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Marg. A Magazine of Architecture and Art

  • Local and exiled creatives formed the Modern Architectural Research Group to publish a progressive journal of art and architecture in Bombay from 1946 onwards.
  • Magazine
  • Marg. A Magazine of Architecture and Art

    Word Count: 7

  • MARG, Marg. A Magazine of the Arts
  • Mulk Raj Anand
  • 1946
  • 25 Cuffe Parade, Colaba, Bombay (now Captain Prakash Pethe Marg, Mumbai); 3 Queens Road, Marine Lines, Bombay (now Khatau Road, Mumbai).

  • English
  • Mumbai (IN)
  • Local and exiled creatives formed the Modern Architectural Research Group to publish a progressive journal of art and architecture in Bombay from 1946 onwards.

    Word Count: 23

  • A magazine beyond borders. Marg’s interconnectedness with exile histories
    To become a “breviary of architecture and art for all enlightened citizens in our country and abroad” (Marg ,vol. 1, no. 1, 1946, 6), was and is the overarching goal of the art and architecture magazine Marg. In 1946, on the brink of Independence, the Modern Architectural Research Group (MARG) formed in Bombay to publish a journal that would soon become an important resource for the built, visual, and performing arts in India and beyond. Involved in its creation were, amongst others, Indian author Mulk Raj Anand, Ceylonese architect Minnette De Silva as well as German architect Otto Koenigsberger and the exiled art critic Rudi von Leyden. Funded by the Tata Group, the English-language publication  took a clear humanist stance through its progressive questioning of the role of ancient and contemporary Asian art and architecture.
    On the covers on the first four issues “Marg” is written in English and Devanagari. The title not only represents the acronym of the MARG group, but also means “pathway” in Sanskrit and “way” or “road” in Hindi. This directional dynamic is reflected in the graphic design of Marg, where the reader moves through an  archway from Fatehpur Sikri that frames the contents page and a gateway from Sanchi that surrounds the editorial page. From the beginning, the anti-revivalist orientation of the magazine’s path was based on an innovative negotiation of modernity and tradition in the arts. By educating the public in their acknowledgement of the arts and their local heritage, MARG not only hoped to elevate the reputation of the architect, but also wanted to shape egalitarian visions of society through cultural themes.
    Within this creative finding process, the gaze was repeatedly cast towards Europe and North America. Architecture treatises of well-known architects like Le Corbusier, critical comments on modern design in India and exhibition reviews such as the show of the Bombay Progressive Artists’ Group at the Institute of Foreign Languages filled the magazine’s pages. At the same time India’s architectural and artistic heritage, which received only biased analysis under the British colonial government, was reappraised through in-depth analyses.
    This multi-layered content can be related to the international team behind Marg. Mulk Raj Anand served as editor and the Ceylonese author, activist and art historian Anil (Marcia) De Silva, was assistant editor until October 1948. Moreover, she was also responsible for the layout. The two had met in London and several sources suggest that they were lovers (Sales-Pontes 1985; De Mel 2001). What is certain is that they shared a passion for art history, an affiliation with the political left and a flat at 25 Cuffe Parade with Anil's younger sister Minnette De Silva who was part of Marg's architectural team.
    Also involved from the outset were the Indian architect Minoo Mistry as well as the J.P.J. (Jehangir) Billimoria. Another important voice within Marg was the exiled architect and town planner Otto Koenigsberger, who fled Germany in 1933 and later became the chief architect of Mysore State. His understanding of architectural modernism as a site-specific method rather than a globally universal style, which was shared by Minnette De Silva, helped shape the architectural discourse in Marg.
    While in the early days of the magazine many buildings from Europe or the US were presented by experts predominantly from these geographies, locally trained architects found little mention in Marg. In contrast the art-related articles clearly concentrated on Asian art. Two European emigrants were leading forces in this regard: the political refugee and art critic Rudi von Leyden and the art historian Hermann Goetz, who had already completed his doctorate on Indian art at the University of Munich in 1923 before coming to the subcontinent. Together with Marg’s official art advisor Karl Khandalavala, von Leyden and Goetz wrote well-founded reviews of artworks, exhibitions and books. The total of 14 − or 15, depending on the count in the different sources − founding members also included John Irwin, assistant curator of the London Victoria and Albert Museum at that time and the Bengali poet Bishnu Dey. In addition, the early issues contain articles by exiled creatives such as the filmmaker Paul Zils on “Film of our Time” (Marg, vol. 1, no. 2, 1947, 78f). However, their presence in the journal gradually decreased, presumably due to remigration and the changed political situation in India in the course of the 1950s.
    Without a doubt, the magazine’s network spanned different continents, disciplines, and contexts of origin. At the same time, it was closely linked to Bombay’s emergence as a crucible for creative encounters. The city's open cultural climate encouraged collaborative work on many levels. Homi Bhabha, whom Anand had met at Cambridge and was a close friend of Koenigsberger, was also part of the urban elite around Marg. Likewise, Kekoo Gandhy occasionally contributed to Marg and advertised his gallery Chemould Frames in its pages. After the first issues were entirely financed by the founders’ seed money, subscriptions and advertisements, the magazine was substantially supported by the influential Tata Group from 1949 onwards. In return for the new office space at 3 Queens Road provided by the Tatas, the magazine was explicitly marketed as a low-cost educational resource that was supposed to be accessible to all. Even though Marg remained a product of Bombay’s urban elite, its egalitarian visions for art and architecture in a postcolonial world remain fundamental until today.

