More than 60,000 destitute inhabitants of a village in Tughluqabad, India, will be homeless soon after the country’s supreme court ruled in favor of the destruction of their settlement near a 14th-century fortress complex.
The medieval site houses a series of forts and tombs, including the extravagant mausoleum of the founder of the Tughlaq dynasty (pictured above). Despite the historical and cultural significance of the site, local politicians and community leaders have rallied to the cause of the soon-to-be displaced villagers.
In opposition stands the Archaeological Survey of India, the government agency responsible for the protection of India’s historical sites. During the past year, the ASI has issued countless eviction notices on the inhabitants of structures deemed to encroach upon archaeological sites throughout the country.
Upon hearing of the evictions, a Tughlaqabad villager was sent into such a state of frenzy and despair that he died of shock. While nations must fight to protect their cultural heritage, is the preservation of cultural heritage more important than human life?