Heritage is Decandent Monarchy and Feudalism

23 October, 2009 at 10:31 2 comments

In an Op-Ed titled Decadent Jewels in the Deccan Chronicle today, Irfan Husain, expresses mixed feelings while visiting an imperial supremacist “Maharaja: The Splendours of Indias Royal Courts” exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. I hear him for the array of relics and heirlooms (which were plundered and looted and are now with the Brits BTW) of royalty signify torture…

Above all, it was the contrast between the opulence of the rulers and the poverty of their subjects that made my blood boil. But when I calmed down, I thought of the beauty of so many objects on display: despite their uselessness and decadence, these nawabs had left behind some wonderful buildings and works of art. Pyramids, mosques, churches and palaces were all built to impress the masses with the pomp and power of the ruling elites. While those who carried the stone blocks and erected these monuments may have been slaves and poorly paid workers, the ones who erected these opulent structures had no qualms about extracting taxes to pay for their follies. Later in the Raj period, the hedonism of the Indian princes reaches new levels of decadence. Magnificent necklaces in diamonds and emeralds are commissioned with Van Cleef and Arpel’s. Photographs of some of these symbolic rulers in immaculate Western dinner jackets, with their wives in stunning dresses, show them at their worst.

From the Taj Mahal to Louis XIV’s palace at Versailles, it has been an unending story of exploitation and egomania. Nevertheless, the question to ask is whether we are better off for these magnificent buildings or not. Had they not been built, those who suffered during their construction might not have been as heavily taxed. But mankind would have been poorer without the amazing buildings that our forefathers have left behind. Ultimately, it is surplus labour and taxes that pay for most things of lasting value. If the state were to redistribute all revenues equally, there would be no surplus to foot the cost of research, or indeed, social and physical infrastructure. Creating and commissioning buildings and works of art for posterity are pastimes of the rich and the idle. These long-dead princes continue to amuse.

This brings back a conversation, nay, a continuing conflicted debate, I used to have during the International Society pub meets at the UoG, while contemplating ‘Penniless’ of why I felt that going to other places and admiring the buildings is an ode to stupid feudalism. I kept telling them that I dont enjoy tourism especially of the monumental kind because I only see the human cost and suffering in the ancient or middle or new whatever wonders of the world or country or state or city or town or village or neighbourhood or house. Very few people got the point. Many still don’t.

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Entry filed under: Glasgow-Travails, India, Life-Theories, News-Media, Poverty, WebXP.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. uberVU  |  26 October, 2009 at 12:43

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by sriks6711: sriks6711: Heritage is Decandent Monarchy and Feudalism: In an Op-Ed titled Decadent Jewels in the De.. http://bit.ly/Yfyqz

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  • 2. Generika Potenzmittel  |  12 November, 2010 at 05:59

    Total Control Marketing Review. Great piece of details that you’ve received on this website article. Hope I could possibly get some of the stuff on own web site. I will arrive again.

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