    Word Count: 888

  • Cover of the first issue, detail (Marg, vol. 1, no. 1, 1946, reproduced with the permission of The Marg Foundation, Mumbai, India).
  • Cover of the first issue (Marg, vol. 1, no. 1, 1946, reproduced with the permission of The Marg Foundation, Mumbai, India).
    Advert MARG means Pathway (Marg, vol. 1, no. 2, 1947, p. 110; reproduced with the permission of The Marg Foundation, Mumbai, India).
    Editors’ page of the first Marg issue (Marg, vol. 1, no. 1, 1946, p. 1; reproduced with the permission of The Marg Foundation, Mumbai, India).
    Excerpt from “Architecture and You” (Marg, vol. 1, no. 1, 1946, p. 10; reproduced with the permission of The Marg Foundation, Mumbai, India).
    A collage of exiles’ contributions to Marg (All images reproduced with the permission of The Marg Foundation, Mumbai, India).
    Editorial “Planning and Dreaming.” (Marg, vol. 1, no. 1, 1946, p. 4f).
  • Dalvi, Mustansir. “Mulk and Modern Indian Architecture.” Mulk Raj Anand: Shaping the Indian Modern, edited by Annapurna Garimella, Marg Publications, 2005, pp. 56–65.

    De Mel, Neloufer. Women & the Nation’s Narrative: Gender and Nationalism in Twentieth Century Sri Lanka. Rowman & Littlefield, 2001.

    De Silva, Minnette. The Life & Work of an Asian Woman Architect. Smart Media Productions, 1998.

    Deboo, Khorshed. “Revisiting the Past, Reimagining a Future. How an Art Magazine Found a Place in Indiaʼs Nation-Building Narratives.” Himal Southasian, 16 February 2021, Accessed 20 March 2021.

    Kulke, Hermann. “Life and Work of Hermann Goetz.” India and the West. Proceedings of a Seminar Dedicated to the Memory of Hermann Goetz (South Asian Studies, 15), edited by Joachim Deppert, New Delhi, 1983, pp. 13–23.

    Lee, Rachel, and Kathleen James-Chakraborty. “Marg Magazine: A Tryst with Architectural Modernity.” ABE Journal, no. 1, May 2012., doi: 10.4000/abe.623. Accessed 20 March 2021.

