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Pan's Golghar and the Transformations of Colonial Discourse Author(s): Rebecca M. Brown Source: Archives of Asian Art, Vol.

55 (2005), pp. 53-63 Published by: University of Hawai'i Press for the Asia Society Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20111328 . Accessed: 10/05/2013 07:23
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Patna's Golghar and the Transformations of Colonial Discourse


Rebecca Royal M. Ontario Brown Museum and Pennsylvania State University

ithin architectural history the study of colonial rule in India has focused primarily on the major centers of colo nial power: Madras (Chennai), Calcutta (Kolkata), Bombay New and Delhi.1 The historical narrative has (Mumbai), such as the thus explored commissions both large-scale in Calcutta Government House and, more (1799?1803) sectors in both the British architecture recently, domestic of these cities and in the so-called "Black Towns" of major studies track the maneu colonial sites.2 These architectural vers of the merchant-governors of the East India Company as their position in India shifted to post-1858 imperial while of domestic and smaller-scale power,3 explorations works allow us to investigate the day-to-day negotiations of colonial power inside these major cities.4 For these cities, and domestic colonial monumental architecture, form the foundation for colonial urban space, alongside two adds colonial architectural histories.The present study new dimensions to this scholarly literature: first, it exam sites: the ines a location colonial outside of the major on centers center in it of Patn?, Bihar; second, provincial then,
a monument of civic architecture: a granary.

narratives

in 1786 the Golghar from its construction commentaries it. These upon through nineteenth-century the structure itself, demonstrate that narratives, alongside the Golghar illustrates the power of the British in the late to century, a time when they sorely needed eighteenth about

consolidate that power. As it aged, narratives about the structure demonstrate the flexibility of colonial discourse as it reframed earlier statements about the Golghar into a narrative that made sense in a changed colonial context. its The Golghar s continued for Patn? moves importance
story into the contemporary, post-Independence context,

and situates it as both a marker of Patn? s colonial history In the end, this and center for Patn? s current community. a town illustrates in civic of architecture piece provincial the malleability of colonial discourse, and the ability of the British to maintain their power not through building effec tive civic monuments the nar but through reinvigorating
ratives surrounding those monuments?working them into

the changing

discourses

of colonialism.

FAMINE AND GRAIN


a large, egg-shaped Patn? s Golghar, granary built in 1786 on Garstin stands the western end of (1756-1820), by John later became the Race historical Patn?,6 next to what and is now called Gandhi Maidan Course, (Figs. 1, 2)?

to Calcutta by the Ganges and its trib Patn? is connected utaries but is nonetheless provincial.5 The granary at Patn?, called the Golghar, serves an important role in a region that was not otherwise marked by colonial architectural monu ments in the late eighteenth century. This paper traces the

in 1812. of Patn? Fig. i. Map in Francis Based on map Hamilton's Journal kept during the survey of the districts of Patna in 1811-1812. and Gaya Edited Patn?: by V H.Jackson. Government Printing, 1925.

Buchanan of Francis Source: Journal MN of South AmasLibrary Asia,Minneapolis,

Patna, early 19th c.


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2. John Garstin (1756-1820). 1786. h. 29 m. India. Patn?, Bih?r, Bankipur, Fig. Golghar. Photograph by author.

an architect and engineer for the East India in he built the Town Hall Calcutta (1813), and Company; rose to the position of Surveyor General and Chief Engineer of Bengal.8 His early effort in Patn? was ordered byWarren of India. then governor-general Hastings, These orders stemmed from a series of events beginning with the 1770 Bengal famine. In that year both the fall summer rains had failed to materialize, and precipitating one of the worst famines in colonial history, which left an ten estimated million thirty percent people (approximately Garstin was dead.9 This famine aroused major of the population) concern within both for its the East India Company, of northeastern India and for devastation of the population on its potential and thus the revenues, Company impact a reference for future 1770 famine became many point and less severe drought Company policies.10 A much season in rekindled the the 1783 famine Bih?r during the of Committee of Revenue, issue, and then-President appropri John Shore, was sent to the area to recommend to the ate actions. Shore took a variety of approaches on transit duties grain, lifting problem, including removing of grain from other districts local bans on the movement to the Patn? district, and proposing that a granary be built to in Patn?. In January of 1784 Shore's recommendation a was build granary approved.11 the this seemingly decision, Despite straightforward a saw East India deal of discussion within the 1780s great the relationship between drought Company regarding a with an upsurge which coincided and famine, discussion scientific botanical doctors and Orientalists in interests on the part of many of the time. Thus, the idea that

a granary might provide famine relief was soon countered from a number of quarters. As later by other suggestions on have argued, granaries researchers famine prevention ameliorate these catastrophes, and storehouses rarely more In the late other methods advisable.12 making the for alternative search century options was eighteenth on the of already underway, focusing development crops in order to facilitate food produc drought-resistant tion during climatic cycles when the monsoon did not in arrive. Even as the Golghar was under construction for Robert 1786, then-Captain Kyd argued vociferously of a botanical garden in Calcutta where the development be researched, such crops might citing recent famines, both the famine of 1770 and the more Bengal including In scarcity in Bih?r as support for his project.13 to to the his the Board, Kyd pointed argument making as both an insufficient response to building of the Golghar famine and yet, in his mind, one of the only instances of to prevent famine. decisive action Indeed, government was echoed s of administrative allegation negligence Kyd recent to the Company in the documen by many petitioners even tation of famine amelioration programs.14 Thus, its within the same year that the Golghar was erected, was to in mission its and question, ability accomplish were those within the Company seeking other means of
famine relief.15

Nonetheless, John Shore's to construct

had followed the Board under Hastings Garstin and commissioned recommendation at Patn?. Although the Golghar later British

policy toward famine relief turned away from this solution, as Kyd hoped, a monument the Golghar has remained,

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to investigate what to this day. I turn now kind of monument is and was, and how its monu the Golghar its textual with and subtextual intersected mentality
missions.

