa does not fit contemporary notions o f a travelogue. Instead o f presenting a linear, chronological narrative from the perspective o f a self-conscious author, it consists o f a series o f descriptions of people and places. It does not describe the manners and customs o f the common people o f Delhi, and it contains none o f the physiocratic accounts o f environmental and economic characteristics that were the  Shama Mitra Chenoy, "Introduction" in Dargah Quli Khan,(ed. Chandar Shekhar and Shama Mitra Chenoy) Muraqqa-e-Delhi: the Mughal Capital in Muhammad Shah's Time (Delhi: Deputy Publication, 1989) xxxxvi On intelligence networks in pre-colonial India, see C. A . Bayly, Empire and Information: Intelligence Gathering and Social Communication in India. 1780-1870 (Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997) "Risalah-e Salar Jang" Persian Manuscript Collection, Add. 26,237, British Museum In this paper I rely on the translation of Dargah Quli Khan's Muraqqa-e Dehli in Shekhar and Chenoy, 1989 21  2 2  23  2 4  10  hallmark o f the later writings o f visiting East India Company officials. Though written after the supposedly devastating invasion o f Nadir Shah (1739), the text has only a peripheral mention o f the event. Indifferent to matters beyond the purview o f leisurely consumption and religion, the Muraqqa is clearly a text written for the sophisticates who had the luxury to spend their days in the enjoyment o f life. From a reading o f this text, then, there emerges the figure o f Delhi i n the mental ite o f the Mughal elite. M o r e particularly, the text represents an elite conception o f the cityscape o f the imperial capital, and sheds light on the city's habitus o f urbanity i n its embodied forms. The cityscape o f Shahjahanabad, for Dargah Quli Khan, was an uneven agglomeration o f places that were related in a network o f elite social practice situated i n urban space. Since he measured distances from the fort, it appears that he considered it to be the central feature o f the cityscape. Some distances, however, are given from the ' o l d ' fort or city, indicating the presence o f pre-Shahjahanabad settlements that continued to exist i n the architectural remnants o f other urban spaces. For the author, the space o f the city was composed o f sites that had religious, commercial, and erotic significance. The shrines o f the H o l y Footprint (Qadam Sharif), Qutb Sahib, Chiragh Dehli, Baqi B i l l a h , and o f Nizam-ud D i n A u l i a , are accorded considerable space and respect in the text. A s sites o f great religious importance, all attracted large crowds o f pious devotees, not only from neighbouring regions but from other parts o f the Mughal realm (Hindustan).  25  Both nobles and commonfolk jostled for space i n the crowds that  inevitably assembled on certain days o f the week or at times o f the year. Popular religiosity blended easily with commerce in such spaces: artisans displayed their wares, minstrels, ventriloquists and dancers performed before the crowds, and traders set up 2 5  Dargah Quli Khan, 6  11  shops on the roads leading to the shrine. Dargah Quli K h a n stated that the caretakers of the mausoleum of Nizam-ud D i n had set up their residences nearby, and that the locality had consequently become "populous;" indeed, he noted that, "Their [the caretakers'] livelihood depends on the offerings sent through representatives of devotees." There 26  was even a market for grave-sites: the wealthy purchased plots near the dargah (presumably from the caretakers) while the "innumerable" graves o f the poor surrounded the complex. Within the habitus of Mughal urbanity, places gained religious significance because of the presence of shrines and mausolea. These sites, in turn, accrued the cultural capital of holiness from the number of graves of mystics and miraculous saints near or around them. Thus, the shrine of Qutb Sahib enjoyed a plenitude of "the graves of saints in the surroundings of the masjid [mosque]" that would "cause envy for even the Rauzae-Rizwan [garden of Paradise]." For Dargah Q u l i Khan, mystical significance pervaded these shrines and graves in a most literal sense. In an age before the onset of mechanical reproduction, the very physicality of such structures was imbued with a potent aura. Therefore, "an extraneous illumination can be perceived at dawn" enveloping the shrine of Khwaja Qutb-ud D i n Bakhtiyar K a k i in his shrine (Dargah Qutb Sahib); the "walls and gates" of the mausoleum of Nizam-ud D i n were similarly illuminated.  28  The aura of these  sites was literally overpowering, for it could affect the bodies of those within its range: the "threshold" of the shrine of Nizam-ud D i n , thought the author, "strikes horror amongst the proud and compels the rebellious to prostrate before it."  26 27 28 29  29  Both Hindus and  Dargah Quli Khan, 10 Dargah Quli Khan, 3 Dargah Quli Khan, 6, 9 Dargah Quli Khan, 9 12  Muslims flocked to bathe in the reservoir ihauz) of the shrine of Chiragh Dehli to receive "perfect cures" for chronic corporeal afflictions.  30  Water was often perceived to be the agent of divine healing and it played a seminal role in Islamic conceptions of sanctity. It was an integral feature of the morphology of religious sites: both secular and religious activity accreted around the bodies of water that had been excavated as complements to shrines and mausolea. A reservoir was sacred because it not only nourished the populace, but also indicated that G o d cared for his people and provided for them.  31  The idea of water (ab) lay at the  etymological root of the concepts of cultivation, (abadani) urban settlement, population and prosperity (abad, abadi)? Such reservoirs often had mythological origins: in elite 2  hagiography, they could be the sites of the conflict between Muslims and Hindus - sites that were consecrated by the martyrdom (shahadaf) of Islamic warriors.  33  But in the  realm of popular religion, reservoirs acquired sanctity because of their association with Sufi saints, who offered prayers or performed miracles in the vicinity of such waterbodies. The healing waters of such reservoirs were highly prized: that from the Shrine 34  of the H o l y Footprint was distributed in distant regions by returning pilgrims. V e r y much like the sacred waters of the well of Zamzam in the Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, the "sweet water of the spring" near the Shrine of Hazrat AU was said to fulfill "the desires of the needy."  35  Water-bodies such as the Illuminated Reservoir (Hauz-e Shamsi) near the  Shrine of Qutb Sahib were thus integral parts of religious complexes.  Dargah Quli Khan, 11 Sunil Kumar, The Present in Delhi's Pasts. 1st ed. (New Delhi: Three Essays Press, 2002) 69 Kumar, 69 See Shahid Amin, "Un Saint Guerrier sur la Conquete de l'inde du Nord par les Turcs au Xie siecle," Annates 60. 2.(2005): 265-292 Kumar, 71 Dargah Quli Khan, 3, 4 30 31  32 33  34 35  13  Such reservoirs were prominent in the cityscape not only because of their religious significance, but also because they were the locus of considerable secular activity. In the vicinity of the complex that included the Shrine of Qutb Sahib, the grave of emperor Bahadur Shah (Khuld ManziT) and the Hauz-e Shamsi, Dargah Quli K h a n noted that the "debauched and drunken revel [led] in all kinds of perversities" and lovers wandered about "hand in h a n d . " The imperial censor (muhtasib), tasked with protecting 36  public morality, was helpless as "whores and lads entice [d] more and more people to this atmosphere of lasciviousness;" both high and low "quench[ed] the thirst of their lust" in the vicinity of the reservoir.  37  Similarly, a hauz near the shrine of Hazrat Nizam-ud D i n  became a gathering spot for the nobility of the day. This reservoir, along with a canal and garden, was part of the funerary complex that housed the grave of the important Mughal nobleman M i r Musharraf. H i s son M i r K a l l u commemorated the anniversary of the father's death as the ritual wedding of the departed soul to the almighty (urs) in the treelined gardens near the reservoir. According to Dargah Q u l i K h a n , these commemorations had assumed the character of lavish parties: noblemen and their retinues of entertainers and lovers all pitched their tents near the banks of the canal and enjoyed the candle-lit gardens and fragrant flowers. A t night, they amused themselves with alcohol, fine food and entertainment into the wee hours of the morning.  In this environment, declared the  author, "all hesitations are overcome and the people indulge in their desires and enjoy themselves."  Dargah Dargah Dargah Dargah  Quli Quli Quli Quli  39  Khan, Khan, Khan, Khan,  17 17-18 19-20 20  14  This environment of elite consumption was enabled by a complex hydraulic system which also served the agrarian hinterlands of the city. During the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, pre-Shahjahanabad settlements i n the region had been supplied by tanks, which received rain-water through run-off channels. In times of general stability, the tanks were replenished and permitted the growth of population in the region. But whenever local order began to crumble, the supply of water failed and urban settlements came under threat. Thus, the Hauz-e Shamsi dried up sometime in the 1260s because the channels feeding it were closed off by "dishonest men;" Firoz Shah Tughlaq destroyed these dams and revitalized the tank.  40  Shifting away from the rocky site of Tughlaqabad,  Firoz Shah founded the new city of Firozabad near the banks of the Yamuna; he is also credited with the excavation o f the canal that A l i Mardan K h a n re-opened at Shah Jahan's behest.  41  The Mughal system of canals fed the city and watered the inexhaustible topos of  the poets' beloved rose-garden; but it also undergirded the agrarian economy of the Delhi region. The canal permitted the development of orchards and farms which produced fruit and grain for consumption in the city. B y permitting farmers to purchase cuttings, the Mughal,state earned considerable revenue from the canal system; it could assign sections of the canal to individuals, who presumably were responsible for its maintenance. A bureaucratic staff surveilled the canal system and ensured that no illegal cuttings were made. The network of canals and reservoirs that found frequent incidental mention in 42  Dargah Q u l i Khan's account thus played a crucial role in sustaining Mughal urbanism. Not only did this hydraulic system enable an elite cultural milieu and attendant patterns  4 1  4 2  Athar A l i , in Frykenberg, 39 Gupta, in Frykenberg, 253 B a y l y , 17  15  of consumption, but it also augmented the water supply for the monsoon-dependent agricultural economy. There was, • o f course, much more to the city than the shrines, gardens, and reservoirs that Dargah Q u l i K h a n praised. But neither the architecture o f the walled city nor the features o f public life within it were o f particular interest to the young visitor. Only two central public spaces, Sa'adullah K h a n Square (Chowk Sa 'adullah Khan) and the Moonlight Avenue (Chandni Chowk) merited any attention from the author. Sa'adullah K h a n Square is presented as a slightly deceptive and risky environment. Besides "beautiful lads dancing at intervals," there were fortune-tellers seated on wooden chairs in a manner reminiscent o f Maulvis on their pulpits.  