    Metcalf, Thomas R. An Imperial Vision: Indian Architecture and Britain’s Raj. University of California Press, 1989.

    Sales-Pontes, Alzira Hilda. Dr. Mulk Raj Anand – A Critical Bibliography (Doctoral thesis, Loughborough University Of Technology, 1985), Accessed 27 April 2021.

    Singh, Devika. “German-Speaking Exiles and the Writing of Indian Art History.” Journal of Art Historiography, no. 17, December 2017, pp. 1–19. DOAJ, Accessed 28 April 2021.

    Word Count: 210

  • Marg, vol. 1–4, Marg Publications, 1946–1953,

    Word Count: 7

  • We would like to thank Marg (Anjana Premchand, Mrinalini Vasudevan) for their support of our research.

    Word Count: 16

  • Rachel Lee; Mareike Schwarz
  • Bombay
  • No
  • Rachel Lee; Mareike Schwarz. "Marg. A Magazine of Architecture and Art." METROMOD Archive, 2021,, last modified: 15-09-2021.
  • Mulk Raj Anand
    WriterPhilosopherArt PatronCultural Critic

    As a global socialist and modernist, Mulk Raj Anand sought and shaped opportunities for intellectual exchanges between Asia and Europe.

    Word Count: 20

    Kekoo Minochair Gandhy
    Frame Shop OwnerGalleristArt Collector

    Starting from a cosmopolitan milieu for young local artists, Kekoo and his wife Khorshed Gandhy developed a business model that turned the frame shop into Gallery Chemould.

    Word Count: 27

    Rudolf von Leyden
    GeologistAdvertisement SpecialistJournalistArt CriticArt CollectorCartoonist

    The advertisement expert, Rudolf von Leyden, became a major art critic and art historian in Bombay in the 1940s, advocating an urgent need for modernism in art in post-colonial India.

    Word Count: 30

    Minnette De Silva

    Probably the first Sri Lankan woman architect and a founding member of Marg, Minnette De Silva mediated between tradition and modernity while defying the boundaries of gender, caste and disciplines.

    Word Count: 30

    One Man exhibition and subsequent trial, Akbar Padamsee
    Court Case

    Akbar Padamsee’s solo exhibition in Bombay in 1954 was overshadowed by his arrest on charge of displaying obscene pictures. The subsequent court case drew support from across the art world.

    Word Count: 30

    The Feldberg Art Collection. A Series of Three Exhibitions of European Artworks collected by the Feldberg Family

    In 1950 the Institute of Foreign Languages organised three exhibitions of paintings from the collection of the exiled Jewish manufacturer Siegbert Feldberg and his wife Hildegard from Stettin.

    Word Count: 27

    Homi Jehangir Bhabha

    Homi Jehangir Bhabha was a world class scientist, institution builder, an artist and art connoisseur. His vision for growth of science and art has had significant impact in post-colonial India.

    Word Count: 30

    GalleryFrame Shop

    Chemould’s history stretches from its beginnings as a manufacturer of chemical mouldings and frames in 1941 over to a hub for art circulation displaying a variety of artists in Bombay.

    Word Count: 30

    University / Higher Education Institute / Research Institute

    The TIFR is one of India’s premier scientific institutions. Inside its buildings, scientists ponder over path-breaking ideas. Also, within its hallowed walls is a fine collection of modern Indian art.

    Word Count: 31

    Institute of Foreign Languages
    Language SchoolExhibition SpaceLibraryTheatre

    With its wide range of cultural activities, the Institute of Foreign Languages − founded in 1946 by the Viennese emigrant Charles Petras − became a glocal contact zone in Bombay.

    Word Count: 27

    Iconic Photo of the Progressive Artists’ Group and Their Associates

    There are two versions of the PAG photo at the opening of M.F. Husain's first solo exhibition in 1950 (published in 1996 and 2003) and two narratives about the opening.

    Word Count: 28