Soon after the Uttar Pradesh government courted controversy by leaving the Taj Mahal out of a state tourism booklet, BJP MLA Sangeet Som stirred a fresh debate by saying the Mughal-era mausoleum was built by ‘traitors’, and should find no place in Indian history.
Many people were disappointed that the Taj Mahal was removed from UP tourism booklet. What history are we talking about? The creator of Taj Mahal (Shahjahan) imprisoned his father. He wanted to wipe out Hindus. If these people are part of our history, then it is very sad and we will change this history.
During a visit to Meerut district, the legislator from Sardhana said the Taj Mahal was built by an emperor who had imprisoned his own father and had targeted many Hindus in his kingdom. Whereas in fact, Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal in memory of his wife and was imprisoned till the end of his days by his son Aurangzeb.
The lives and achievement of the "real great men" of the country like Maharana Pratap and Shivaji would be taught in schools and colleges, Som said.
There were many Hindu kings in the past who do not have a mention in history books. The BJP government would make sure that their valour and sacrifice is properly respected.Sangeet Som, BJP MLA
Som also said no one can now stop the construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya and Krishna Mandir in Mathura.
In another debate on News18, Som clarified to journalist Bhupen Chaubey that his remarks were not on Taj Mahal but on the creators of the monument. He told the channel that there is not enough discussion on the sweat of the labourers who built Taj Mahal, and people usually just obsess over its beauty. He further clarified to the channel that history should be retold correctly with fact and Taj Mahal should not become a part of our history.
The UP government, according to News18, has claimed these are Som’s own views, and not that of the state government.
Som’s comments have triggered a political war. All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen Party (AIMIM) president Asaduddin Owaisi took to Twitter to say “traitors also built the Red Fort”.
This is not the first time the Taj Mahal has been politicised. Earlier in 2017, UP CM Yogi Adityanath was in the news for saying that the Taj Mahal is not a reflection of Indian culture. He added that foreign dignitaries are now being gifted copies of the Gita and Ramayana by government officials, instead of replicas of the marble mausoleum.
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