43  Unlike the benign scholars  of Islam, these men glibly discoursed on exoteric religious matters - for instance, the benefits o f fasting in certain months - and relieved the gullible o f their money. Similarly, astrologers and geomancers pleased their clientele by assuring them o f good fortune; and doctors (hakims) sold "multicoloured pouches which are supposedly a variety o f medicines but are in fact just m u c k . "  44  The doctor, " b y sheer force o f his words" could  induce people to purchase potions to increase virility; having "pawned everything they owned" these "cuckolds leave for their houses in a state o f euphoria." Dargah Q u l i 45  K h a n may have held these men in contempt because they were unaffiliated with the established Sufi shrines and because they catered to the needs o f the non-elite population of the city. But he was nevertheless fascinated by the weapons, the clothes, and especially the market for w i l d birds and beasts. Sa'adullah K h a n square merited attention for a nobleman because it was a quintessential^ urban environment: 43 44 45  because o f its  Dargah Quli Khan, 21 Dargah Quli Khan, 22 Dargah Quli Khan, 22 16  concentrated possibilities o f pleasure and demotic, threatening character, it marked the embodied habitus o f the urbanite i n a way that diffrentiated him sharply from rustics and visitors from other cultures. If Sa'adullah K h a n Square may have been slightly unsavory to the tastes o f a nobleman, the Moonlight Avenue was nonpareil in the luxuries that it proffered to the discerning visitor. Running 1,389 meters west from the Lahori Gate o f the Exalted Fort (Qila-e Mu 'alia) to the Fatehpuri Mosque, the avenue came to be known by the name o f the octagonal square (with sides o f roughly 90 meters) that lay at its center. The Canal 46  of Plenty (Nahr-e Faiz) ran through the middle of the street and made water an integral o f the cityscape. This canal was a branch o f the Paradise Canal (Nahr-e Bahisht) that according to the late 17 -century chronicler Sujan Rai Bhandari, "confers freshness on th  the gardens in the suburbs o f the capital, lends happiness to its streets and bazaars, and enhances the splendour o f the imperial palaces." Dargah Q u l i K h a n found the Canal o f 47  Plenty "full o f good and clean w a t e r . "  48  The silvery reflection of these waters on moonlit  nights gave the avenue its name. Shopkeepers on this street were prosperous enough to hire assistants to conduct everyday transactions i n jewelry, cloth, perfume, Chinese porcelain and fine glassware. The street also had a number o f coffee-houses (Qahwa Khana-s) where poets recited their verses before an audience in which the nobility were to be found.  49  The coffee served here was presumably more palatable than that served at  Blake, 55-56 Blake, 65 Dargah Quli Khan, 24 Dargah Quli Khan, 24  17  by residents o f the Arab Lodge (Arab Serai), which was laced with sugar and nauseated visiting guests.  50  While the Arab Lodge was at some distance from the city's walls, a variety o f urban institutions were clustered around Shahjahanabad's main thoroughfare.  Many  lodges were created in the vicinity o f mosques in order to house pilgrims who visited them from distant regions. Jahanara Begum, daughter o f Shah Jahan, built a luxurious lodge for the use o f merchants, along with a garden and water-courses immediately to the north o f Moonlight Avenue; a map from the mid-nineteenth century records the presence of more humble lodges such as Mahal Serai, Khwaja Serai and Serai Bangash near the main thoroughfare, and also lodges for Hindu pilgrims (dharmsala). Important visiting 51  noblemen, o f course, rented mansions or were allotted them, so we find no mention o f residence i n a lodge in Dargah Quli Khan's account. The map indicates not only temporary residences, but also the presence o f compounds (katra) that seem, by their names, to have housed groups o f people from regions outside the city. A Little Kashmiri Compound (Chota Kashmiri Katra) and a Marwari Compound (Katra Marwari) may have housed semi-permanent or permanent communities o f traders or officials who were drawn to the center o f the realm. Besides lodges, a courtesans' quarter (Tawaif Kucha), and a school (Madrassah), the magistrate's headquarters (Chabutra Kotwali) were also situated on the street. The multitude o f urban practices engendered by that the avenue's residences, lodges, shops, cafes, places o f worship, imperial institutions - and the silvery, flowing water - all served to place it at the center o f Delhi's cityscape for visitors and residents alike. Dargah Quli Khan, 48 An excellent reproduction of this map is presented in Eckart Ehlers and Thomas Krafft, Shahjahanabad/Old Delhi: Tradition and Colonial Change (Stuttgart: F. Steiner, 1993) 5 0  5 1  18  Amongst the imperial institutions of the city, the Magistracy was one of the most important. The magistrate (Kotwal) was responsible for maintaining law and order i n the city; his headquarters is depicted as being a fair-sized building with a number o f cells, perhaps used for the incarceration of criminals. The system of surveillance and punishment worked vigorously to maintain order amongst the lower orders. The magistrate's headquarters was a classically urban public space where inchoate antiimperial resentment found expression. For instance, during the last years o f Aurangzeb's reign someone affixed a flag to the railing o f the magistrate's headquarters in the dead o f night; the flag read, " W h e n the K i n g comes out of the fort, let h i m beware!" The magistrate sent the flag to the Emperor, and upon the issuance o f a proclamation, an ascetic of a militant Sikh order was apprehended and flogged to death. Again, in 1721, a 52  flag bearing the phrase " L e t the Emperor beware and quit the palace," was found tied to the railing of the headquarters; after the announcement of an imperial proclamation throughout the city accompanied by the beating o f drum, a M u s l i m mendicant o f the A z a d sect - who went by the Hindu name Naranjan - was caught and brought before the emperor. He was turned over to the Vazir, who had h i m severely flogged.  53  Public  executions, though infrequent, also took place at the open platform of the headquarters, thus exposing the workings o f imperial power on the bodies of its objects to the view o f the assembled masses of the city. The magistrate's headquarters, situated so prominently on the Chowk, thus marked the ubiquitous presence o f imperial authority amongst the lives of the people. In doing so, it staked a claim to legitimacy within Shahjahanabad's built environment.  5 2  Bayly, 20  William Irvine and Jadunath Sarkar, Later Mughals (New Delhi: Oriental Books Reprint Corp.; exclusively distributed by Munshiram Manoharlal, Delhi, 1971)  5 3  19  M a n y other urban institutions staked this claim within the city: o f these, the central Mosque o f Congregation was the most obviously significant. Situated on an elevated area in the city, the mosque was a central place where people gathered i n prayer or spent time in quiet contemplation away from the bustle o f the city. The architectural style o f the Mosque was identical with that o f the Red Fort, and the emperor's name was invoked during prayers every day. O n significant days, the emperor himself prayed at the mosque. Markets and eateries were to be found in the surrounding open spaces. The architectural unity o f mosque and fort, the public rest-houses and gardens near Moonlight Avenue, and the canals which flowed out o f the ever-visible R e d Fort, were all acts o f royal munificence which made imperial presence ubiquitous and associated it inseparably from the urban character o f the city. Urban institutions such as the magistracy, the lodges, and the gardens were all crucial to the conception o f the city, but do not find mention i n Dargah Q u l i Khan's text. In the nobleman's sense o f the cityscape, many arenas o f plebian intercourse were relegated to the periphery; as a member o f the elite, Dargah Quli K h a n was (nominally) a servant o f the emperor, and his relationship with that figure was not mediated through impersonal institutions such as the magistracy. Within his sense o f the cityscape, therefore, lay elite contexts o f recreation and consumption: shrines, markets, and gardens. These were populated by individuals who satisfied desires, whether sacred or carnal. While prominent saints are reverently described i n the text, a large part o f the Muraqqa is devoted to descriptions in praise o f dancers and singers, courtesans and catamites. The highest mark o f approbation for a performer was to entertain the emperor (the supreme arbiter o f elegance). Dargah Q u l i Khan cultivated his own sense o f connoisseurship and  20  critically evaluated the particular abilities of individuals. Some, like the older courtesans Asa Pura and Chamani, were desirable for their "intoxicating voices." Others, like 54  Panna Bai, were prized for their subtlety and wit. These entertainers were generally 55  encountered in the context of elite assemblages {mahfil). Removed from the demotic entertainments of streets and shrines, such gatherings were private and restricted to the city's elites. But they did not represent a formal and static school of manners, for their fashions were constantly shaped by interaction with non-elite entrants into the world of 'high' culture. Low-class performers sometimes popularized their own idiom amongst elite gatherings, and the poets such as M i r Taqi M i r employed the ordinary language 'spoken on the steps of the Jama Masjid' in poetry presented before exalted audiences.  56  Rather than a rigidly hierarchical world of semi-autonomous patrimonial fiefdoms, Delhi in Dargah Quli Khan's account appears to have been a relatively freely-circulating urban society in which high and low were often in proximity. Writing of sexually available young men and women, Dargah Quli Khan describes the gatherings of Azam Khan to be "occasions where the beauty and attributes of these people are judged, and [they] are not considered worthy unless they pass the test here. This molten gold or silver has to go through the furnace of his [Azam Khan's] assemblies before they become standardized." This metaphor of the imperial mint 57  points to the fact that the bodies of lowly entertainers circulated in two economies: these people could provide their services in a highly competitive urban market in which the  Dargah Quli Khan, 104, 108 Dargah Quli Khan, 125 For performers see Dargah Quli Khan, 100, Dargah Quli Khan, 100; on Mir, see Ralph Russell and Khurshidul Islam, Three Mughal Poets: Mir. Sauda. Mir Hasan (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1968), 265 Dargah Quli Khan, 39 , 5 4  5 5  5 6  5 7  21  consumption of leisure provided Mughal elites a means to dispense revenues back into the economy. In this sense, the constant stream of molten silver shaped the cityscape much as silvery waters of the urban canals did. But having been stamped with the seal of elite approval, the bodies of singers and dancers themselves became a form of currency within the symbolic economy of the city. B y the possession and transaction of this currency, members of the Mughal elite established and affirmed their place in the urban habitus. Through their patronage of entertainers and their appreciation of music, poetry and dance, the Mughal elite came to dominate the point of intersection between the symbolic and real economies of Hindustan. The substance of both symbolic and real economies, as we have seen, was produced in an urban space that was undergirded by a matrix of technologies (such as those of hydraulic management) and institutions (markets and mahfil-s). The importance of water in both cannot be understated. The flow o f water helped create the farms which provided the revenue that was then spent in the city on the creation of cultural capital. This capital defined both elite and non-elite lifestyles; in creating gardens and beautifying streets, the management of water was a necessary precondition of the particular habitus o f the city. If technologies such as water-management enabled this habitus, institutions shaped and regulated it. The markets, shrines, and coffee-houses, as well as marks of imperial authority in the form of public architecture all shaped the particular and contingent terms on which cultural capital was generated in the city. Such influence shaped the embodied habitus of elite noblemen who perceived, appreciated and enjoyed the practices and structures which led to the production of cultural capital. Indeed, this cultural capital may be more properly considered symbolic capital, because the relations  22  of.its production signified the hegemonic dominance o f the Mughal imperium. In 1740, a scion o f an old Mughal service family from Hyderabad could easily navigate the urban field o f Shahjahanabad and feel at home within it.  The  repeated sacking o f the city in the later half o f the eighteenth century  damaged, i f not destroyed, the matrix o f technologies and institutions that supported Delhi's urbanism. The extent o f the damage is open to question. For the poet M i r Taqi ' M i r , ' the most noteworthy sacking o f the city took place in 1760, at the hand o f the Rohillas (Afghans who had long lived in India): The armies o f the Rohilla poured in and set about looting and killing. They knocked down doors o f the houses and tied up the owners, and some they burned while others they beheaded... Roofs were dug up; walls were pulled down. Breasts were torn open; hearts were charred... The wealthy were turned into beggars. Those who once set the style i n clothes now went naked; and those who owned property were now homeless... The soldiers slashed and wounded, and abused and cursed... It was a reign o f tyrants. They stole and plundered, and obscenely enriched themselves. They laid hands upon women. They waved their swords and snatched away wealth... on every doorstep stood a blackguard; in every lane was a reign o f terror. A n d every marketplace was a field o f combat. Bloodshed went on everywhere. People were strung up everywhere... The grounds o f the old city, which used to be called a world o f its own, appeared like the rubble o f some wall that had been painted with figures, for wherever one looked one saw heads and limbs and torsos o f those who had been slaughtered.  