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2014-09-27T13:47:24+05:30
Academic appraisals of Indian art and architecture in the Western world have suffered from many of the same biases and prejudices that have infected analyses of Indian philosophy and culture. In the colonially constructed model, India was to be pigeon-holed as a land seeped in incomprehensible mysticism - where religion dominated all aspects of social life, but unlike the "noble" piousness of the Western world, India's religious practices were often seen as bizarre and grotesque.  Although the subcontinent has enjoyed a virtually uninterrupted history of developments in the realm of art and architecture, India has been either studiously ignored in compilations of "world" art - or it has been represented by a very small and limited number of examples. When volumes on Indian art and architecture have been produced, it has not been unusual for the commentaries to begin with generalizations like "all Indian architecture has been religious" and very quickly through the text, one runs into comparative statements suggesting that Indian art and architecture was never quite able to reach the grand heights achieved by Western art and architecture.  The statement that all Indian architecture has been "religious" displays not only a poor understanding of philosophical practices in ancient India, but also a remarkable lack of perspective concerning not only the archeological discoveries in India, but also in the West. Such  characterizations of the Indian legacy are especially puzzling because the urban character of  the Harappan civilization ought to be quite well-known to all Western academics as should the cosmopolitan and secular character of the Mauryan era.  
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