Love conquers all

Despite the rash of threats, imprecations and last selfies, the Taj Mahal still stands. It’s even looking cleaner than usual

By: Editorials | Published: October 27, 2017 12:00 am
Taj Mahal, Yogi Adityanath, Taj controversy, Taj mahal controversy, uttar pradesh, indian express news, india news This is the first official communication from the governments of Uttar Pradesh and the Centre since Som began to issue threats and imprecations against the mausoleum of Mumtaz Mahal and promised its summary dilapidation in the manner of the ancients.

The Taj Mahal has survived the existential threat posed by Sangeet Som, who has successfully demonstrated that he is a blot on Indian culture. The monument to love wasn’t exactly swept off its feet by Yogi Adityanath, but it certainly looks much cleaner than its usually sick and span self. All that remains of the Taj controversy is a fine distinction made by the voluble lot online — that it is undoubtedly a beautiful structure, but the Mughals who built it were a bunch of foreign devil plug-uglies who travelled long distances to loot a great country. And Sangeet Som, who had started this cycle of Taj controversialism rolling, has graciously deigned to agree. This is the first official communication from the governments of Uttar Pradesh and the Centre since Som began to issue threats and imprecations against the mausoleum of Mumtaz Mahal and promised its summary dilapidation in the manner of the ancients.

Actually, this was a common practice with respect to misunderstood monuments well into modern times. In 1856, the British engineers John and William Brunton laid ballast for 150 km on the Lahore Karachi line with bricks looted from Indus Valley sites, including Harappa. Don’t believe it? Go to Pakistan. See for yourself.

With Partition, the hottest sites of the Indus Valley civilisation were lost to Pakistan, leaving an aching void in the very foundations of Indian culture. But the Taj is here. And now, with the whisk of a broom and a vigil among the illustrious dead, Yogi Adityanath has signalled that it will stay here. It was a signal, mind, fit for study by leading semioticians. It was not a message to the turbulent Som. Consider a theoretical parallel: You are asked for your views on political assassination and in complete silence, ignoring the questioner, you take out your copy of Julius Caesar and start reading.

The Taj has survived much, including the British colonial enthusiasm for picnicking in the gardens and honeymooning on the premises. It even survived Lord Curzon, who loved it to distraction and turned the classic charbagh into a British garden in his restorative zeal. Now, Adityanath has made a clean sweep of the latest iteration of the Taj controversy. And the spirit of that fantastic fabulist, P.N. Oak, who set the ball rolling by claiming that the Taj Mahal was the Tejo Mahalaya, must wait restlessly for the next round.

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    S T
    Oct 27, 2017 at 3:26 pm
    The Central Information Commission has directed the Union culture ministry to clarify its stand on whether the Taj Mahal is a mausoleum built by Shahjahan or a Shiva temple gifted to the Mughal emperor by a Rajput king. In a recent order, Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu said the ministry should put to rest the controversy and clarify doubts about the history of the white marbled mausoleum, considered one of the wonders of the world. Acharyulu recommended that the ministry give information on its stand on the cases related to the provenance of the Taj Mahal, and on the frequent claims based on historian P N Oak and advocate Yogesh Saxena’s writings. Many people stating that Taj Mahal is not Taj Mahal and it is Tejo Mahalaya: that this was not constructed by Shahjahan, but was gifted by Raja Maan Singh hence give the facts as per ASI reports-details with evidences,” he asked. The ASI told him no such record was available with it. Thats it. No proof of Shahjan built it.
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      S T
      Oct 27, 2017 at 1:18 pm
      Only 1 question. Who is afraid of the truth that will come out, if all the locked rooms of the Taj are opened in front of TV cameras with live broadcast so as to avoid any wrongdoing on anybody's part. Why not open them? Who wants to hide and what, for centuries? You may like call P.N.Oak a fanatic fabulist - but if you are journalist worth your name, how can you not ask for investigation and to establish truth?
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        V.S.Malhotra
        Oct 27, 2017 at 10:28 am
        The Taj has been seen variously by various eyes. To Shah Jahaan it was the expression of his love for his departed wife. To millions of tourists who are attracted by its visual beauty, it is a place to relax and enjoy. But the reason why it should be preserved is because it is an object depicting Man’s capacity to produce beautiful objects of art and architecture. The presence of these heritage pieces gives inspiration to innovative minds to think and produce ever more perfect pieces in the fields of art and science. If some misguided people with narrow mindsets have tried to obliterate such heritage objects, they in fact have at least in some ways deprived the future generations of their possibility to innovate. Such monuments serve the same purpose as the books lying in the university libraries do. They must therefore be preserved for the benefit of our coming generations.
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          Kamal Pasha
          Oct 27, 2017 at 4:30 pm
          V.S. Malhotara. : Whom you are telling all this? To Yoghi or stupid supporters of Saffrons? It is like throwing pebbles at Elrphants. They hav are all jokers.
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            V.S.Malhotra
            Oct 27, 2017 at 5:39 pm
            I can only express what seems right to me at this moment based on what little I have learnt. I can be wrong and therefore I am always ready to correct my views if any errors are pointed out to me by other more knowledgeable friends. But please try to use good language avoiding terms that can heart others. Let us make this space provided by the kindness of the media a mature debating space for exchange of ideas so that we can together come to some right result.
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              Kamal Pasha
              Oct 27, 2017 at 8:11 pm
              Mr.Malhotra : I am very very sorry for my out burst. Will always follow your advice. Once again sorry for hurting your feelings.
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                V.S.Malhotra
                Oct 28, 2017 at 4:39 am
                Good. May you prosper. WE can differ in our views in debating but we should not spread hatred.
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