THE "ROUND HOUSE" AND WHERE IT SITS


the ver Golghar means round (gol) house (ghar) in Hindi, structure is also referred nacular of the Bih?ri region; the to as agola orgolah, articulating only its round shape.16The name fits the structure, for obvious reasons, but the struc ture falls short or, more its ostensible precisely, exceeds its purpose and its purpose as a granary. This gap between form has been the locus of and catalyst for the Golghar's as to its suitability for its multi-faceted narrative; questions have its history. been raised throughout intended purpose never as turns it been used for the out, the Golghar has For, storage of grain. If the Golghar did not fulfill its ostensible function, an then architectural analysis, taking into consideration its context within the city, should reveal some of the structure in an "extra-granary" functioned ways that the capacity. Not only will this analysis reveal that the shape fails to measure up to its intended use, but it will also it form has no antecedents; show that the Golghar's a in the landscape edifice of colo represents unique two elements the ground for establish nial India. These

a discussion of how the Golghar-as-monument operated within the town of Patn? and, more broadly, within colonial discourse. One might say that a structure with curved walls would be ideally suited to grain storage. Certainly modern grain elevators and silos in theWest take a cylindrical form, so that no grain is lost in square corners and little grain is left at the base once out. These the majority has emptied towers at have openings the side for access to cylindrical in at the top.17 The the grain, which goes generally at A door the side gives access Golghar follows this model. to the grain, which is carried to the top by human and animal labor along the large steps that curl around the side of the structure. The interior space is a bit more complex, A section plan of the building however. reveals that on a the interior, smaller, centered cylindrical space has been set aside for the grain, leaving a large proportion of the its egg-like dome (that which gives the building shape) the thick wall would maintain empty (Figs. 3, 4).While a cool temperature inside for most of the year, much of the exterior membrane of the Golghar encloses empty air unit. and is thus in excess of its purpose as a grain-storage Its excessiveness raises questions it is about why shaped the way it is. form of the Golghar was an integral The problematic on the monument, and as such part of travellers' musings a its in forms text, image, representation large part of and history. If one attempts to place the Golghar within

Fig(i 756-1820). British King's

3 John

Garstin

1786. Golghar. elevation. Section

Library, Map Collection, Collection Topographical CXV 48f. Reproduced by of the permission British Library.

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and century by Thomas images from the late eighteenth William Daniell do not include st?pa architecture, but do include various other monuments the subcon throughout tinent, indicating that even the ruined st?pa remains from
the area were not of great interest to contemporaneous

viewers.20 Hence the st?pa form likely did not play a large role in the Golghar's shape. over Islamic buildings Nor in the area. did domes these exhibit a different, more bulbous silhou Generally, ette and they do not rest directly on the ground as does the Golghar. Moreover, in scale the Golghar far exceeds on Islamic structures in and around Patn?; the domes several historically would have been important mosques in the late eighteenth available asmodels century, but none uses a single large dome.21 Other archi cognates exist in the patterns of European tectural design in the eighteenth century, an arena often referenced Government in colonial architecture of India. Calcutta's for example, built between House, 1799 and 1803, drew directly on the eighteenth-century country estate of Lord Scarsdale in Derbyshire In Kensington.22 France with the ideal forms of the experimentations to take hold in and the circle were beginning hemisphere In the architectural of the eighteenth century. practice a plan of Pierre Fontaine produced funerary architecture a centralized, domed for the cemetery hemispherical

Grand Prix competition of 1785.23 This form parallels Garstin s design, especially the ground plans of the two structures. Garstin's dome is not hemispherical (a slightly is easier to build), but his project echoes dome pointed
1786. Plan. British (1756-1820). Fig. 4. John Garstin Golghar. CXV Collection 48e. Map Collection, King's Topographical of the British Reproduced by permission Library. Library,

a network of similar architectural developments, one finds cannot to structure that the be made fit: it iswithout any An in the Indian obvious form cognate precedents. the Buddhist with context, st?pa, resonates positively those well versed viewers, particularly many contemporary in Indian architecture. The mound-like shape of the build the two staircases winding around its ing, coupled with st?pa at Sand, parabolic form, certainly echoes the main to the southwest.18 Sand, however, was hundreds of miles not reconstructed in its current form until the end of the nineteenth its from century. Photographs just before reconstruction show its present shape (a hemispherical but the railings were not complete and many mound), were not extant.19 details the Archaeological Indeed, Survey of India did not begin to excavate and rebuild any monuments into the nineteenth until well century. With the Golghar dating from the late eighteenth century, these "discoveries" and reconstructions would not have affected the final form of the building. Moreover, collections of 56

the sublimity of Fontaine's design in its perfect symmetry and in the smooth contours of the steps rising up the are marked by the Golghar s flank. Indeed, both buildings aside from the staircases. absence of exterior decoration The penchant for this type of architectural design existed across the Channel as well; British interest in classical, dates well before the Golghar. symmetrical buildings
Nonetheless, modern attempts to connect contemporary

and a civic structure halfway high French architecture in provincial around the world India are weak at best, and
so we cognates. must turn to other arenas for convincing visual

additional looks to similar forms in interpretation Indian agriculture. Sten Nilsson, in his typolog vernacular on the subcontinent, ical study of colonial architecture suggests that the form of the structure stems not from India but from contemporary Europe or ?ndhra-period structures were Indian granary forms. These cylindrical not as big as the and could be quite large (although Golghar).24 But the Golghar s exterior shape ismost cer not Indeed, a survey tainly cylindrical, rather it is domical. common of vernacular granary forms in both eighteenth and India do not point toward a visual century England a new explanation is needed for the form cognate.25 Thus One

