Imagining the Nation
Chapter 1 Introduction
In August 2007, the Taj Mahal materialised in Trafalgar Square. This iconic Indian building featured as part of the Trafalgar Square festival, a project of the London Mayor, Ken Livingstone. This architectural juxtaposition was part of a festival intended to celebrate the creative relationship that London enjoyed with India, and in addition to the reproduction of the Taj Mahal, the three week festival also featured dance and musical performances, and a giant canvas at the foot of Nelson’s column that was designed to ‘re-imagine London as an Indian city’.1 This festival took place right under the nose of the statue of Sir Henry Havelock, an imperial hero of Victorian Britain whose muscular Christianity was evident in his relief of besieged British women and children in Lucknow during the Indian Uprising of 1857 and its brutality against local civilians.2 While the relationship between Havelock’s London and India was very dif ferent from Livingstone’s, in choosing to re-imagine London in this way, London’s government drew upon a rich history of contact and interaction with Asia, which remains a vital part of the identity of contemporary Britain. The arranged marriage of these two structures in Trafalgar Square – the Taj Mahal and Nelson’s Column – created a spatial juxtaposition of London and India, but also juxtapositions of imperial past and globalised present, nation and individual, and a representation of history and use 1 Greater London Authority, ‘The Trafalgar Square Festival 2007 – new commissions and international collaborations, inspired by India’. Press release, 1 August 2007. accessed...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.