Theory and Discourse
Meticulous Process, Meticulously Documented | Urmila Rajadhyaksha
LA 54
Humayun's Tomb Conservation | Ratish Nanda with inputs from Rajpal Singh and Archana Saad Akhtar
Published by Aga Khan Trust for Culture in association with Mapin Publishing Pvt.Ltd.

Recounting previously implemented conservation efforts at Humayun's Tomb, the oversight every conservation attempt makes is to perceive the monument as a stand-alone entity. While conservation may- and should- be used to facilitate community development, more often than not, it does not encapsulate the tomb's contextual significance, surrounding landscape and community. In viewing the various conservation processes from different perspectives, one attempts to understand the role of various agencies, the nation's conservation policy and the effect this entire effort has on those involved.

Executing landmark projects which become milestones and beacons for other professionals in the field is not easy, but executing projects where the process of execution in itself generates offshoots that are informative and are examples to be emulated or learnt from is even more difficult. The documentation of this process for posterity creates a legacy whose importance cannot be undermined. It is at this intersection that the uniqueness and importance of this book lies. Ratish Nanda and his team at AKDN deserve every bit of praise for the sheer vividness and precision of detail that they have encapsulated in this book. What is also commendable is the complete lack of chest thumping.

In documenting the conservation effort Ratish has also successfully documented a working model of what has come to be a central feature of the AKDN's approach to development which is to design and implement strategies where its different agencies participate in specific settings to help those in need achieve a level of self-reliance and improve the quality of life. Conservation in this approach becomes a tool to leverage community development.

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