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Was Mughal Era ‘Barbaric’? Pushpesh Pant Gives a Lesson in History

“The legacy of Muslim rule cannot be wiped out, it is ours,” says historian Pushpesh Pant.

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(This interview has been republished from The Quint’s archives in light of the Yogi Adityanath government’s decision to rename the under-construction Mughal Museum in Agra after Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, It was originally published in October 2017 to coincide with BJP MLA Sangeet Som’s statement on Taj Mahal.)

“This is not the first time the Taj Mahal has been denigrated. This will pass too,” says historian Pushpesh Pant, who seems confident that the storm that has been created around the iconic Mughal monument is really just empty clouds thundering.

Even as BJP MLA Sangeet Som calls the Taj Mahal a creation of ‘traitors’, and other members of the party (which currently runs the state that is home to the 17th century mausoleum), claim that it is really a Hindu temple, Pant reminds us what makes the Taj so iconic.

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Not only the Taj, but a lot else is the legacy of the Mughal rule too. Much of which, Pant points out, is intrinsic to ‘Indian culture’. From architecture, to cuisine, language, arts, clothing, and so much else that we owe to the Mughal era and centuries of Muslim rule before that.

What do we stand to lose if the legacy of Islamic rule is wiped out?

“It’s a ridiculous question,” says Pant. “It is not possible. The legacy cannot be wiped out. It is ours.”

Amidst the babbling of prime time television debates, and polarised opinions on social media, Pant reminds us of what is important, and what needs to be drowned out.

Video Editor: Mohd Irshad Alam

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