The article was supposed to be all about beautiful pictures of Taj Mahal. The ones that you and I studied in our history textbooks. But, just as I decided to throw the historical context, benefits, facts, and myths attached to this place out of the window of a 10-storey building where I happen to work, I began to wonder about the ways we have tried to tamper, hamper and pamper (not literally) this piece of art.
India flaunts Taj Mahal the way my mother flaunts my achievements in front of Pummy Aunty. But, is it taking us anywhere? I want us to go chapter by chapter and realise how far we have come as millennials and how we have started exploiting this monument that is deemed to be the 'Symbol Of Love'.
When in London, shoot at Big Ben.
Paris: Eiffel Tower
India: Taj Mahal
Voila, you know what I mean.
We are so obsessed with glamour and glorification that we use our national monuments to attract people and audiences.
Last year, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath visited Taj Mahal on October 26. He was accompanied by 500 BJP members who 'apparently' visited the monument to promote the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Why do you think his visit might be a big deal? Well, the next chapter unveils it.
Subsequently, a BJP MLA Sangeet Som called Taj Mahal a 'blot on Indian history', and BJP MP Vinay Katiyar said it was originally a Shiva temple. I pity people who still feel that this deserves some attention.
Be it a Hindu temple or an art constructed by a Mughal emperor; the fact that we are able to enjoy the perks and respect that Taj Mahal is getting should be enough. Shouldn't it be?
People like BJP MLA Sangeet Som are so busy getting all their facts checked that they tend to confuse Shah Jahan with Aurangzeb and say that the builder of Taj Mahal imprisoned his father, targeting Hindus of Uttar Pradesh. He said such people should not find a place in history.
To add more, Oak, an Indian writer proposed a theory that Taj Mahal was a Hindu palace that the evil Mughals converted into a place of their own, with Hindu artifacts still hidden in the structure's sealed basement.
I mean, seriously? Why are we fighting like mad siblings?
Sangeet Som's knowledge of history was bleak, and hence this further resulted in Taj Mahal's removal from the UP tourism booklet. It happened despite the fact that Taj Mahal is a major contributor to revenue of all the historical monuments. Later, UP government claimed the booklet was meant to highlight those monuments around which new schemes had been launched.
As the controversies kept on surging, Taj kept on enduring multiple hardships. In fact, as per Daily Times, the government had reduced the funds that were required to ensure the smooth functioning of the monument. The number of foreign tourists has gone down by 35%, and that's how we play the game of 'Atithi Devo Bhava'.
Taj Mahal is one of the seven wonders of the world, and that makes it a popular monument, but exploiters, politicians who try to find their way out in every situation consider it a way of minting money and declare it a place that must be disowned. In fact, some have even gone to the extent of quoting that Taj Mahal is creating a religious divide between Hindus and Muslims in the country.
Recent reports have claimed that the monument which expects nearly about 3.5 million visitors a year will have a limit of accepting only 40,000 people a day. Also, a three-hour halt will be there on each ticket holder.