1989. Forty years after the Constitution of India was formally adopted by our newly independent nation. That year, the Victoria and Albert Museum wanted to dedicate a gallery to their Indian collection and for the inauguration they wanted an exhibition to depict modern India.
As a country we were celebrating forty years as a republic, and were also marking the centenary year of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India and the acknowledged architect of the nation moving into modernity. We used huge heights of up to 60 feet to put up scaffolding as an apt metaphor to show a nation under construction and upon which we mounted the exhibition. The floor plan as the layout of a mandala, depicted our ancient civilisation. The central area had the four pertinent questions Nehru put to the nation in his seminal work, "Discovery of India". These led to four non-linear galleries on ancient India, India's struggle for freedom, India now, and the modern India represented through poetry, art and creative writing. Hand-woven fabrics, offering a tactile experience, hung from the scaffolding and they acted as metaphors for the old and new country striving for an equitable balance.
The late Margaret Thatcher, then Prime Minister of Great Britain, inaugurated the exhibition which was well received by all visitors.