This account, like that o f the poet Sauda, has often been taken the paradigmatic account of the destruction o f D e l h i .  59  Taken literally, it would reflect a destruction o f Delhi so  thorough that the events o f 1857 would appear mild by comparison. But in translating  'Mir', Mir Muhammad Taqi, (ed. C. M . Nairn) Zikr-i Mir: the Autobiography of the Eighteenth Century Mughal Poet: Mir Muhammad Taqi 'Mir'. (1723-1810') (Delhi: Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002) 8485 See (Russell and Islam, 35), and more recently, (Blake, 166-8)  5 9  23  this section, C M . Nairn observes that it "was composed by M i r with much passion - and also with other concerns, which are evident from his skillful rhyming prose and the use o f any number o f unusual i d i o m s . . . "  60  Furthermore, M i r had on other occasions referred to  Delhi as a 'house o f enchantments,' wherein existed 'luxury,'  'sensuous delights,'  'intoxicants,' and 'women,' in sufficient quantity to ruin a young man who gave himself up to hedonistic pursuits.  61  This Delhi, with its unlimited ability to sustain elite lifestyles  of dissipation, seems closer in spirit to Dargah Q u l i Khan's vision o f the city; here M i r was referring to the years between 1779 and 1782 - only two decades after the seemingly apocalyptic destruction o f the city! Such inconsistencies suggest that poetic accounts o f Delhi's decline over the second half o f the eighteenth century must be treated primarily as poetry designed to excite pathos, and not as reportage. Especially in M i r ' s case, it is 62  clear that the ruined city provided an excellent topos in verses such as: The city o f my heart - alas! - was once a wondrous sight. Her going razed it to the ground; none w i l l live there again. (1.27.18)  63  And, W h y do you mock at me and ask yourselves Where in the world I come from, easterners? There was a city, famed throughout the world, Where dwelt the chosen spirits of the age: Delhi its name, fairest among the fair. Fate looted it and laid it desolate, A n d to that ravaged city I belong. 64  Here, M i r (addressing a mahfil i n Lucknow) neatly invokes the symbolic capital o f ' D e l h i : ' not only does he establish the cultural supremacy of the city (thus denigrating his  'Mir', Mir Muhammad Taqi, 85, ft. 194 'Mir', M i r Muhammad Taqi, 118 See Sunil Sharma, "The City of Beauties in Indo-Persian Poetic Landscape," South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, 24:2 (2004), esp. p.80 Russell and Khurshidul Islam, 222 Russell and Khurshidul Islam, 260 6 1  6 2  Comparative  Studies of  6 3  6 4  24  audience), he also posits himself as one of the last representatives of that shattered tradition. The topos of a desolate Delhi, and Mir's glorification of the language 'spoken on the steps of the Jama Masjid' (itself a charged signifier of Mughal imperium) all serve to buttress his own position as the pre-eminent poet in North India during his time on the basis of the symbolic capital produced within the confines of Shahjahanabad's walls. Although it is difficult to gauge the extent of the city's decline through the verses of its poets, it is nevertheless clear that Delhi's economic position declined substantially in the latter half of the eighteenth century, especially after 1761. Perhaps the most important cause of this decline lay in the destruction of the Canal system around Delhi in that year. As the canals ceased to function, the irrigation systems that enabled the imperial territory of Delhi failed. This territory, which had yielded 3,075,314 rupees according to the A'in-e Akbari, fell out of irrigated cultivation.  65  Land which had  produced up to three harvests a year now produced one, if at all. The king had granted land in this region to local chiefs in return for military service, but such obligations were broken. The King in Delhi thus lost his last possible source of revenue, and with it, all hopes of future autonomy. As the canals dried up, the ecology of the region changed; the water table fell rapidly, causing a drop in the height of the river. Because fresh water ceased to enter the city, the sanitation system (which had depended on flushing the city waste through underground conduits) failed, and the gardens of the city suffered. Many 66  of the residents of the city had received income from agricultural production in the hinterland, but settled cultivators were being rapidly displaced by nomadic and pastoral Gujjar and Batti tribesmen; the old nobility of the city was unable to assert its rights to C. A. Bayly, Rulers. Townsmen and Bazaars: North Indian Society in the Age of British Expansion 1770-1870. 1st ~ ed. (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2002) 87; Ain, Vol. 2, Sec. 189 Vijay Prashad, "The Technology of Sanitation in Colonial Delhi," Modern Asian Studies 35.1 2001, 120  6 5  6 6  25  hinterland properties until the onset of the Raj.  67  But the picture was not one of  unmitigated decline. While poets like Mir and Sauda emigrated from the city to emerging cultural centres such as Lucknow, Jain commercial folk and Panjabi Khattris continued to migrate to it in later half of the eighteenth century.  68  During the last decade of the eighteenth century, several British travelers had the opportunity to visit the city. Their descriptions of the city, Bayly suggests, cannot be accepted at face value because they were prone to romanticising the past and marveling at the decay of great empires. While British gentlemen of the era were indeed trained to 69  appreciate antiquity through a classicist aesthetic, such elegiac lauding of the past was not just the idle fancy of highly-educated men; rather, much writing on Delhi was infused with a rhetoric of decline that had a pointed purpose in the present. British perceptions of the cityscape, like those of the Mughals who had preceded them, were not ideologically neutral, as the following comparison between two British descriptions of the cityscape will demonstrate. In 1793, a British lieutenant by the name of William Franklin had occasion to visit Delhi while 'surveying' the Doab region between the Ganga and Jamuna rivers on behalf of the Presidency of Bombay. His article on the city, published in Sir William Jones' Asiatick Researches, was one of the first European accounts of the city in more than a century. Franklin had much to say about the city, but all his comments indicated that he was visiting the ruins of a once-glorious but now sorrily debased imperial centre. Examining the houses of the elite, Franklin wrote, "Within the city of new Delhi [i.e 6 7 6 8  6 9  Bayly, in Frykenberg, 230 Bayly, in Frykenberg, 235 Bayly, in Frykenberg, 224,  26  Shahjahanabad as opposed to older settlements in the region] are the remains of many splendid palaces, belonging to the great Omrahs of the empire. A l l of these palaces are surrounded with high walls, and take up a considerable space of ground... Each palace has a Mahal, or seraglio, adjoining; A l l of them had gardens with capacious stone reservoirs and fountains in the center... Each palace was likewise provided with a handsome set of baths, and a Teh Khana [Basement] underground."  70  The uneasy shift  from past tense to present is indicative of Franklin's own ambivalence about what he saw: i f there were only 'remains' of 'splendid palaces,' why did they continue to have gardens, baths, and underground chambers? Was Franklin wandering the desolate ruins abandoned palaces, or  being  shown  the  accommodations  of  (nameless)  of  hosts?  Shahjahanabad, Franklin thought, had been rebuilt and now contained many good houses. The streets, however, were narrow: there were once two "very noble" streets that had now fallen into disrepair. "Shah Jahan," declared Franklin, "caused an aqueduct to be made of red stone, which conveyed the water along the whole length of the street... some remains of the aqueduct are still to be seen, but it is choked up in the most part with rubbish."  Similarly, the markets of the city were "miserably reduced:" even the Chandni  Chowk market had only "very trifling" commerce. In Franklin's eyes, the Red Fort was also in pitiable condition. The rooms around courtyard o f the Divan-e am, Franklin imagined, " i n the times o f the splendour of empire, were adorned with a profusion of the richest tapestry, velvets and silks... these  William Franklin, " A n Account of the Present State of Delhi" Asiatic Researches, or. Transactions of the Society. Instituted in Bengal, for Inquiring into the History and Antiquities, the Arts. Sciences, and Literature, of Asia ... (London: Printed for J. Sewell, 1799) 421-22 Franklin, 425-26 Franklin, 426  71  7 2  27  decorations have been long since laid aside, and nothing but the bare walls remained." No persons, save one, are mentioned or described in this account of the city, so a modern reader might be pardoned for thinking that Shahjahanabad, like Persepolis, offered only mute testimony to former dominion. The only figure to appear in this account was the emperor Shah Alam II. Franklin imagined he "could observe in his [Shah Alam's] aspect a thoughtfulness, as if sufficiently well acquainted with his present degraded situation, and the recollection of his former state." Franklin ended his article by describing the 74  view towards Delhi from the Shalimar Gardens to the north: The prospect to the southward of Shalimar towards Delhi, as far as the eye can reach, is covered with the remains of extensive gardens, pavilions, mosques, and burying-places, all desolate and in ruins. The environs of this once magnificent and celebrated city now appear nothing more than a shapeless heap of ruins, and the country around it is equally forlorn. 75  Franklin's sense of the cityscape is striking: Delhi, for him, was no more than a heap of rubble, atop which rested a throne for the blind and helpless descendant of Timur. Almost all traces of the past had disappeared from this palimpsest, and it was ready to bear the inscription of a new elite, one that could bring peace and order. By rejecting the city's claim to vitality and cultural importance, Franklin refused to ascribe value to its symbolic currency. His view of the cityscape, with its focus on the ruins and curiosities of a decidedly dead empire, reflected the incipient habitus of an encroaching colonial urbanity. While Franklin saw a Delhi that had been completely destroyed, another British visitor to the city saw it in quite a different light only one year later, in 1794. Like Franklin, Thomas Twining found the suburbs of the city in ruins. Behind the city's walls,  7 3  7 4  7 5  Franklin, 429 Franklin, 428 Franklin, 432  28  however, life seemed to proceed apace. Twining found the streets "well-peopled, though not crowded," with "perfectly well behaved and civil" people; these men had a "lofty military air," and many of them bore swords and shields - a testament, perhaps, to the unsettled times. Twining noticed new construction in the city, much of which consisted 76  of "small houses of mean appearance" and obscured the previous layout of the city streets. But the residences of elites were still in good repair. The Maratha governor of the city lived in a large mansion with a flower-filled garden that contained an open pavilion (barah-dari) and a pond. Of his hospitality, Twining wrote, 77  The servants of the palace, in consequence of orders they had received, now brought me, on large waiters of silver, the Paandan, Utrdan, and Golabdan, and chougurrahs, or trays, of Colfy. Being a lover of fruit, this part of the ceremony was by no means displeasing to me. I tasted such of the productions of the Shah's garden as I had not seen before, or not seen in such excellence. Utr of roses and other perfumes were now poured on the palms of my hands, which I rubbed together, and wiped upon my dress and handkerchief. Rose water was next sprinkled upon me from an elegant silver vessel having a long neck, perforated with holes at the end. The officer charged with this part of the honours stood at a little distance, and seemed not inattentive to the grace of his action, as he flourished the vessel about, and showered its fragrant stream on me. 78  Twining's description reveals that the Maratha governor of the city, though a 'nonHindustani,' nevertheless embodied the habitus of Shahjahanabad. In his practice of courtesy and amenability, as in his use and display of cultural capital, the Maratha was indistinguishable (except for his regional accent) from others within Delhi's cultural milieu. Even after six decades of endemic warfare, the Mughal court retained its  T h o m a s T w i n i n g , T r a v e l s i n I n d i a a H u n d r e d Y e a r s A g o . W i t h a V i s i t t o t h e U n i t e d States ( L o n d o n : J . R . O s g o o d , M c l l v a i n e & C o . , 1893) 2 2 4 , 2 4 2 7 7  Twining, 225-26  7 8  Twining, 227  29  symbolic importance by continuing to define the social norms of cultivated behavior and politeness (adab). In his memoirs, Twining devotes considerable space and attention on his visit to the emperor at the Red Fort. Although he noticed that some parts of the fort were in disrepair, Twining was nevertheless awed by the palace and especially by the Hall of Special Audience (Divan-e Khas): This splendid room was composed entirely of white marble, as is the adjoining terrace and its two pavilions... The highly-sculptured roof, which rested lightly on these elegant columns, was also of white marble, embossed with gulcurrys of the same exquisite workmanship, intermixed with decorations in gold. A velvet cushion was on the chabooturah, and under a handsome canopy, supported by massive pillars of silver, was the throne of the Padshah, covered with crimson velvet. 