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of the Golghar, reasons behind


as a storehouse.

one

that looks to a broader context for the its form and the fact that itwas never used

HAVE YOU SEEN THE GOLGHAR?26


As shows, smooth, plain sides and the symmet Golghar's form?the rical staircases wrapped around its flanks?mark it as out of the distinct from its mundane something ordinary, intended function as a storage unit. This lack of functional ity is echoed in the position of the structure in relationship to the nearest population center: Patn?'s walled city. Over four miles from the city walls, the Golghar was less than convenient for most Patn? residents. The Golghar s distanc from the walled city parallels the newly distant position ing the British had recently adopted, politically and geograph the local population. By moving away from ically, vis-?-vis the city center and reestablishing in a new themselves servants residing in the greater the Company settlement, Patn? area articulated their relationship to the local popula tion through a reconfiguring of urban space.27 In the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries Europeans trading in Patn? lived and set up their ware houses within the city walls. Just a few years prior to the construction of the Golghar, the European residents of area to Patn? moved from the walled the known city later as Bankipur, to the west several miles along the to and the site of the Ganges adjacent Golghar.28 The move was precipitated the battles of and 1763-1764 by 1763, in which approximately were killed by agents of the forty Company naw?b.29 Built later, the Golghar years twenty only served to reinforce that separation, both in its placement and in its unique, unprecedented form. By the 1780s the in British the still subcontinent, presence although tenuous, was stabilizing. An answer to the famines of the officers serves as a counterpoint to the the Golghar two of the decades. The upheaval previous Golghar, built after the Battle of years twenty-nine Plassey, can thus be read as a point of closure to the wars that had taken serves as a symbol of place in the interim; the monument 1770s,
the western colonizers' side of new, Patn?. stable space for themselves on the

the city of Patn?, rivalling the height of the seventeenth century bastions of Patn? fort and the natural bluff on which the walled city sits. All of this ignores the purported function of the struc ture: to house grain. It is not an accident of history that the has never served that particular function, for its Golghar and form all that size, position, suggest grain storage was on uses low the list of for this building. Far very possible from town and thus not easily accessible by the popula as a grain tion, its function depot was undermined by its location.30 The excess of architectural form to accomplish its function meant that a substantial portion of its interior was not to storage. Finally, though large, it devoted space was not sufficient for the grain needs of the province. The the British presence in Patn?: anchors Golghar fittingly a rhetorical gesture of a colonial government, less about the substance of the grain itself than about a strong state ment of presence and domination over the landscape. a This structure reads less as civic building intended to than as a building for the help the regional population of the newly permanent British, reassuring the colonizer in India while that presence presence proclaiming loudly for the Indian residents of Patn?. Wealthy Islamic mer chants also owned area; this large estates in the Bankipur message would not have been lost on them. The need for
a monument as opposed to merely a grain storage space was

the frustrated

search

for

an antecedent

the

met

through

the form

and location

of the structure.

THEWRITING
In addition municates inscription as follows:

ON THEWALL

the "Patn? Massacre"

of

to speaking through its form, the Golghar com through its inscriptions. An English and a Persian adorn the building just above eye level, and read

In part of the general Plan/Ordered [in English] by the Governor General and the Council/for the perpetual of Famine prevention in these Provinces/THIS GRANARY/was erected by Captain on the 20 of July, 1786/First John Garstin Engineer/Compleated Filled and publickly closed by_. with insure order (Fig. 5) of the Governor General

the message of Golghar s scale further highlights an to over and it adds of element domination separation the landscape. Its twenty-nine?meter height and the com structure purview view from its the manding peak give over the most water of for culture and important body commerce in India?the downstream Ganges. Moving to east, the Golghar would past Patn? from west appear The the entry into town and serving as a promi first, marking nent landmark on the s relatively flat land. The Golghar on the flat a new created anchor for prominence landscape

of overcoming the in these provinces. On the 26th of Safar, the yearly drought victorious in the year calendar month, 1198 of the Hijraic to the 20th of 1784 of the Christian corresponding January was calendar the building was And this storehouse inaugurated. first constructed and he finished it on by John Garstin Engineer July 20, 1786 of the Christian into history. calendar. Dated, And he left the granary, Publicly clearly departing Declared.31 (Fig. 6) Sealed, and

[in Persian] and Council

In agreement in order to

the benefits

Several issues arise from these inscriptions independently and in comparison with one another. In the English text the blankness at the end of the inscription is only the most obvious problem, and adds to the questions raised by the form of the structure. The incomplete inscription indicates

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Fig.

Golghar.

