Thomas R. Metcalf, the distinguished historian, has described in his book An Imperial Vision: Indian Architecture and Britain’s Raj (1989) that the British saw the Romans as a model for their own imperial venture. In my project, I will push Metcalf’s insights further to explore how the British made Roman monuments and architecture a part of India’s history and tangible heritage. If the Romanized British became Indianized in India, many Indians became Romanized through their inhabitation and construction of buildings, philanthropy, and monument-making. Roman influence also came through missionaries, such as the Jesuits. In exploring what the historian Sanjay Subrahmanyam calls “connected histories,” I will reveal another example of the profound reach of ancient and early modern Rome in the global world, and in doing so show how this complicates historic conservation practice and debates, not only in India, but in other contemporary contexts.
The photograph of Preeti Chopra was taken by Mark S. C. Nelson.