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Taj Trouble

India’s famous Monument of Love, the Taj Mahal was recently dragged into disrepute as “a blot on Indian culture” built by “traitors.”If BJP politician, Sangeet Som, were to have had his way, the monument would be blotted out of India’s history.

The stunning 17th Century white marble monument was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the northern city of Agra in memory of his third and favourite wife Mumtaz Mahal who died in childbirth.

Ravings by voices within the country’s ruling Hindu right-wing party claimed the Unesco World Heritage Site does not reflect Indian Hindu culture.

“Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan wanted to wipe out Hindus. If these people are part of our history, then it is very sad and we will change this history,” Som had petitioned.

Earlier in September, Yogi Adityanath, controversial head monk of a famed Hindu temple and top elected official of Uttar Pradesh State where the Taj Mahal is located, suggested presenting copies of the Hindu religious book Bhagavad Gita to visiting foreign dignitaries instead of replicas of the Taj Mahal. The state government of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, had since deleted Taj Mahal from its official tourism booklet.

Commissioned in 1632, the Taj Mahal took 22 years to complete. Described by UNESCO as “the jewel of Muslim art in India” and hailed as “the tear-drop on the cheek of time” by the Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, Taj Mahal is India’s biggest tourist attraction with a record of an upward of three million visits every year.

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