5. John Garstin (1756-1820). Detail: English 1786. Bankipur, India. by author.

inscription, Patn?, Bih?r, Photograph

that the granary was never closed; indeed, through at least the last decade of the twentieth century, no grain was ever to the stored inside this structure.32 Several amendments as or well?each addition occurred inscriptions change to on the side of the Golghar attempts to account the writing for the fundamental shortfall of the structure as a granary. On adds to the other hand, each additional inscription in that it repositions the building the structure's message, the conflictual web of colonial discourse at the end within of the eighteenth century. The negotiations begin with the start of the inscription. The first line, "In part of the general Plan" has been squeezed into the space at the top of the plaque, indicating that itwas a later addition. Likewise, the phrase "No. i" above the main

plaque was clearly inserted as an afterthought, to indicate that this structure was planned as one of many. But due to shifts in the strategy for combating famine, as discussed above, no on other granaries were built in this model. The writing
the monument thus operates to make the structure poten

tially even bigger than it is: if the physical form is in excess of its potential use, then the inscription echoes that excess with a bit of swaggering about the numbers of granaries to be built in the future and a "General Plan" that was never to this adds new wrinkles inscription The choice of of the message. layer Golghar's sense an context in the of British makes early language its takeover from Mughal colonial presence marking rule; textual implemented. Persian The

Golghar.

(i756-1820). Fig. 6. John Garstin Persian Detail: inscription, 1786. Patn?, Bih?r, by author. India.

Bankipur, Photograph

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court was Persian, and thus the language of the Mughal in both the language of the this dual inscription speaks a strong new ruler and that of the old one. Because court resided in elite with ties to the Mughal Muslim that the British were heirs to the Patn?, the suggestion have been clear to the local population.33 would Mughals of the program inscriptional emu the British that their presence Golghar, suggested a in the region, quite a lated Mughal imperial presence a statement for officers who had only group of Company By adding recently received diwani status.34 to be a translation One of the the Persian expects one two but the differ that inscription, sufficiently English is at best a loose translation of the other. They may in fact in each to attention have been composed separately, with the inscriptional norms of their respective languages.35 For at the end of each inscription stem from established patterns of incomplete) a from closure rather than epigraphical specific translation into the Persian. This is indicated by the of the English in both inscriptions: in different finishing element missing to close the granary, the English we wait for a person in the Persian we wait for a date to be indicated for said example, (however the flourishes in content, with the closure. Moreover, the difference commencement of construction in the Persian indicated com but not in the English, indicates two inscriptions to to somewhat their respective posed separately appeal
audiences.

ruler building a piece of public works benevolent criticism of earlier colonial decision-making.

to one of

NARRATIVES OF FAILURE/SIGNS OF SUCCESS


colonial pres Nonetheless, despite this subtext proclaiming to its fulfill ostensible mission ence, the Golghar's inability of feeding the hungry in times of famine became a source of discussion for later colonizers. For the nineteenth-century a gap in early embodied viewer, this structure physically about the subcontinent and what kinds colonial knowledge to famines of of responses actually work. The building in it about the while the subcontinent, knowledge began century (and even earlier), did not hit its full eighteenth stride until the early nineteenth century. Patn? was not the The nineteenth subject of a "survey" until 1811-1812.37 saw an upsurge in the amount of information century India: the subcontinent became the about gathered knowing to In insure colonialism's the late eigh success.38 project teenth century, when the Golghar was built, this was not of colonialism were, like early monuments the Golghar, reassurances of the presence of the new rulers in the region. By the nineteenth colonialism's century one to of modus had shifted Ironically, operandi knowing. it iswith this shift that the absence of grain in the Golghar an issue. The putative granary transformed became from the focus?the amarker which of British colonial nineteenth-century nial efforts at civic action. Various explanations for the Golghar's inadequacy were as to it shifted from Patn?. Indeed, presented by travelers a monument a to granary without securing colonialism commentators to focus grain, it allowed nineteenth-century on its failure, and to differentiate their colonialism from that of two generations on commentator following
. . We .

Persian

to the

As two separate inscriptions, they indicate that the mon at its founding, when ument?even its potential for grain was an still intended to mean open question?was storage to two different the of elite in Patn?. This groups things the placement of the Golghar far from duality underscores the walled the century marked city. The late eighteenth of physical separation of the British from Patn?, beginning and these two inscriptions thus echo that separation.36 One difference between the two inscriptions supports this lacks the separation even further. The Persian inscription i" which "No. the English appears above designation It also lacks the inserted text "In Part of the inscription. General Plan" or any similar phrase. This supports the notion that those two elements were added later to the English inscription. The addition on the English side alone indicates that the changes were thus solely for a British audience, that the British and Indian populations were emphasizing distinct for the Company in the region. Although it is unclear when these additions were made, they indicate a shift in emphasis after the Golghar was completed: the monument was never actually used as the primary or sole repository of grain for the province, and the additions attempt to clarify or justify its role as part of a larger project. Thus, these additions on the English side engage with tives around the monument. The later transformation of colonial the changing British narra two phrases foreshadow the discourse from a rhetoric of

presence in Patn? to a site upon viewers challenged earlier colo

earlier. Bishop Reginald early nineteenth-century in his Narrative. discussion

Heber, a famed India, left the

a like a glass passed high building shaped something a stair round its outside house, with up to the top, like winding the old prints of the Tower It was built as a granary of Babel. for in pursuance the district, of a plan adopted about 25 years ago by after a great famine, as ameans of keeping down the Government, on a of its inef price of grain, but abandoned supposed discovery in their hands, nor any buildings which ficacy, since no means they on fresh taxes, would could without have been construct, laying or contain more to collect sufficient than one day's provision for . . . the vast population of their territories ... is said to have which many building imperfections, it very unfit for its destination. is to The idea itself, which a small door at the pour the corn in at the top, and take it through I think a good one. But it is said to be ill-built, and by far bottom, too weak a refinement inwards, have been to support the weight of its intended contents, while by to open in absurdity, ismade the door at the bottom and consequently when the granary was full, could never opened at all. It is now occasionally used as a powder . . .The