79  Franklin, who had also visited the emperor, does not appear to have noticed these marks of Mughal finery. His sense of the cityscape was too ideologically charged to permit him to notice that the Mughal world, though impoverished in terms of economic capital, still was the guardian of an immense reserve of symbolic capital. Thus, the very site in which this capital was produced became 'ruined' and in need of 'restoration.' Twining, however, did not think of the pomp and ceremony of the court to be the effeminate indulgences of a helpless and indolent emperor. In spite of his expectations, he found "nothing repulsive" in the visage of the blinded emperor, who addressed him with proper regal dignity. The young British visitor humbly accepted a gorgeous set of ceremonial robes (khillat.) Then, at the emperor's behest, Twining was led around the palace. At night, twenty men (each  7 9  Twining, 233  30  carrying two dishes on a bamboo pole) brought him dinner, along with "a numerous set of handsome and richly dressed nautch girls" and a "respectable" set of musicians.  80  Having enjoyed the king's hospitality, Twining began the return to Calcutta. Before his departure, he made several purchases in the markets of Shahjahanabad. His chief acquisition was an enormous Kabuli sheep, and the hookah-bottoms for which the city was renowned. But he also bought: [A]n axe with a gun in the iron-handle and a large two-edged dagger with a Hindoo figure upon it... T o these objects I added a handsome coat of mail.:, an accurate map o f Dehli, neatly delineated with red and black lines on a fine paper o f yellow hue... some bows o f buffalo horn, some quivers and arrows, (the latter tastefully ornamented with gilt) and an entire copy o f the Koran, neatly written, in miniature, upon a long roll of fine paper about three inches in width. 81  This is a revealing list, because it sheds some light on the sorts of things one could purchase in the city o f Delhi during one of its supposedly darkest periods. The market for high-quality arms that Dargah Quli Khan had admired seems to have been maintained: except for the dagger and the coat of mail, all the other items were the ornamental luxury goods, perfect bric-a-brac for the well-to-do early modern tourist. The 'accurate map' and the handwritten miniature Koran are tantalizing pointers to the literary aspects o f urban culture which have not yet been fully reconstructed. But it is clear that even in the last decade of the eighteenth century, Delhi's markets were capable o f exchanging cultural capital for its economic equivalents. What  explains  the  considerable  difference  in  Franklin's  and  Twining's  perceptions o f the city? Franklin, it appears, did not sense the cityscape at all: his account is bereft o f the descriptions o f the character of the city's inhabitants and their practices. 8 0  8 1  T w i n i n g , 239-40 T w i n i n g , 256  31  For Franklin, as we have noted, the city was an urban space that had declined and ceased to retain the characteristics that might once have made it worthy of comparison with other cities in other places. The merciless impulse to catalogue ruin after ruin, without the attendant impulse to note the presence o f living societies within those ruins, may stem from Franklin's self-conception as a surveyor: a person exercising the governmental impulses o f a British regime that was already looking towards North India with interest. But this was not the only or indeed the 'natural' way in which servants o f the East India Company might view the city o f Delhi. Twining, too, commented from time to time on the extraordinary ruination o f certain parts o f the city - most notably the suburban districts. But within the walls o f the city, he found much to appreciate amongst the obvious decay o f some aspects o f urban order. For Franklin, the only individual worth nothing in the city was the emperor, and he cut quite a pathetic figure. Twining, on the other hand, reports conversation with a variety o f personages (both high and low) i n the city, whom he appears to have found courteous and civil. B y appreciating the practices o f hospitality and condescension that he encountered, Twining accepted the symbolic economy o f the city that Franklin had refused to acknowledge. The dissonance between these two visitors' perceptions o f the city appears to foreshadow the fierce debate between the Orientalists and the Anglicists over the forms o f colonial authority best suited for India. The discourse underlying Franklin's writings was certainly shared by those who felt that the time was ripe to establish actively interventionist British rule over North India under the guise o f 'reform' and 'rejuvenation.' The Mughal ancien regime thus  appears to have maintained  some, not  inconsiderable, level o f cultural vitality even up to the eve o f the British takeover, and it  32  certainly maintained symbolic authority amongst the rulers of successor states. Muzaffar Alam has explained this by arguing that when local rulers "sought institutional validation of their spoils, they needed a centre to legitimize their acquisitions." Through the figure 82  of the emperor who provided this validation, the regime dominated the apparatus of symbolic legitimation. This was a fact of which both Europeans and North Indians were keenly aware. Writing in 1779 of the previous Mughal emperors' punitive powers, Col. Antoine Louis Henry Polier noted: Tho: from the debility and want of power of the Court of Delhy, such reversions do not take place now a days, nevertheless, while the name of King is preserved in the illustrious family of Timur, the different princes of India will always be proud to acknowledge his right, by applying to him, and by requesting the patterns of investiture for their different territories, and also for having particular honours conferred on themselves, none being hereditary in India. 83  By his monopoly over the distribution of the "patterns of investiture" the Mughal emperor continued to be the dominant symbolic authority in North India even though his military authority had waned. As the first part of this section has shown, the continued production of symbolic capital depended on the previous application of economic capital on a large scale to the task of creating a technological and institutional framework that ordered the urban landscape. This matrix of technologies and institutions, in turn, produced the powerful symbolic currency which bore the name of the so-called descendants of Timur and continued in circulation long after the demise of Mughal authority. -  Alam, 17 Polier in Pratul Chandra Gupta, Shah Alam II and his Court, a Narrative of the Transactions at the Court of Delhy from the Year 1771 to the Present Time (Calcutta: S.C. Sarkar and sons, 1947) 41 8 2  8 3  33  The British assumed formal control of Delhi in 1803, and immediately began to modify the built environment of the city. They built a series of highly defensible settlements on the ridge that ran to the north and the east of the walled city, and amongst the overgrown suburban gardens o f the erstwhile Mughal elite. Within the city, the British strategically appropriated choice land to the north and the south o f the fort. In the north, British residences clustered around the Kashmiri Gate, whilst in the south they were established near the Delhi Gate of the city. Some buildings, such as the residency, were built in the Palladian style that was popular in Europe and America in the later half of the eighteenth century. The new construction entailed the destruction of the sprawling mansions that had previously belonged to members of the royal family. For instance, Prince Dara Shikoh (1615-59) had established a palatial mansion in this region when the city of Shahjahanabad was established: because of its gigantic scale, the complex had all 84  the functional features of a neighbourhood, including barracks for soldiers and stables. The British administration carved up this complex into a set of residences and created a magazine, quarters for engineers or carpenters, a court, a hospital, a Christian graveyard, a post-office, a treasury, stables, barracks for soldiers and the city guard, and perhaps a printing press (Chappa Khana). In doing so, the British altered the cityscape in a manner that was new to the city. For one, the residences of the new elite were built in a distinctly European style, with completely new internal arrangements: The only concession that the resident Charles Metcalfe made to the architecture of the East was in continuing to use the basements which were presumably excavated by Dara Shikoh: in other respects, his house was very different from those of the natives of the city, eschewing as it did the use o f an internal courtyard. While some of the Mughal gardens (bagh) appear to have been 84  Hosagrahar, 29 34  maintained, others were landscaped in a formal European style. The impact of these structures on the inhabitants of the city would have been curtailed by their remoteness from city life and their inaccessibility to the city's elites and the gardeners, stable-hands, servants or laborers who worked in the British zones. Before the War of 1857, the most graphic changes in the terrain took place around the city. The new British administration realized that Delhi had formerly lain in a 'Sea of Plenty' that was the result of Mughal hydraulic engineering. Under the direction of L o r d Hastings, the Delhi branches of the old Mughal canals were opened, so that on M a y 30 1820, water ran through the Paradise Canal into Delhi after eighty years. The social memory of water flowing through the city appears to have survived the tumults of the previous century, for the people of Delhi held a "general festival" and welcomed the water with garlands of flowers.  85  A British officer noted that the "canal has arrived, and  the people [are] delighted. The town is wonderfully improved, and the people look happy, clean and contented. N e w houses are building on every spot." Other accounts confirm 86  that the water revitalized intramural wells in the city and vastly improved the quality of life of residents within the c i t y .  