• South Asian History
  • Land Use and Agrarian Transition
  • Commemorative Practices


  • Asheesh Siddique
  • Jason Moralee
  • Yael Rice


  • B.A., Philosophy (hons.), Delhi University
  • M.A., History, Ambedkar University Delhi


I examine changing property relations that accompanied the transition to colonial rule through a study of the cultural, political, and social meanings of historical ruins in nineteenth-century Delhi. Over the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, colonial archaeology and antiquarianism became standard features towards mobilizing histories in the service of modern empires. In Delhi, historical sites that had multiple uses came to be understood within modern-colonial imaginaries as ruins in need of conservation, thus constricting their uses as would be appropriate to their new status as monuments. My dissertation makes a study of the changing topographies and property ownership of Delhi through the colonial refashioning of the historical ruin into the “monument” and by locating the emergent imperial commemorative landscape within its material, social, and economic production. More broadly, this work engages with the question of changing political economy and new property regimes around existing heritage sites.