There will be many young faces singing and celebrating today but not fully understanding what the day means to so many people across the country, spanning generations. One such person is Yuvraj Khanna whose family was immensely affected by the Partition, and he is the first generation born in Delhi. He grew up listening to stories of a different era and it awoke a deep respect and affinity for the history of our country and how time alters the world, slowly but steadily.
The Delhi we know today is a product of many empires from the Tughlaqs, to the Mughals, right to Lutyen’s Delhi. It was Khanna’s hope that his photo-series would capture these transitions. He believes, “Each resounds with their own charm and leaves remnants of a rich past all around us, I wished to showcase in a single frame how the city has changed and evolved over time.” He chose to capture monuments that are still relevant in modern day Delhi, where the visual juxtaposition of the eras would be easy for everyone to recognise and appreciate.
Growing up in Delhi he has so many fond memories of the places he was shooting–from ice cream at India gate (which admits is still a favourite treat) to saluting the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate in memory of his grandfather, Brigadier HSD Singh. He remembers sunlit strolls in Connaught Place’s Central Park, stopping only for Keventer’s milkshakes and Wenger’s pastries, and sunsets at the gardens of Humayun’s Tomb. While he’s a fan of National Geographic and their photography team, his true inspiration is his family. “I’ve luckily never had to look far beyond the next room in my house for inspiration. I’ve been brought up in the hands of very brave women and noble men. The Singh’s and the Khanna’s of my family are always with me,” he says, adding that they are his core support system, always fostering his creativity.
He hopes that his series will convey how lucky people are to live in a city where history is around every corner and saturated in the very air we breath. He also hopes to awaken people to how these precious monuments need to be prized and protected. Khanna was unable to showcase Chandni Chowk as it was completely unrecognizable from the height of its glory, he sadly adds, “Thankfully, neither Jahannara nor Shahjahan live to see Shahjahanabad in its current state.” We believe that the beauty of our culture and history are one of the few treasures we have left to really cherish, and Yuvraj’s series will open your eyes to how quickly glory can fade.
You can check out his full body of work here.