Taj and bigotry

Indian Express: The Taj Mahal is easily the most recognisable icon of modern India. The monument is a cash cow for the state, drawing millions of visitors and bringing in crores of rupees annually. It has been a World Heritage Site for decades and is frequently listed as among the Seven Wonders of the World. Many people around the globe know nothing about India except that it is home to the Taj Mahal. Among those who cannot make it to Agra, many still try to glimpse something of the Taj’s spectacular beauty, and the site has emerged as a favourite on Google Street View in recent years.

Given the illustrious reputation of the Taj Mahal and the widespread perception that it is deeply linked with Indian culture, many have been surprised at the BJP’s attacks on the monument in recent months. Yogi Adityanath’s government deleted the Taj Mahal from a UP tourism booklet earlier this month. A few days ago, Sangeet Som, a lawmaker in Uttar Pradesh, maligned the building as a “blot on Indian culture” that was built by “traitors.” Such actions and comments are part of a growing rejection of Mughal heritage in India. In the past year, numerous BJP politicians have derided the Mughals as “foreign invaders” and promised to change Indian history to deemphasise …..

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