87  Sonipat, some 50 kilometers north of the city, had  become a "perfect garden" because of the renewal of irrigation. It was not an interest in the urban environment but an explicitly economic and utilitarian logic that drove these hydraulic projects. Contemporary British observers such as Henry Spry were more interested in the fact that the supply of water to the city  Spear, 105 William Dalrymple, "The British in Delhi," Draft Manuscript, Forthcoming, 16 Henry H . Spry, Modern India (London: Whittaker, 1837) 280 Spear, 105  35  permitted the operation of flour-mills which yielded as much as 3,000 pounds annually. Overjoyed at the profitability  89  of these canals, L o r d Hastings further ordered the  development of more watercourses in the Doab, which were opened in 1830. The desire for profit was couched, as ever, in the rhetoric of utility and responsibility: Writing in 1837, Spry approvingly cited the announcement "to the people" that: [T]he object of government in obtaining a rent through the canals was not so much to form a productive source of revenue from the actual price paid for the water, as to give them an efficient control over its expenditure, by making it of value sufficient to prevent its being wasted wantonly, and that they looked alone to the general improvement of the country as the source from which they should derive the return adequate to the outlay 9 0  The new canals led to the "inactive pastoral people" - the criminalized Gujjars, for instance - being led to "useful and profitable employment:" in turn, the inexorable revenue machine worked ever more efficiently: the rents of canal villages were raised, while "others that were reckoned highly assessed have been enabled to pay their revenue."  91  Once revenue was being extracted at the highest possible level, it became  possible to fantasize about extensive sugarcane, tobacco and cotton plantations in the regions surrounding Delhi. Doubtless with the inevitable onward march of reason in mind, Spry confidently predicted a day would soon come when "scientific agriculturalists and others shall have put us in possession of their hygrometrical observations" and it would be known before a crop was planted "whether it w i l l be successful or not, and with safety transport into regions far apart the productions of different countries." A s "the art of 92  agriculture in India is still its infancy," better varieties of crops and more efficient mills  89 90 91 92  Spry, 281 Spry, 285-6 Spry, 286 Spry, 292 36  "than the miserable pestle and mortar thing now in use" would ensure that the "benefits would soon be fully apparent, and the time and expense repaid by an abundant return."  93  In this optimistic scenario, the flows of British capital and Jamuna water would intermingle and increase each other. With careful monitoring and rational planning, the increase of this factor of production would forever change the 'primitive' relations of production in the countryside, and bind the old Mughal heartland with the imperial economy. The residents of Delhi could hardly have known that the logic and vision which brought the water back to Delhi lay at the cusp of modernity. They would also have been unable to predict the environmental disasters that would soon befall the Delhi district because of the poor alignment of the canals, and the subsequent immiseration of rural areas around the city. For them, the moment must have appeared pregnant with possibilities: the clear liquid which returned to Delhi was still the 'Water of Life' (ab-e hayat) and not H2O, the sanitary product required to make the city clean or the factor of production that would create an industrious and settled yeomanry. It is hardly surprising, then, that the opening of the canal coincided with the dawn of the 'Delhi Renaissance.' Water had made the city come to life again, and its management represented an administration that in 1820 had not wholly donned the garbs of modern rationality and pragmatism. The institutions which came to define the city in this period reflected, at least initially, the weak ideological basis of the British administration. The uncertainties of British rule were reflected in the thorny question of how the powers of the British resident were to be reconciled with the nominal sovereignty of the Mughal emperor, who was now described as the king of Delhi. The Company gained 93  Spry, 292-4 37  rights to revenue from the so-called assigned territories outside the city, from which it would provide the royal treasury with at least eleven and a half lakh rupees a year. The king was to maintain all authority within the Exalted Fort, but the British resident in Delhi ran the show in the city outside. The sum was designed to ensure that the Mughal 94  emperor and his many dependents could live with dignity. But the Mughals, Percival Spear notes, "never ceased to dip the hand of hope into the treasury of demand." Even 95  so, the initial policy was generally conciliatory. In 1811, Court of Directors of the East India Company decided: The course which appears to us the most proper to be pursued, and which has in fact been hitherto pursued with respect to his Majesty the K i n g of Delhi, is to leave his authority in the state in which we found it, and to afford the Royal Family the means of subsistence, not merely in a state of comfort, but of decent splendour not unsuitable to the descendants of a fallen but illustrious House, to whose power we have in a great measure succeeded. 96  Indeed, the first British residents remained suitably considerate of the king's perquisites. But by the 1830s the institutions of the East India Company in North India had begun to harden. A s their institutions of rule became more secure, the British found themselves in an increasingly contradictory position vis-a-vis the K i n g of Delhi. O n the one hand, the company exacted revenues, maintained law and order, and freely governed the city of Delhi. O n the other hand, the K i n g of Delhi remained the sole symbolic authority in the city: his establishment alone legitimized and validated symbolic capital. The K i n g resided in, and was metonymically intertwined with, the city: by the nineteenth century, this  Quoted in Spear, 38 Spear, 39 Spear, 44  38  symbolic complex of 'King' and 'City' produced hegemony without dominance. The 97  city and its built environment were richly symbolic of an authority that was not wholly subordinate to those who regarded themselves the real masters of the land. It is therefore significant that the site of the sharpest conflicts between the British administration and the inhabitants of the fort were over the symbols of obedience and subservience. In this context, Spear has demonstrated how matters of court etiquette and ritual came to cause tremendous friction between the Resident and the King. While early British visitors such as Thomas Twining reverently performed the requisite obeisances, in the colonial era British administrators refused to perform the symbolic acts of supplication required of all visitors to the Red Fort. Lord Hastings could not meet the king in Delhi as he traveled to command the Gurkha War (1814-15) because he refused to present the offerings (nazr) by which social hierarchy was re-affirmed in the Mughal world. It was not that the practice of presenting nazrs was in itself offensive: Rather, Hastings could not countenance any acknowledgement of the King as his superior. By 1826, the Mughals and the British had learned to make some concessions: the superior rank of the king was acknowledged over visiting British Governors-General without, however, any reciprocal acceptance of British obligation. Lord Amherst visited the King but sat in his presence while all others stood. This was ameliorated to some extent by the fact that he sat at right angles so as not to indicate a direct challenge to the King; on the other hand, the King had to pay a reciprocal visit to Amherst at the Residency, which must have been yet another galling breach of etiquette for a nominal sovereign not yet  Cf. Ranajit Guha, Dominance without Hegemony: History and Power in Colonial India (Cambridge, M A : Harvard University Press, 1997) 245 which explicates Guha's notion that 'feudal' and colonial states in India were dominant through coercion and persuasion but were never hegemonic because of their inability to gain the full consent of the ruled. 9 7  39  completely inured to mistreatment.  98  Despite these humiliations, the K i n g ' s mythos  appeared to be ineradicable: even as late as 1830, the N i z a m o f Hyderabad - whose ancestor had founded a 'successor state' in the Deccan more than a century ago - sent the customary nazrs to the K i n g via his resident, and asked to be granted the title o f N i z a m held by his late father. The British recognized this for what it was: a deeply symbolic assertion o f customary loyalties that rejected the absolute superiority o f the Company. The residents involved were admonished by the administration in Calcutta for their oversight in permitting such proto-rebellious behavior. B y 1856, the administration had 99  convinced itself that a titular king i n Delhi was "anomalous" and that "there is every appearance that the presence o f the Royal House in Delhi has become a matter o f indifference, even to the M a h o m e d a n s . "  100  That this was not the case at all was  demonstrated conclusively within months o f this pronouncement, when large sections o f the Company's army revolted and hastened to Delhi, where they declared their allegiance to the emperor Bahadur Shah. A s the British attempted to redefine the K i n g o f Delhi, the British administration also generated a new cityscape for Delhi. In the initial stages o f their rule, the British attempted to conform to the cultural practices o f the city. The first resident was Defender of the Realm (Nasir-ud Daulah) Sir David Ochterlony, who came from a loyalist highlander family that immigrated to Canada in 1777. B y the time he became the Resident o f Delhi, Ochterlony had adopted Mughal fashions so utterly so as to be barely distinguishable from the noblemen o f the city. A famous portrait (Figure 1) is testament to Ochterlony's status as a 'cultural insider.' While the European paintings and windows 98 99 ,co  Spear, 46 Spear, 49 Spear, 59 40  d e p i c t e d i n the i m a g e s e e m s l i g h t l y out o f place, O c h t e r l o n y e x e m p l i f i e s the e m b o d i m e n t o f the M u g h a l habitus o f urbanity. H e is s h o w n c o m p l e t e l y at ease w e a r i n g M u g h a l dress, s m o k i n g a h o o k a h , seated i n I n d i a n style o n p i l l o w s , and e n j o y i n g dance and m u s i c . S u r r o u n d e d b y the accoutrements o f l u x u r y and a t r a i n o f respectful courtiers w h o w i e l d subcontintental s y m b o l s o f authority (a f l y - w h i s k and a m a c e ) , O c h t e r l o n y c l e a r l y h a d no q u a l m s i n freely p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n the  Mughal  s y m b o l i c e c o n o m y a n d n o desire  to  o v e r t h r o w it.  Figure 1: David Ochterlony (1820) BL: Add.Or.2,2 B r i t i s h residents i n the early part o f the century brought their o w n w a y s o f seeing the c i t y , but these tended to change after some t i m e i n D e l h i . O c h t e r l o n y ' s b o o k i s h assistant W i l l i a m Fraser a r r i v e d f r o m the recently-established  Fort W i l l i a m College  h a v i n g w o n a g o l d m e d a l i n P e r s i a n . W h e n he first a r r i v e d i n the c i t y , he w a s prone to the  41  sort of rhapsodizing - in classical vein - that was also the case with W i l l i a m Franklin. Writing of the region to his father, he described what he saw: The immense extent of ruins which appear all around offer a melancholy picture of the former opulence and population of the city... Archways, porticoes and gateways are all reduced to heap of desolation... I wish to ascertain historically the account o f every remarkable place or monument of antiquity, or building erected in commemoration of singular acts of whatever nature. The traditional accounts I receive from natives are generally absurd or contradictory. I must first know how they obtained credence, and then search for the origins of the story. 101  But in a few years, Fraser had become assimilated in elite Delhi society: consorting with scholars of Persian and Urdu, collecting manuscripts, attending mushairas, and fathering children from six or seven wives appear to have been his main forms of recreation. B y 1821, Fraser had drifted far beyond the pale and come to be regarded as a "sakt banchod" (tough sister-fucker) and a generally "obstinate f e l l o w . "  102  In 1829, Victor Jacquemont  found him to be a "misanthrope" with a "monomania for fighting;" but he noted also that Fraser was fluent in Hindustani and Persian and that he had a "real and profound understanding" of the "inner life" of the people he governed.  M o o d y , wild, and  increasingly depressive, Fraser had come to fear leaving India by the end of his life: he was utterly immersed in the habitus of the late Mughal setting and was keenly aware that he could never learn the codes of the world to which he would have to return. These early instances o f cultural adaptability rapidly became eclipsed as the East India Company grew in strength. A s Britain gained economic and military strength, the disorganized rapacity of the Nabobs such as C l i v e was replaced by the mechanistic  Fraser Papers, V o l 33, A l e c Fraser to his mother, p279 D e l h i 3 Forthcoming 1 0 1  r d  August 1811 in W i l l i a m Dalrymple,  Gardner Papers, National A r m y M u s e u m , 6305-56, Letter 90 Babel. 