Karan Saharya


Karan Saharya, MDes CC.
Images include four photos and one illustration of the Qutub Minar Complex, and a thesis statement.  IN THE NAME OF HERITAGE: CONSERVATION AS AN AGENT OF ELITE DEVELOPMENT,
SPATIAL CLEANSING & SOCIAL EXCLUSION IN MEHRAULI, DELHI  This thesis studies the impacts of architectural conservation in the Mehrauli area of Delhi, focusing on the Qutub Minar Complex, because the manner in which national- and international-level conservation, legal and planning frameworks operate reveals underlying socio-political conflicts and spatial cleansing. The appropriation of ‘heritage’ in contemporary urban India is a tool to develop ‘world class’ tourist destinations by displacing local communities, expropriating land and reiterating colonial-era identity politics. Conservation, as a practice, treats the maintenance of the monument as paramount to the right to the city, divorcing it from urban exigencies and social contexts. The construction of ‘heritage’ was once a ruse for imperialist subjugation, and is today an instrument of exclusionary majoritarian nationalism, territorial control and a backdrop for elite lifestyle in the age of neoliberal capitalism. This project seeks to develop a new framework for the examination of ‘heritage’ in the post(postcolonial) milieu, that can inform policy toward an equitable, stakeholder-centric urban system.