made

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magazine, sometimes performances

but for

is at this moment the on sake of the flute

and only visited empty, quite to is very favourable its echo, which or bugle.39

elaborates what was by this time a failure Hebers description in the eyes of many visitors. Not only had the inside of the structure never seen grain, but the reasons for its emptiness not went beyond the mere fact that the building would com suffice to hold the region's reserves. In reading Hebers the door could have now, one wonders whether mentary the But for Heber been physical problems simply rehung. of this particular structure were really not the issue. His pri on the part of the mary concern was the lack of knowledge the Golghar did early colonizers: not until after building was its The insufficient. that capacity they "discover" is important here, for it echoes the narrative of discovery narrative of colonial exploration and knowledge-gathering about the subcontinent. Facts are always there, they just need to be "discovered" by an intelligent ruler. in 1824, the Golghar's Patn? time visited the Heber By was it had become well notorious known; emptiness a curiosity, and visitors came to hear the echo and to note had not the fact that this early colonial monument text and oth Its downfall, in Heber's fulfilled its mission. the presence of the British was its story. Once ers, became a "given" on the subcontinent, the Golghar's reception into a reminder shifted from reassurance of that presence actions that con of early colonial of the shortcomings contrast of the the firmed knowledge experienced by
nineteenth-century colonizers.

to draw) its intended purpose drew (and continues to the edifice. people Today, along with a certain amount of disbelief that the at all, one wonders the building was completed why it when the nineteenth remain, century inscriptions by must have been clear that the "general plan" did not mate rialize and there was no "No. 2" granary nearby. As he served wrote should to the Board remain in 1786, Kyd's felt that the monument for the honor of Hastings.

must

to the late Governor-General it In justice [Warren Hastings] this important did not indeed be allowed aspect [famine] had been his foresight and the public granary, which escape in the province it is to be of Bihar erected by his direction,

wished our

a durable monument to the hon remain forever for, may of our nation of his administration, which and the Glory in acts of the itself and maintaining humanity prides popular rights of all subject nations.41

years later, in his survey of Patn? ini8n-i8i2, Thirty-five mirrors Kyd's positive senti Francis Buchanan-Hamilton a somewhat negative ment with of what reinterpretation should be done:
was this building the great man orders by whose a were not be should removed, inscriptions they to warn of the necessity of studying governors political even the to know it not of use to mankind and were economy, of Mr. Hastings.42 weaknesses For the sake of the erected, beacon

Whereas

in its description of the unique and its are). panache length, depth, Golghar (although travellers' tales from the early nineteenth century Many reinforce the touristic role of the Golghar for Patn?. Francis spent a day in Patn? in the mid-nineteenth Egerton, who Heber's
century, repeats most of the common descriptive patterns

text

is not

Kyd's statement in 1786 focused on the Golghar's of British rule in India, demonstration of the benevolence refocuses the debate on the later statement Buchanan's torn be the should down, but they inscriptions "knowing": serve to support the pursuit of more knowledge about the subcontinent,
ernors such as

including
Hastings.43

the mistakes
Thus,

of early colonial
to

gov
failure,

as a monument

been

the Golghar. He relates that a pony associated with ridden up to the top of the structure, and that
The the feat was celebrated . . . and must have been a difficult one

had

for

from the ground, and dome for it is a huge pony, rising ... It was built in 1786, as a staircase. ascended steep by winding a granary to prevent in the district, and proved famine entirely in the building.40 is a singular echo useless. There

in fact serves to legitimize colonial presence in the Golghar the collection and spread of knowledge the subcontinent: about India is deemed necessary to successful rule, and this monument is held up as proof. For late eighteenth-century colonials building the Golghar was amatter of British pride
in their treatment of "subject nations." For nineteenth

This echo and the climb to the top remain today the two reasons for visiting value of the structure. The curiosity as serves for draw its primary the building visitors; story), and peanut ponies climb the steps (as in Egerton's sell snacks at the top. The interior echo and the vendors view from the peak, which comprise also come River, Ganges tourists. Visitors stories Heber early 6o encompasses its two main to the Golghar Patn? because and the for of the attractions

illustrated the dangers of the Golghar century or without before you measure, knowledge, ruling building in and as such its inscriptions were important extremely colonials that danger. communicating Its interest for travellers and visitors to Patn? cannot be of commentaries the number alone, alongside disputed: numerous in texts of the structure reproduced images its century, indicate centrality to a during the nineteenth to full experience of Patn?.44 Its strange form?difficult its ini describe (glass house, tower of Babel)?reinforces to British presence. Taking the tial status as a monument a as construct to usable failure granary eighteenth-century a foil, the Golghar in the nineteenth century marks the

those related by told about the building, including failure of the above. It seems that the ridiculous a to structure erect that colonial governing body

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as knowledge-gathering. thrust of colonial discourse and thus main Colonial discourse resignifies the Golghar as of colonialism; tains its importance for the continuation torn should be Buchanan-Hamilton states, the inscription in down, but it helps to reinforce and justify colonialism new the early nineteenth century.