1 6 August 1821 in Dalrymple, Forthcoming 1 0 2  1 0 3  th  Jacquemont, Letters From India (1829-32), p. 354 in Dalrymple, Forthcoming  42  ruthlessness of a bureaucracy that lured the best and the brightest of Britain with promises of imperial glory and tidy fortunes still to be made. With no thought of India as anything but a temporary posting, the new breed of administrators, such as Thomas Metcalfe and Francis Hawkins, could not imagine investing their personal capital in a culture they would inevitably leave. It was not only the rise of utilitarianism and racial contempt that made these men come into conflict with the society they ruled: at the heart of the matter lay the evolving conception of the proper forms that colonial power should take. In this light, the Orientalist ideas of governing India through the integuments of customary authority were replaced - at least until the war of 1857 - by Anglicist notions of the complete superiority of English culture, and the need to apply it directly to Indian contexts. These notions were apparent in the Residents' style of governance and their conceptions of the city. The administration of the city and surrounding territories began to takefirmshape under the first residency (1811-19) of the 'Administrator of the State' (Muntazim-ud Daulah) Sir Charles Metcalfe. Metcalfe's 'Delhi System,' began the break with the 'orientalized' administrative and cultural practices of earlier British rulers. Indeed, the Delhi System marks the emergence of classical modern governmentality in the city. According to Metcalfe, the city was primarily troubled by youthful gangs of pickpockets. An integral part of the ever-deceptive environment of public spaces, these young miscreants were subject to the natural justice of the city: as relatively unimportant offenders, they were usually soundly flogged if apprehended. Metcalfe, however, established a "Home of Industry" where these children were incarcerated and taught to produce blankets and carpets. There was, of course, some recidivism; but many were  43  'reformed' and were released.  104  Capital and corporal punishment, slavery and sati were  all abolished: there were to be no spectacles of the sovereign's authority in the Magistrate's Office as before.  105  Retribution became more 'humane' and more discreet:  the harshest sentence for a crime was 'solitary close confinement in chains for life' - a punishment so terrifying that it led prisoners to petition to be hanged instead.  106  Constant surveillance was of primary importance in the new governmental regime, and its micropower began to penetrate every lane and alley of Delhi. The city police built a network of informants among the sweepers who removed the nightsoil from every house in the city. Every morning, male and female cohorts of sweepers assembled at the police station (the old Mughal Magistrate's Office) to report on the goings-on in the houses they serviced.  1 0 7  Through the collection of statistics, the colonial regime  generated a sense of control and order over the unfamiliar environment of the Mughal city: thus, by 1844, the Governor-General's agent to the Imperial court Thomas Metcalfe (younger brother to Charles Metcalfe) knew that there were 52 Police Officers, 148 Foot Soldiers, 230 Guards, 400 nightwatchmen, who kept order on 377 streets (of which 11 were ' o f good width'); the people who lived in 23,462 houses (of which 17,564 were 'substantial') made purchases in 7,662 shops, prayed in 246 mosques or 147 temples, drank water from 667 wells (but only 52 had 'good water'), strolled in ten gardens and upon death were buried or cremated in 31 burial grounds.  108  In Metcalfe's cityscape, the  colonial city was reconfigured to become an urban space inhabited by a population. The  1 0 4  Edward John Thompson, The Life of Charles. Lord Metcalfe (London: Faber and Faber limited, 1937)  122 Thompson, 127 Thompson, 125 Thompson, 123 Reminisces of Imperial Delhie, in Emily Bayley, Mary Margaret Kaye, and Thomas Metcalfe, The Golden Calm: an English Lady's Life in Moghul Delhi (Exeter, Eng.: Webb & Bower, 1980) 34 105  106  1 0 7  108  44  acquisition o f governmental knowledge about the city was therefore necessitated by the imperative to tend to the population. But the exercise o f new forms o f power in the absence o f the consent o f the ruled made the city more unruly during the first half o f the nineteenth century.  109  While the British administrators o f Delhi made strenuous attempts to 'know' the urban environment, they had no desire to learn about its internal structure and order, and no interest i n the forms o f urbanity that had characterized it. The advent o f British rule i n Delhi was marked by the operation o f a mausoleal modality, which may be considered a sub-variant o f the museological modality o f colonial knowledge.  110  The workings o f this  modality are well-illustrated in Thomas Metcalfe's album entitled 'Reminisces o f Imperial Dehlie (1844):' the name betrays the prejudices o f the author. Once a great imperial city, Delhi now had become a static, lifeless collection o f ruins to be classified, categorized and historicized. A n d indeed, the album is filled with portraits o f the city, along with long historical descriptions. Most o f these images seem to organize themselves into two categories: they either depict physical structures or represent people marked by their profession. What is noteworthy that the two categories do not intersect. The images o f structures, such as the Golden and Pearl mosques are drawn with an attention to detail, but are almost inevitably depicted as empty. Since the studio o f Mazhar ' A l i K h a n (to whom these images are credited) could easily draw detailed studies of humans within their environment, the lifelessness o f these images is the function o f  M i c h a e l M a n n , "Turbulent D e l h i : Religious Strife, Social Tension and Political Conflicts, 1803-1857," Journal of South Asian Studies, V o l . 28 N o . 1, A p r i l , 2005 Bernard S. C o h n , C o l o n i a l i s m and its Forms o f K n o w l e d g e : the British in India (Princeton, N . J . : Princeton University Press, 1996) pp. 5-8 1 1 0  45  c o l o n i a l i s m ' s m a u s o l e a l m o d a l i t y a n d not the t e c h n i c a l c a p a b i l i t i e s o f the ' C o m p a n y school.'  1 1 1  When  humans  are  shown  i n these images,  they  have  been  added  as  an  afterthought: i n m o s t images, vague and formless h u m a n figures have been d r a w n w h o l l y out o f p r o p o r t i o n , perhaps b y someone other than the artist. I n v a r i a b l y , these h u m a n figures stand frozen a i m l e s s l y i n the m i d s t o f e m p t y spaces d e s i g n e d for far larger p o p u l a t i o n s . If, h o w e v e r , humans  are depicted i n d e t a i l , they are presented  without  context. T h e i r identities are defined not b y their activities i n the u r b a n e n v i r o n m e n t , but by  their professions:  so m i m i c s and d a n c i n g g i r l s appear to p e r f o r m for  audiences and litter-bearers  invisible  carry p a l a n q u i n s across a b l a n k c i t y s c a p e . O n l y i n t w o  images are p e o p l e s h o w n i n some sort o f s o c i a l context: one is a l a v i s h and detailed p o r t r a y a l o f an i m p e r i a l p r o c e s s i o n , and demonstrates the extent to w h i c h the p o m p and splendour o f the K i n g w a s s t i l l intact. T h e other is a d r a w i n g o f the w a t e r f a l l c o m p l e x near the I l l u m i n a t e d R e s e r v o i r (Hauz-e Shamsi). ( F i g u r e 2)  For instance, see "The shrine of Shah Sharaf Bu ' A l i Qalandari at Panipat" attrib. Mazhar A l i Khan, British Library Add.Or.4669, 4669 111  46  Figure 2: Hauz-e Shamsi in Reminisces of Imperial Del/tie BL: Add.Or.5475, ff. 77v-78  This picture of the Illuminated Reservoir complex in the 1840s would have been recognizable to Dargah Q u l i Khan, who had described it a century before. Delhi-wallahs still thronged to enjoy the environs of the tank, which provided a more interactive experience than the glistening waters of the formal European-style parks of Delhi that were designed to be admired from afar. The inhabitants of the city waded in the cool water of the channels and relaxed under the shade of the trees; they conversed in the pavilions and purchased fruit from vendors. The sociality of the scene was still defined by the norms of Mughal urbanity. It was also a scene in which no British people were to be found. The attention to the interaction of people and their environment makes this image an exception within Metcalfe's album. Even so, the picture fit Metcalfe's book only as indicating a feature of the physical domain that lay under the Government's authority. The mausoleal modality therefore generated particular forms of knowledge which identified the urban forms as dead and of only 'historic' interest. This informed the colonial vision of a cityscape in which the city itself was exogenous to the life of people. The modernity of the colonial administration is apparent in this attempt to convert the bios politikos of urban inhabitants to a depoliticized zoe fit for the care of the state.  The  product of the reshaping of the categories of ' C i t y ' and the 'People' generated a new system of the performance and appreciation of urban practice: in effect, a new habitus. O f course, this emerging habitus privileged the British and their practices. The development of this sense of the city - and the place of the colonizers within it - accelerated in the  " This theoretical point has been made by Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1998) 2  47  period after the war of 1857, and culminated in the effort to create yet another new Imperial Delhi. British perceptions of the cityscape had also changed how the residents of the city perceived their own surroundings. This change in perceptions of the city is embodied in the figure o f Sir Sayyid A h m e d K h a n (1817-1898). Sir Sayyid was born in an elite Delhi family that had been connected with the royal court since the reign of Shah Jahan: as a child, he was trained in the noble pastime of archery and visited the R e d Fort regularly."  3  A s a hereditary servant of the Mughal family, Sir Sayyid attended imperial investiture ceremonies and waited on the emperor; he also visited,the elite gatherings of noblemen in his childhood and participated in the festivals of the c i t y .  114  The perspectives of this  world inform Sir Sayyid's Traces of the Notables (Asar-us Sanadid), the first edition of which was published in 1846. Recent scholarship has identified the origins of this history in M i r z a Sangin Beg's An Excursion through the Dwellings (Sair-ul Manazil, 1827).  115  In  turn, M i r z a Sangin B e g had been asked to write the text by Sir Charles Metcalfe, and his influence is plainly visible within it.  116  The first edition of Traces of the Notables described the built environment of the fort, the city, and its suburbs, and each entry was accompanied by sketches. These illustrations were in the Company style arid predictably excluded all human figures in their pursuit of the picturesque. Each region was described in one chapter. Besides the physical environment, the work also described the climate and the language of the city, as  " Altaf Hussain Hali, Havat-i-Javed: A Biographical Account of Sir Sayyid (Delhi: Idarah-i Adabiyat-i Delli, 1979)21-22 Altaf Hussain Hali, 22-25 Nazir Ahmad, "Sir Syed Ahmad Khan's Work on Archaeology Entitled Athar-us-Sanadid: A Study" in Asloob Ahmad Ansari, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan: a Centenary Tribute, 1st ed. (Delhi: Adam Publishers & Distributors, 2001) 128 I am grateful to Dr. John Roosa for pointing this out to me. 3  114  115  1 1 6  48  well as 129 resident religious figures and pious mendicants, readers and memorizers o f the Quran, poets, calligraphers, and musicians.  