Pune’s neglected Aga Khan Palace is a shameful example of how India handles heritage – The Hindu

By Kunal Ray for The Hindu. Published May 6, 2016 Updated: May 7, 2016 17:10 IST

With unkempt building and damaged artefacts, Pune’s Aga Khan Palace is another shameful example of how we handle heritage.

Aga Khan Palace - “An important piece of Indian History” (Image Credit: Trip Advisor)
Ismailimail Archive: Aga Khan Palace – “An important piece of Indian History” (Image Credit: Trip Advisor)

There are ways of seeing and then there are ways of seeing a museum. Historian Vinay Lal taught me the latter.

During a recent trip to Aga Khan Palace in Pune’s Yerwada area, I felt the despair of a historian.

The Palace Museum, a beautiful building, is in a shambles. Most of the paintings and photographs that chronicle important landmarks of India’s freedom struggle are in need of immediate restoration (most are beyond repair). Exhibits languish in neglect and bear scars of graffiti by overzealous visitors, even their cracked frames not replaced. Many parts of the museum have developed cracks and water stains.

When this is the physical condition of the museum, it is no surprise that no thought has gone into curating or organising the images on its walls. A sorry state of affairs, indeed.

Aga Khan Palace was built in 1892 by [Sir] Sultan Muhammed Shah Aga Khan [III], the 48th spiritual leader of the Khoja Ismaili sect.

During the Quit India movement, Mahatma Gandhi, his wife Kasturba, and personal secretary Mahadev Desai were interned here from August 9, 1942. Also imprisoned here were Mirabehn, Sarojini Naidu, Sushila Nayar and Pyarelal Nayar. Desai died of a heart attack six days after his arrest and Kasturba passed away after 18 months of prolonged illness. Their samadhis are located on the premises. The white marble memorial, designed by celebrated architect Charles Correa, still stands. Gandhi was released from Aga Khan Palace on May 6, 1944.

In 1969, Prince Shah Karim Al Hussaini, Aga Khan IV, donated the Palace to the Indian government.

It was declared a monument of national importance by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) in 2003.

Aga Khan Palace - Gandhi Memorial
Ismailimail Archives: Aga Khan Palace – Gandhi Memorial

Source: The Hindu | Exhibition of neglect

Genesis of the Aga Khan Palace

Built in 1892, the Aga Khan Palace remains one of the biggest landmarks in Indian history. The Palace was commissioned by Sir Sultan Muhammed Shah Aga Khan III as a dignified way to employ the people around Pune who were devastated by famine.

Aga Khan Palace India: Resting Place for Mahatma Gandhi

His Highness Aga Khan III’s empathy for India’s Freedom Movement and its leaders was realized again when the Palace served as a dignified alternative for Mahatma Gandhi and other Indian leaders internship during the Quit India movement.

Discover, Explore & Learn more via Google by clicking the image

Google marks India’s Independence day with virtual tour - Aga Khan Palace
Ismailimail Archives: Google marks India’s Independence day with virtual tour – Aga Khan Palace

Research, Insight & Perspective by A. Maherali

4 thoughts

  1. To whom it may concern :- IT seems to be very shameful to say that India neglected GOLDEN GIFT some
    sort of restoration should be done for the future generation being a memorable item like TAJ MAHAL
    To be honest the authorities should make it as priority to start this task urgently. Rajab Nanji of London .


  2. This is a shame truly, the Indian Govt. has done nothing to restore this beautiful palace and use it in a proper
    manner since it was donated to the Indian Govt.by Prince Shah Karim in 1969. I feel the Govt. must do something to restore it, and use it for the poor, etc.


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