THE ELASTICITY OF COLONIAL DISCOURSE


India and ruling India knowing relationship between on colonialism.45 in has been well rehearsed scholarship are the ways as not in What has been well investigated to monuments have reinforced and which that knowledge in order to con is deployed reshaped the way knowledge In trol the subcontinent. the major colonial cities?Madras, Calcutta, and Bombay?monuments speak more clearly than an a civic building in suburban constructed by engineer a Patn?. The Golghar thus offers reading of early colonial in larger-scale, high-profile discourse unavailable settings. The and the The lacunae within the Golghar's inscription on the structure's failure to function comments biting to a shortfall of British about the knowledge pointed region?its population, what kinds of granaries might be form might be most needed and how many, and what commentators who called suitable for that purpose. Later to be torn down or who remarked for the inscriptions the Golghar's prop up their emptiness embarrassing even as they cri colonial hegemony contemporaneous then, emptiness, tique earlier colonialism. The Golghar's tower and its use as a tourists' echo chamber and viewing of knowledge for illustrate the importance gathering in which and the ways colonialism nineteenth-century was made to serve as a foil for the earlier colonialism wisdom of the nineteenth century. of hegemony and knowledge, the relationship Thus, from earlier colo combined with a critical differentiation of colonial discourse. allows for an elasticity nialisms, Examination of the narratives the Golghar surrounding on

an understanding as an active of the monument in the transformation of colonialism from the participant late eighteenth Indeed, century even into the twentieth. boasts an odd the Golghar's monumentality longevity for by the continual negotiations made partly accounted is see within colonial discourse. Even today the Golghar a a center civic rejuvenation?as community ing park and (Fig. 7)A6 planned by local architects Lall & Associates lost its functions of asserting British presence and Having the late eighteenth century from the early differentiating retains its touristic elements?the the Golghar nineteenth, elicits
view and the echo?and serves Patn? as a new statement

of colonialism-as-history, in the past.

firmly

putting

British

presence

Fig. 7. Lall and Associates' plan for the Golghar park, Patn?. From 8 Patna," Architecture + Design "Project News: Golghar Complex, of 1996), p. 19. Reproduced by permission (September-October media o? Architecture + Design. transasia, publisher

6i

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Notes
Research Overseas thanks for this funded paper was by Centers and St. Mary's in Patn? who the Council of American My

Research to all those

John me on my first trip to the top of St. Xavier s,who Kenealy accompanied to my I am indebted Pika Ghosh and Sam of the Golghar. colleagues on drafts of this who offered invaluable earlier article, Chambers, help to reviewers whose careful comments and also to the anonymous helped shape its final form. i. As this paper discusses their colonial names these cities in their colonial context, I use

of Maryland. College in particular Father assisted me,

Datta Prasad Jayaswal i, ed. Kali Kinkar (Patn?: Kashi letter detailing the recommenda Institute, 1976), p. 152. The can be found in Bengal tion and the Board's Public Council response to the Letter dated 15 December Records, 1783 from Henry Watson and India Office Board, British Collections, P/2/65, Library, Oriental Research in conjunction have usually been employed with other as irrigation, facilitated and control of transport, grain Famine: Social Crisis and Historical pests such as locusts (David Arnold, Publishers, [London: Blackwell 1988], pp. 102-3). Change to Board, in British Fort William, 15 April 13. Kyd 1786, quoted no. IOL Home Misc. of the Supreme 799 Library, (Proceedings such "relative old fort to the establishment at Machwa Tannah of a botanical at Calcutta, of the garden 21 August-6 on the site March pp. 278-85. 12. Granaries

Volume

3, Part

measures

throughout. 2. P. J. Marshall, Town of "The White of Calcutta Under the Rule Asian the East India Company," Modern Studies, vol. 34, no. 2 (2000), Town For a discussion of the Black Town/White relation pp. 307-31. M. Brown, ship, see Rebecca to the Colonial 29, no. "The City Cemeteries in South and Asia," the Suburbs: The Journal Patna's of Urban

Council

Challenges

vol. History, 3. Thomas Raj 4. See

Metcalf, (Berkeley: Univ. Swati Calcutta The

2 (January 2003), pp. 151-73. An Imperial Vision: Indian Architecture of California Pr., 1988). on British work in which the

in Robert 1788, proposed pp. Quoted 1-201). Kyd," by Colonel Richard Green Island Colonial Grove, Expansion, Imperialism: Tropical 1600?1860 and the Origins Edens of Environmentalism, (Cambridge: it was not until Univ. Pr., 1995), p. 334. Not Cambridge surprisingly, use to that the botanical be of commercial Kyd argued garden would the Company (Grove, p. 335). that he was granted permission to begin the project

and Britain's

southern undermined Boundaries:

Chattopadhyay's and the ways colonial of Limits

in neighborhoods servant quarters Indian "Blurring

British

the Society ofArchitectural On northern Calcutta, Residential Architecture

Journal of vol. 59, no. 2 [June 2000], pp. 154-79). Historians, see Monolina Identities: Bhattacharyya, "Locating to in Calcutta, Elite of the Bengali mid-18th

spaces (Swati Chattopadhyay, Colonial 'White Town'in Calcutta,"

in support of retaining and planting forests, for exam 14. Arguments on matters. action See Edward the of these lack ple, decry government's in in the mid-nineteenth Green Balfour's century, discussed arguments Grove, Green Imperialism, pp. 441-53. century. schemes crops) the nineteenth and into the twentieth 15. This continued throughout Grain the equation, with storage irrigation rarely entered the development of drought-resistant and forestation (alongside foremost among the methods. For see David Arnold, The Problem

