Already, one of the most beautiful legacies of India’s colonial past – the bungalows of New Delhi designed by the great Edwin Lutyens – has nearly gone: those in private hands have been destroyed in the welter of demolitions between 1980 and 2000. It is unclear if the same fate awaits the Lutyens buildings owned by the government and that no fewer than 1,114 houses built across 1,000 acres will be demolished: an unprecedented act of mass vandalism. The wholesale destruction of arguably the greatest colonial townscape in the world would be an act of cultural destruction comparable to the bulldozing of Bath or the wiping out of Washington. Yet in Delhi, there has been little outcry.
Only Rome and Cairo can even begin to rival Delhi for the sheer volume and density of historic remains; yet in Delhi familiarity has bred not pride but contempt. Every year, more ruins disappear, victims to unscrupulous developers or often, unthinking bureaucrats.
Read: Slips show as Delhi sleeps, by William Dalrymple