14 April, 2021

Dulce Et Decorum Est

India Gate, our WW-I cenotaph, now stands for an abstracted ideal

Dulce Et Decorum Est

“At the very moment when the pale sun of a winter’s afternoon died behind the domes of Imperial Delhi,” wrote the Times correspondent on February 12, 1931, “the ‘Last Post’ was sounded today in salute to the Indian troops who gave their lives for the Empire in the Great War.” The occasion was the dedication of the India War Memorial, later renamed India Gate. This “magnificent arch”, he continued, “is not only a tribute to the Indian dead but is the gateway to the new capital”.

The correspondent enthusiastically described the arch as a “greater cenotaph”, ten times larger than the monument in Whitehall, and with “a stately road driven through it”. Comple­menting the arch, one hundred sixty yards to the east, where six roads came together to define the terminus of the new city, was erected the King George V Memorial. It too, as the architectural historian A.S.G. Butler wrote, deserved comparison with a British counterpart, in this case the Albert Memorial in Hyde Park....

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