See also of Minnesota, Centuries" 2002). (PhD diss., Univ. mid-19th and Madras, "Colonial W John Archer's study of the suburbs of Calcutta in in South Asia, of Modernity," and the Spaces Suburbs 1700-1850, Visions of Suburbia, ed. Roger Silverstone 1997). (London: Routledge, to Calcutta 5. Patna's relationship changed with road in the mid-nineteenth century (see Anand in Bihar State Markets, Society, and the Colonial California 6. Patn? Pr., 1998], pp. 83-84). now extends well to the west River. Only a few the arrival Yang, of the rail India: of Univ. Bazaar

in the irrigation, particularly Nature: Culture and Environment, of Punjab, Publishers, 1996), p. 177?78. For (Oxford: Blackwell European Expansion see Grove, Green Imperialism, as a means to prevent forestation drought, pp. 441,445-56. a movement the building Interestingly, to alleviate in Ireland as well with of this granary coincided and famine build poverty by

[Berkeley:

of the Golghar,

around

a bend

most the Golghar; and later. century early twentieth to Reginald was established in 1824 according Course 7. The Race that year (Surendra Gopal, Patna in the visited Patn? during Heber, who Prokash, 1982], igth Century [A Socio-Cultural Profile] [Calcutta: Naya in India, 1750?1850 (London: European Architecture see Major information, Faber, 1968), fig. 40. For Garstin's biographical Part II List of the Officers of the Bengal Army, V.C.P. Hodson, 1758-1834, He was Surveyor and Co., Ltd., 1928), pp. 253-54. (London: Constable of Bengal and Chief Engineer General 1815-1818. 1809-1813 in the Indian Sub "Famines and Pravin Visaria, 9. Leela Visaria in Economic The continent 1750?1947," History of India Cambridge during Univ. Kumar ed. Dharma Pr., II, c. 1757-1970, (New York: Cambridge 1983), p. 528. 10. Indeed, this famine and was in debates colonialism in Colonial referenced regarding on India India in many agricultural later arguments Science, Univ. pp. 5-6). 8. Sten Nilsson,

in the Ganges of southwest

nineteenth-century structures in this

exist buildings area date from the

An Economic History (see L. M. Cullen, ing granaries of Ireland since 1660 & Barnes York: Noble, 1972]). [New a conical 16. Hobson-Jobson indicates that a cylindrical top shape with in India, thus the Hindi word is the typical form for storehouses "gol" to name structures is adopted these Hobsonjobson (Henry Yule, 1886]). [London: J.Murray, to 17. Thanks John Zumbrunnen granaries. 18. The example ble the N?land? N?land? of ruined state for his tutorial on present-day

of the N?land? closer st?pa, a geographically did not then and does not now resem architecture, The main semi-ovoid smooth st?pa at shape of the Golghar. was a not a rounded Moreover, hemisphere. stepped mound, was not excavated until the early twentieth century. of Buddhist

19. In 1854 a report was Cunningham published by Alexander The the recent excavation of Sand (see Sir Alexander Cunningham, topes; or, Buddhist 1854]). For example, Monuments of Central India [London: Oriental Smith,

Bhilsa Elder, 20.

Thomas E.

and William

Daniell,

Scenery

1795). (London, 21. See Catherine

B.

forestation, favoring and the impact of early and Medicine Technology, Pr., 2000], to colonial Tropical History, 11.

development

(see David Arnold, [New York: Cambridge term Arnold,

of the p. 51). For the discourse see David to drought, attitudes The Journal World, 1770-1930," vol. 26, no. 1 (January 1998), pp. Shore's activities are detailed

tropical and its relation in the "India's Place and Commonwealth Selections from

(Cambridge: Cambridge Patthar-ki Masjid (pp. 159-60), and Mir Ashraf's mosque (p. 324). 22. See J. P. Losty, Calcutta: City

Univ.

India Architecture of Mughal such as the 1992) for structures 'Amber's mosque (pp. 282-83), Khw?ja Asher, Pr., (London: British Library, of Palaces of the is the pedimental facade the walled road inside city, built for a group of Capuchins in

of Imperial 1-21.

in Patn? itself 1990). An example on the main P?dri ki Haveli church, in 1763 Patn?. by Father Joseph

of Rovato

John the Correspondence

in J. F. W.James,

Superintendent, Kinkar Datta,

1781?86 (Patn?: Chief of Bihar, of the Revenue See also Kali Government 1919), pp. 35-36. Printing, in Comprehensive "From 1772-1823," History of Bihar,

A. Etlin, The Architecture 23. Richard of Death: Paris (Cambridge, in Eighteenth-Century Cemetery pp. 101-3.

the Transformation Mass.: MIT Pr.,

of the 1984),

62

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in India, p. 99. See Benoy 24- Nilsson, Ghose, European Architecture Firma KL Mukhopadhay, Primitive Indian Architecture 1953), (Calcutta: of these granaries. p. 25, for a brief discussion 25. Paul Oliver, ed., Encyclopedia of theWorld of Vernacular Architecture Univ. this text nor others Pr., 1997). Neither Cambridge a granary this form that resembles shape. reproduces most I lived in Patn?, 26. This was asked of me while the question once in the city. I explained colonial architecture that Iwas researching (Cambridge: It articulates its continued climbing the importance of the Golghar connection with the colonial for the city Seeing of Patn? as a whole and period. the Golghar, is even today

in India: Responses Transition of ofWisconsin, diss., Univ. 1967). Later in Patn? Bakhsh the founding of the Khuda developments of Persian Oriental Public Library, amajor texts, in 1890. See repository N. Kumar, Gazeteers Pr., ed., Patna: Bihar District (Patn?: Secretariat "The Eighteenth Lehman, Some Bihar Intellectuals" Century (PhD include 1970), p. 515 34. In 1765 Bengal, British entitling the East was given of India Company the title of Diwan taxes in the region. See n. 28 above. Earlier on the in the city, including the major inscription are in English (with an occasional Latin