117  The second edition o f this work that  followed in 1854 was markedly different from the first: we might say that it had been suitably modernized. The impetus for a second edition, according to S i r Sayyid, came from a M r . Roberts and a Colonel Saxon. This version described more structures in greater detail. However, the fourth chapter was completely deleted, and a l l illustrations were removed. Whereas the first edition had described structures based on their location, the second organized them on the basis o f chronology. Furthermore, Sir Sayyid attached great importance to a final novelty in the second edition: it presented every inscription on the buildings o f the city " i n their very original f o r m . " " Instead of a living entity, the city 8  became a text to be logically deciphered, rationalized, codified, and fixed in place. Once the city had been reduced to 'historic' interest, it would become irrelevant to the present and the future. The mechanical workings o f the mausoleal modality thus destroyed the aura of the very structures that Dargah Q u l i K h a n had praised a century before Sir Sayyid. B y means o f this quintessentially modern vision o f the city, Sir Sayyid had come to reproduce the foundations o f a new cityscape in the second edition o f his Traces of the Notables. This new cityscape generated a radically different embodied habitus o f urbanity. For one, residents o f the city had to learn to think.of the city as fundamentally dead and reject the urban practices and symbolic capital associated with the old. A s residents o f a dead city, city-dwellers had to look outside the ' o l d ' city and imitate the urban styles o f their new masters, who would then gain the right to legitimate their own cultural capital. N . Ahmad in Ansari, 130 Introduction pg. xvii, second edition reproduced in Sayyid Ahmad Khan, (ed. R. Nath), Monuments of Delhi: A Historical Study (New Delhi: Ambika, 1979) 107 117  1 1 8  49  It was only when the metonymies which tied the Mughals to the city of Delhi were completely unraveled that the British could overcome the fundamental contradictions of their situation in North India. But it comes as no surprise that this new sense of the city, so enthusiastically purveyed by Sir Sayyid, failed to take hold in the minds of the residents of Delhi. The aftermath of the war of 1857 presented the British with the opportunity to realize the ideological vision of the city as a vast mausoleum. The recapture of the city was marked by vicious hand-to-hand fighting and no quarter was spared. Harriet Tytler, who entered the city soon after its capture, noted her reactions: The first thing which struck me so forcibly on entering the great city of Delhi, only a few months before so crowded, was it was now a city of the dead. The death-like silence of Delhi was appalling. A l l you could see was empty houses where the household hearths had ceased to burn, and not a living creature, except now and then a starved-looking cat, would show itself... 119  Having reconquered the city from its defenders, the British made it unrecognizable. The first targets of the soldier's wrath were the M u g h a l emperor and his lineal descendants, the bodies of whom lay at the heart of the ancien regime and which had again become metonymic with the city of Delhi and with Hindustan. Writing to a friend, a British officer described his encounter with Bahadur Shah Zafar: I saw the K i n g of Delhi, and abused him like a pick-pocket, and treated him anything but as the great M o g u l . I saw his three sons after they were killed, lying at the K o t w a l i , where the Europeans were treating their remains with every indignity. 120  Harriet Tytler (ed. Anthony Sartin), A n Englishwoman in India: The M e m o i r s o f Harriet Tytler. 18281858 ( O x f o r d ; N e w Y o r k : O x f o r d University Press, 1986) 165 W . S. Graham, D e l h i to Daniel Cullimore. Graham M u t i n y Papers D.812/14/152 p.82  1 2 0  50  After a short trial, the King was ignominiously packed off to exile in Burma via bullockcart. Most of the structures within the fort were destroyed, leaving only a few pavilions and the halls of Public and Private Audience marooned amidst a newly-created plain. The fort was turned over to the army, which then garrisoned it until 1947. Emily Bayley, the daughter of Sir Thomas Metcalfe, found this entirely appropriate: Up to the time of the Mutiny, the King had entire control of the palace; and any criminal or ruffian could secure an asylum there and could never be found if wanted. Hence it was really a den of thieves and murderers and criminals of all classes, a source of never-ending difficulty and annoyance to the British government, and arrangements had been made to completely alter this state of things at the death of the King of Delhi. But the Mutiny did this for us, in that it cleared out this den of iniquity, as everyone fled from the Palace when our soldiers entered it, and thousands were killed. 121  In this account, the fort is presented as a 'den of iniquity,' the continued existence of which stood in the way of good government and order. As the body of the king and his sons was treated, so indeed was the city for which he stood. As the symbolic core of the city and the physical manifestation of the generations of Mughal imperium, the fort was literally hollowed out and replaced with the signifiers of aggressive British authority. At a stroke this annulled the possibilities of ever thinking of Delhi in terms of the ancien regime. The British also destroyed every building within 400 yards of the fort, and also all structures immediately to the north and the south of the fort within the city. This brought about the destruction of a large mosque, several notable mansions, and many important markets. The effects on the city are evident in this photograph taken in 1860. (Figure 3)  121  Bayley in Metcalfe, 208  51  Figure 3: Delhi ca. 1860; view towards the red fort. BL: Photo 394/(41), 39441 A t h i r d o f the c i t y to the N o r t h w a s s i m i l a r l y r a z e d a n d a g i g a n t i c r a i l w a y station w a s created w i t h i n the c i t y - w a l l s . Perhaps most i m p o r t a n t l y , the B r i t i s h  filled  i n the canals  that r a n t h r o u g h the m a i n streets o f the c i t y a n d cut d o w n the trees w h i c h l i n e d t h e m . I n d o i n g so, they c h a n g e d the u r b a n experience o f the c i t y ' s streets forever. T h i s s i g n a l e d the t r a n s i t i o n to a r e g i m e i n w h i c h f i n a n c i a l c o n s e r v a t i s m dictated that water c o u l d o n l y be u s e d ' r a t i o n a l l y ' for the sanitation o f E u r o p e a n s u b u r b a n e n c l a v e s . N o t h i n g i f not m e t h o d i c a l , the B r i t i s h also evacuated the entire c i t y to the c o u n t r y s i d e a n d a l l o w e d first H i n d u s a n d then M u s l i m s to return. M u c h o f the property i n the c i t y w a s redistributed, so that o l d n e i g h b o u r h o o d s a n d associations v a n i s h e d w i t h o u t a trace. T h e r e c o n s t i t u t i o n o f D e l h i ensured that the foundations o n w h i c h the u r b a n i t y o f the o l d c i t y h a d d e p e n d e d were c o m p l e t e l y razed. T h e habitus w h i c h d e f i n e d the l i v e s o f the residents o f the c i t y w a s anchored i n a b u i l t e n v i r o n m e n t , w h i c h i n t u r n h a d been  52  generated by Mughal urban institutions and technologies of environmental management. The latter had been eroding under British assault for half-a-century before the mutiny: the former were destroyed in the few years after. The destruction of the Mughal habitus made those who were privileged within it strangers in their own world. This fact found frequent mention in the writings of the old cultural elite, such as the great poet Mirza Asadullah Ghalib. Responding to a verse written by his close friend Mir Mahdi Majruh that boasted of the purity of Delhi's courtly speech, ("My friend, this is the language of Dihli"), Ghalib wrote, "Listen, my friend. Nowadays, the people of Dihli are either Hindus or common workers of men in Khakhi [soldiers] or Panjabis or Goras [Whites]. Which of these do you intend as the speakers of praiseworthy language?" He then described 122  listed the neighbourhoods of which "there was no trace left" and complained about the dearth of fresh and cool water ever since the wells were choked. Ghalib concluded: In short, the city has already become a wilderness. Now if all of the wells are destroyed or fouled and a drop of potable water becomes as rare as the rarest of pearls, this place will turn into the desert of Karbala. Allah! Allah! The Dihli-born lovers of Dihli continue to praise the language spoken here! What wild and invincible faith! Listen, strange creature of God: the Urdu Bazar is no more. So how can Urdu survive? I swear to god, Dihli is a town no more. You might call it a military encampment, but the fort and the city are no more. The bazar and the lovely canal are no more. 123  In Ghalib's mind, water, the city, the old regime, and Delhi's culture were all linked. Water made civilization, and without water the city became a 'wilderness' akin to the sandy wastelands of Iraq. The sonorous speech and the refined manners (of which the court was the ultimate arbiter) could not survive the razing of the city's built environment and the destruction of the fort. In this context, Ghalib's identification of speech is Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib (ed. Daud Rahbar), Urdu letters of Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib (Albany, N . Y . : State University of New York Press, 1987) 132- 33 Ghalib in Rahbar, 134 1 2 2  123  53  particularly significant, and not only because he was a poet: the command o f language, with its possibilities of both ludic entertainment and the endless generation of subtlety and meaning, was the ultimate marker of urbanity. The command of speech, then as now, lay at the core of the urban strategy and was the most powerful strategy for advance within the social field. When Ghalib mourned the loss of cultured speech, he mourned the destruction of the habitus of urbanity - the social field in which he had thrived. This habitus had privileged him, but could not be reproduced in the foreign bodies of the nowdominant trader-caste Hindus, Panjabis, and Goras. From his endless recounting of the neighbourhoods that have ceased to exist, it becomes apparent that Ghalib's sense of the cityscape was shattered forever. While those of Ghalib's era were never able to come to terms with the destruction of Delhi, the younger generations of the city's residents had little choice. In the writings of Nazir A h m a d (1830-1812), the city of Delhi was frequently a site where the traumas of the destruction of Delhi had to be resolved. In dealing with the British after the war of 1857, Sir Sayyid had stressed complete consonance with 'his master's voice.' N a z i r Ahmad,, however, advocated distance and aloofness. Like the other M u s l i m intellectuals of his generation, Nazir A h m a d recognized that the old city and its ways were gone forever.  But to play the game within the field of the city on British terms was also a  losing proposition. This idea was forcefully established in Ahmad's famous novel entitled The Son of the Moment (Ibn-ul Waqt, 1888). The story begins with a loyalist premise: the scion of an ancient and reputable family ("Ibn-ul Waqt") saves the life of a British officer ("Noble Sahib") during the war and the two establish a fast friendship. After the  54  reconquest of Delhi, Noble Sahib persuaded Ibn-ul Waqt to become a 'reformer' by adopting British ways. How was this to be achieved? Noble Sahib suggests, Well, at least [get] a house in English taste. You know that we like to live in spacious houses outside the city and our lifestyle is also different. My friends wish to see you and they ask me if they may. Many a time I thought I would bring them to meet you but then I thought that I would unnecessarily put myself to shame since you were not in a position to meet them. Firstly, your house is situated in the streets where one can't take one's carriage. Then the streets are so narrow, winding, and unclean that no Englishman would like to go to such afilthyplace. Your house is not so bad but there is no chair or table to make an Englishman feel comfortable. 