What Was Monumental in Us (WWMU) is the title of my poetry manuscript which focuses on five sites from the Mughal period (16th century to the 18th century) which are located in present day Lahore (inner city). WWMU deals with the people’s relationship to a lineage which having been passed on to them is their own and is also not their own. The manuscript moves through a material history which the people of present day Lahore literally inhabit yet may be ideologically, aesthetically and theoretically separated from. For the buildings’ glories, their allowance of clandestine meetings in secret tunnels, their openings bejeweled, and their long ago patronage of court poets taken together are too far removed from the realities faced by any one local trying to get on with his/her day in the bustling metropolis of what is Lahore.

The work looks at how present day locals live amongst and interact with monuments that have been passed down to them. How the locals deal with the lineage of conquering invaders who may have shared some kind of faith with them, and most of territory. The buildings under discussion are massive in scale but their exteriors have changed as visitors have touched them, toyed with them, in some cases desecrated them. Their purpose has been altered not once but many times, sites have been converted from retiring chambers to administrative offices, from places of holiness to that of plunder. I am interested in examining how a person’s encounter with a building changes the building? How does a building’s encounter with a person change the person? Each encounter changes the next one. The people accommodating, the city around the buildings changing, these are some of the preoccupations of the manuscript.


This blog serves as a companion site to my manuscript in progress. I aim to put some of the poems online and do welcome reader feedback or engagement with the poems in some fashion. I will also use the blog as a diary of objects, photographs, texts which have been inspiring to me (as they relate to the region and to the manuscript).

Thank you for reading.


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