it to collect

inscriptions Memorial, 1763 Massacre

that part top, and experiencing with connected the British space of the city. intimately "The Cemeteries and the Suburbs." 27. See Brown, 28. This move since the Battle of Plassey had been building the turning point in British East India Company long considered the subcontinent. While

to the

in 1757, rule on

phrase). occur in the Indian context, is not unusual 35. This differentiation on Persian between and Sanskrit dual earlier inscriptions ring buildings, on Rothas most fort. See dual inscription notably Raja Man Singh's and her Architecture Asher, India, pp. 70-71, of Mughal Architecture of Raja Man Singh: A Study of Sub-Imperial in The Powers ofArt: Patronage in Indian Culture, ed. Barbara Univ. (Delhi: Oxford 36. This separation Pr., was article, "The Patronage," Stoler Miller

of British itself a fairly minor battle, the manner its impor of Robert Clive), (under the leadership victory heightened tance: a dispossessed relative of the naw?b joined with (regional governor) to defeat of the Clive the armies gathered governors by the Mughal A New History See Stanley Wolpert, of India (Oxford: Oxford Univ. smaller battles took place in subsequent years in 1989), p. 180. Many and agents of the Mughal tried and Bih?r as the governor emperor Bengal to hold incursions economic of the the region the and military against region. Pr., British. collect East and By the mid-1760s of Bengal was the Diwan taxes for the entire these given battles to the East largely ended, India Company, entitling this new official responsibility, its holdings in the take shape narrate had and in 1765 it to the

1992), pp. 183-201. as seen not entirely by the place complete, ment in the center of the walled of the primary British graveyard city. See Brown, "The Cemeteries and the Suburbs." of the area is the first 37. Francis Buchanan-Hamilton's recording to go earlier into this level survey was See Hamilton, Journal. James Rennell's to not the land, and thus the rivers, map designed as in Buchanan in it but not in as much detail Rennell, A Bengal year 1976 5-42. pp. an Empire of detail.

at Bankipur suburbs of Patn?. Yang, Bazaar India, pp. 103-11. sources in the early nineteenth 29. Several century settlement Francis Buchanan, (Patn?: Bih?r An Account and Orissa of Research

India Company saw the British this period

region. With to consolidate sought

the region Hamilton.

region, in the

figures A Bengal Atlas See James Rennell, (London: James S. Cook, and Andrew and 1780) James Rennell "Major in India Office Library and Records, Report for the Atlas," and Commonwealth Office, 1978), (London: Foreign

this move, and

Matthew

[no See also Francis Hamilton, pp. 59-60. given]), Journal in 1811-1812, and Goya kept during the survey of the districts of Patna ed. V H. Jackson, and Emma (Patn?: Government 1925), Printing, Scenes and Characteristics with Sketches Roberts, of Hindost?n, of Anglo precise date H. Allen & Co., 1835), vol. 1, p. 171. Society (London: Wm. a documents should house 30. The Council suggest that the granary food source, but it is not clear whether the intent was for seed grain or to the In either is closest case, this location grain for consumption. Indian area of town, and to some accessible although to the populated Patn?. of region to my thanks 31. Many Jon Armajani, colleagues Hutton Deborah for this translation. British close farmers, Fozia was not

including Patna in 1811-12

the Districts

of Bihar 1920s Society,

H. Edney in his Mapping addresses this as well of Chicago Pr., 1997). (Chicago: Univ. "The Command of Language and the Cohn, 38. See Bernard in Subaltern of Command," Studies Guha IV, ed. Ranajit Language Univ. Pr., 1994 [1985]), pp. 276-329. (Delhi: Oxford 39. Reginald Heber, Narrative of a Journey through the Upper Provinces of India, pp. 117-20. a 40. Francis Egerton, Journal of Winters the Court ofNepaul (London: John Murray, to Board, Fort William, 41. Kyd 15 April 42. Hamilton, Journal, p. 180. Tour in India with A Visit 1, p. 166. to

1852), vol. 1786.

Qazi,

and

was into bitter in 1785. retirement forced 43. Warren Hastings reasons why Buchanan-Hamilton's the Golghar should remain standing a science a "bad" result echo common wisdom experiment: regarding to the scientific even contributes of knowledge it is pursuit though "incorrect." to Egerton, and Heber listed 44. In addition Buchanan-Hamilton, mentions in his Travels in India the Golghar above, Thomas Twining A Hundred Years Ago & Co., Mcllvaine (London: 1893), Osgood, p. 138. 45. Bernard Cohn swork here is central Univ. Pr., (Colonialism 1996]). + Design 8 and its Forms of [Princeton: Knowledge 46. "Project News: (September-October Princeton Golghar

told by a long-time resident of Patn? that grain sacks were 32.1 was at one time in the last quarter stored in the Golghar of the twentieth evidence of this remained century. No during my research in 1996. One source indicated that the space had been used as a nineteenth-century See quote below from Reginald Heber, Narrative the Upper Provinces of India (Delhi: B. R. Publishing 1985 [1827]), pp. 117-20. Corp., and Society in Early Politics 33. See Kumkum Merchants, Chatterjee, Modern India, Bihar: 1733?1820 (Leiden: EJ. Brill, 1996), and Frederick gunpowder of a Journey magazine. through

Complex, 1996), p. 19.

Patna," Architecture

63

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