"For a nation that constantly references and rewrites its past, we have a shocking lack of affinity towards its documentation. As Rahman points out, all our museums are a legacy of the British need to document their conquests; prior to which, in India, it was the ruling elite or the temples that were the repositories of art or artefacts. The Indian attitude towards preservation of records is best depicted by Dayanita Singh’s 2011 photographic series File Room in which bundles of folders are piled up in tottering shelves. Fading oral traditions, given priority over written ones, have ensured there are even fewer methods of preservation open to us."
Photograph : Habib Rahman/Courtesy Ram Rahman. Danseuse Indrani Rahman, late 1950s, the image is now part of the New York Public Library.
Text by Gyatri Jayaraman | Livemint