Raj Rhapsodies: Tourism, Heritage and the Seduction of History

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Heritage is a prized cultural commodity in the marketing of tourism destinations. Particular aspects of heritage are often more actively promoted, with others played down. The representation of heritage in tourism as static and timeless, derived since time immemorial from a distant past, is seductive. In Asia, a major part of the tourism market lies in the sale and consumption of highly orientalized images and versions of culture and history. In India’s marketing discourse, the state of Rajasthan symbolizes the nation in its heritage-laden, traditional and most authentic form. These images draw heavily on the British period in India – the Raj. In one sense, this vision of Rajasthan is ennobling, highlighting moments of cultural pride. In another sense, it demeans, by omitting and obscuring salient features of contemporary life. This fascinating book explores the cultural politics of tourism through interdisciplinary perspectives. Carol E. Henderson and Maxine Weisgrau demonstrate that tourism heritage privileges elite histories that recapitulate colonial relationships, compelling non-elites to collude in these narratives of subordination even as they advance their own alternative visions of history.

Table of contents

Cover Page
Title Page
Copyright Page
List of Illustrations
Notes on Contributors
Foreword by Tim Edensor
Introduction: Raj Rhapsodies, Tourism and Heritage in India by Carol E. Henderson and Maxine Weisgrau
Introduction to Part 1
1 Shifting Terrains of Heritage: The Painted Towns of Shekhawati
2 Ghost Towns and Bustling Cities: Constructing a Master Narrative in Nineteenth-Century Jaipur
3 Travel, History, Politics and Heritage: James Tod’s ‘Personal Narrative’
4 Virtual Rajasthan: Making Heritage, Marketing Cyberorientalism?
Introduction to Part 2
5 Exclusion and Election in Udaipur Urban Space: Implications of Tourism
6 Names, but not Homes, of Stone: Tourism Heritage and the Play of Memory in a Bhat Funeral Feast
7 Sickly Men and Voracious Women: Erotic Constructions of Tourist Identity
8 From Privy Purse to Global Purse: Maharaja Gaj Singh’s Role in the Marketing of Heritage and Philanthropy
Introduction to Part 3
9 Devotees, Families and Tourists: Pilgrims and Shrines in Rajasthan
10 Tourists, Pilgrims and Saints: The Shrine of Mu’in al-Din Chisti of Ajmer
11 Hindu Nationalism, Community Rhetoric and the Impact of Tourism: The ‘Divine Dilemma’ of Pushkar
12 Composing the Raj Rhapsodies

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