Memoirs of the Badshahi Mosque

ISBN 9780199066506
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Memoirs of the Badshahi Mosque is an unconventional attempt to bring together diverse aspects of the Badshahi Mosque in a single narrative—aspects that are historical, political, and artistic at the same time. Even though many general studies have been done over the years, few have taken a critical approach towards the history of this monument. There is a striking peculiarity about this mosque which highlights the need for further research—the paradoxical nature of its renown. Fame, at times, becomes a veil; the very idea that we know all too well about the Badshahi Mosque has prevented us from delving into many obscure facets of its fascinating history. This was a study that began as a humble enquiry into the nature of the interiors and embellishments of the mosque. With time, it expanded into a much broader work which attempts to bridge the many gaps that existed in the history of this Mughal monument. During the research process, the authors studied Sikh archives and transcribed the many letters written by British officers in charge of the Badshahi Mosque. They were also tempted to look at a sizeable collection of archaic images that lent a vision to literary imagination—making their claims much more substantial and the analysis more logical. Still, much remains to be unearthed from the archival collections in Lahore and Delhi. But while some questions are answered, even more are raised in the process. What is hoped in the end is that the reader will walk away with an understanding of the historical ‘character’ of this mosque which is enriched by the fact that it experienced the reign of three different empires and witnessed the birth of a new nation. This book should benefit not only those interested in architectural history, but also those with an interest in political and social history of India.