124  Here, Nazir Ahmad recognizes the British critique of an Indian city-life that is dominated by unsanitary living conditions in disorganized and crowded neighbourhoods. Ibn-ul Waqt apparently did not realize that much of the filth and pestilence of the old city was a direct result of the British overuse of sanitary resources. To be modern and progressive, 125  Ibn-ul Waqt had to live in a suburban British bungalow and to become British in every respect. Having moved to a suburban bungalow in a British residential neighbourhood, Ibn-ul Waqt set about deracinating himself with exemplary zealousness. Within the space of a month, Ibn-ul Waqt changed to the extent that a stranger visiting his residence would be unable to judge "whether it was the house of an Englishman or of a simple Indian whose anglomania had led him to leave his family and people and live in seclusion in a jungle away from his native city." Nevertheless, Ibn-ul Waqt's efforts came to naught: 126  he lost his religion, and was shunned by both Indians and British. Through this antibildungsroman, Nazir Ahmad warned that it was impossible to truly enter the British  Nazir Ahmad, The Son of the Moment (New Dehli India [Great Britain]:, 2002) 53 Prashad, 155 Nazir Ahmad, 114  55  habitus o f urbanity that had emerged i n the suburban districts and cantonments o f India. The native city, despite its marked inferiority, remained the only place for Indians. The extension of the new habitus of urbanity to the population of Delhi thus faced resistance even after the cultural milieu o f the ancien regime had been destroyed completely. L i v e d experience and everyday practice continued to tenaciously hold the imaginations of the inhabitants of the city. After having gained full control of the city, the British regime freely manipulated the symbols o f erstwhile empire for its own purposes. Thus, by 1886, the British administration had decided that " a l l political interests [had] died out" with regard to the J a m a M a s j i d ; but even as they declared that the structure did not represent Mughal authority, the British banned Hindus from entering it.  In doing so,  they transformed a symbol o f the Mughal imperium into a marker o f distinctive M u s l i m identity. But other symbols were appropriated wholesale, for the British government could not resist the lure o f using the red fort in order to cement its own r u l e .  128  The most  grandiose instances o f this tendency were the Delhi Durbars o f 1903 and 1911: in the latter, the King-Emperor George V and the Queen o f India entered the R e d Fort and presented themselves to the public from the very spot, and in the very manner, o f the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan even as they announced the construction o f the new Imperial Capital of Delhi.  This paper has shown how the forcible imposition o f a colonial habitus o f urbanity came to displace the ways i n which people perceived the city. B y the beginning  Gupta, 127 The British use of native forms of authority in order to indicate the permanence of their rule has been described in Francis G. Hutchins, The Illusion of Permanence: British Imperialism in India (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1967) 1 2 7  1 2 8  56  of the twentieth century, only traces of the past ways of seeing the city survived in the memory of its elderly inhabitants. While the British regime increasingly emulated Mughal practices in order to create an illusion of continued imperial authority in a time of increasing nationalist resistance, some of those who remembered the old world mourned its loss. Charles Freer Andrews recalled an outburst of emotion in an old friend who had just visited a British Durbar held by the Governor General of Punjab in the red fort's Hall of Public Audience: Suddenly there came upon him while he spoke with me the vision of days that were no more, and the memory of that Hall of Audience in the Moghul times. In the anguish of his soul he said to me openly: 'Oh to think how I have degraded myself in that royal hall today by stooping to the stranger!' His head sank down to his breast and he lost altogether the sense of my presence while the tears poured down from his eyes. He did not seek to hide from me the anguish of humiliation he had been through; and I could feel it in his presence as a very terrible thing. 129  While the adoption of the forms of Mughal rule did not establish firm British hegemony, the reconfiguration of the city and the creation of British New Delhi nevertheless ensured that the way in which people related to urban space would be irrevocably changed. In this sense, the victory of the colonial habitus of urbanity is etched in every stone of the imposing buildings that lie at the heart of New Delhi and are now central to any conception of the city as a whole. A small archipelago of other urban forms survives within the ceaselessly-churning ocean of New Delhi. But the Mughal habitus of urbanity has been so thoroughly destroyed that the significance of the remnants has become confused and unclear. While Old Delhi is often referred to as the 'Walled City,' few traces of the city-walls remain. Bereft of trees, water, open space and shade, Chandni  C. F. Andrews, (eds. Mushirul Hasan and Margrit Pernau), Zaka Ullah of Delhi (New Delhi; New York: Oxford University Press, 2003) 39-40 1 2 9  57  Chowk no longer occupies a central place within the cityscape. The Red Fort has been appropriated as a symbol of the Indian nation, and preserved as a monument. It is now a place to visit and photograph, but its significance cannot be fathomed because it has no relation to the city or its inhabitants. The experience of the Mughal city had depended on the skillful and artistic use of water to create and enliven urban space; but the regimented water-courses and the rigid, shooting fountains of New Delhi's government district point to a formal and depersonalized conception of the city as a site for the exhibition of the grandeur of the British empire and the Indian nation that succeeded it. Years of haphazard regional planning, driven in part by the instrumental logic of development, have ensured that water has become a scarce resource for the private enjoyment of the modern elite in secluded swimming-pools and gardens. The desolate and empty lakes of most public parks, littered with plastic refuse and bereft of life, are indicative of an urban reality defined by thwarted ambitions of modernizing city-planners. The destruction of the old habitus has clearly caused a profound epistemic break with the past. This disjuncture has denied the inhabitants of the city any way of comprehending and inhabiting the pasts of their urban landscape. This is the logical outcome of the mausoleal modality: securely encased the shroud of monumental History, the 'ruins' of the 'Old City' have been muted forever. No longer can they be reached by memory, lived experience or comprehension.  58  BIBLIOGRAPHY  1. Agamben, Giorgio. Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life. Stanford, Calif. Stanford University Press, 1998. 2. Ansari, Asloob Ahmad. Sir Syed A h m a d K h a n : A Centenary Tribute. 1st ed. Delhi: A d a m Publishers & Distributors, 2001. 3. A l a m , Muzaffar. The Crisis of Empire in Mughal North India: A w a d h and the Punjab. 1707-48. Delhi; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986. 4. A m i n , Shahid, " U n Saint Guerrier sur la Conquete de l'inde du Nord par les Turcs au X l e siecle," Annates 60. 2.(2005): 265-292 5. Andrews, C . F. (ed. Mushirul Hasan and Margrit Pernau) Zaka U l l a h of Delhi. N e w Delhi; N e w York: Oxford University Press, 2003. 6. Bayley, E m i l y , and Metcalfe, Thomas (ed. M a r y Margaret Kaye) the Golden C a l m : A n English Lady's Life in Moghul Delhi. Exeter, Eng.: Webb & Bower, 1980. 7. Bayly, C . A . Empire and Information: Intelligence Gathering and Social Communication in India, 1780-1870. V o l . 1. Cambridge; N e w York: Cambridge University Press, 1997. 8.  . Rulers, Townsmen and Bazaars: North Indian Society in the A g e of British Expansion 1770-1870. 1st - ed. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2002. Beg, Farhatullah. Dehli K i A k h r i Shama Delhi: Urdu Academy 2003 Blake, Stephen P. Shahjahanabad: The Sovereign City in Mughal India, 16391739. Cambridge England; N e w York: Cambridge University Press, 1991. Bourdieu, Pierre, and John B. Thompson. Language and Symbolic Power. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1991. Bourdieu, Pierre. Practical Reason: On the Theory of Action. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1998. Chandra, Satish. Parties and Politics at the Mughal Court 1707-1740. 4th ed. N e w Delhi; N e w York: Oxford University Press, 2002. Cohn, Bernard S. Colonialism and its Forms of Knowledge: The British in India. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1996. Dargah Quli Khan. (ed. Chander Shekhar and Shama Mitra Chenoy) Muraqqa-eDelhi: The Mughal Capital in Muhammad Shah's Time. Delhi: Deputy Publication, 1989.  59  16. Dalrymple, W i l l i a m " D e l h i in the 19 Century) draft manuscript, publication forthcoming. th  17. Ehlers, Eckart, and Thomas Krafft. Shahjahanabad/Old Delhi: Tradition and Colonial Change. V o l . Heft 111. Stuttgart: F. Steiner, 1993. 18. Franklin, W i l l i a m " A n Account of the Present State of D e l h i " Asiatic Researches, Or, Transactions of the Society, Instituted in Bengal, for Inquiring into the History and Antiquities, the Arts, Sciences, and Literature, o f A s i a ... London: Printed for J. Sewell, 1799. 19. Frykenberg, Robert Eric. Delhi through the Ages: Essays in Urban History, : Culture, and Society. D e l h i ; N e w Y o r k : Oxford University Press, 1986. 20. Ghalib, M i r z a Asadullah Khan, (ed. Daud Rahbar). Urdu Letters o f M i r z a Asadullah Khan Ghalib. Albany, N . Y . : State University of N e w Y o r k Press, 1987. 21. Guha, Ranajit. Dominance without Hegemony: History and Power in Colonial India. Cambridge, M A : Harvard University Press, 1997. 22. Gupta, Narayani. Delhi between Two Empires, 1803-1931: Society, Government and Urban Growth. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1981. 23. H a l i , A l t a f Hussain. Hayat-i-Javed: A Biographical Account of Sir Sayyid. V o l . 10. Delhi: Idarah-i Adabiyat-i D e l l i , 1979. 24. Hasan, Mushirul. A M o r a l Reckoning: M u s l i m Intellectuals in NineteenthCentury Delhi. N e w D e l h i ; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. 25. Hutchins, Francis G . The Illusion of Permanence: British Imperialism in India. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1967. 26. Illich, Ivan. H 2 Q and the Waters of Forgetfulness. Dallas: Dallas Institute o f Humanities and Culture, 1985. 27. Irvine, W i l l i a m , and Jadunath Sarkar. Later Mughals. N e w Delhi: Oriental Books Reprint Corp.; exclusively distributed by Munshiram Manoharlal, Delhi, 1971. 28. Kumar, Sunil. The Present in Delhi's Pasts. 1st ed. N e w Delhi: Three Essays Press, 2002. 29. K i n g , Anthony, "Thinking with Bourdieu Against Bourdieu: A 'Practical' Critique of the Habitus," Sociological Theory 18:3 November 2000 30. ' M i r ' , M i r Muhammad Taqi. (ed. C M . Nairn) Zikr-i M i r : The Autobiography of the Eighteenth Century Mughal Poet: M i r Muhammad Taqi 'Mir'. (T723-1810'). Delhi: Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.  60  31. Minault, G a i l , "Master Ramchandra of Delhi College: Teacher, Journalist, and Cultural Intermediary" Annual of Urdu Studies, v o l . 18 2003 32. Sayyid Ahmad Khan. (ed. R. Nath) Monuments of Delhi: Historical Study. N e w Delhi: A m b i k a , 1979. 33. N a z i r Ahmad, The Son of the Moment. N e w Dehli India [Great Britain]:, 2002. 34. Polier, and Pratul Chandra Gupta. Shah A l a m II and H i s Court, a Narrative of the Transactions at the Court of Delhy from the Year 1771 to the Present Time. Calcutta: S.C. Sarkar and sons, 1947. 35. Prashad, Vijay. The Technology of Sanitation in Colonial Delhi, Modern Asian Studies 35.1, 2001 36. Pernau, Margrit, "The Delhi Urdu Akhbar Between Persian Akhbarat and English Newspapers" Annual of Urdu Studies, vol. 18 2003 37. Russell, Ralph, and Islam, Khurshidul. Three Mughal Poets: M i r , Sauda, M i r Hasan. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1968. 38. Sarkar, Jadunath. F a l l of the Mughal Empire. Calcutta, India: M . C . Sarkar, 1932. 39. Sharma, Sunil. "The City of Beauties in Indo-Persian Poetic Landscape," Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, 24:2 (2004) 40. Spear, Thomas George Percival. Twilight of the Mughuls: Studies in Late Mughul Delhi. Cambridge Eng.: University Press, 1951. 41. Spry, Henry H . Modern India. London: Whittaker, 1837. 42. Thompson, Edward John. The Life of Charles. Lord Metcalfe. London: Faber and Faber limited, 1937. 43. Twining, Thomas. Travels in India a Hundred Years A g o , with a V i s i t to the United States. London: J.R. Osgood, Mcllvaine & C o . , 1893. 44. Tytler, Harriet, (ed. Anthony Sattin). A n Englishwoman in India: The Memoirs of Harriet Tytler, 1828-1858. Oxford; N e w York: Oxford University Press, 1986.  61  


Citation Scheme:


Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics



Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            async >
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:


Related Items