Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Monumental Confusion

The crown jewel of India's tourist attractions & world heritage monument Taj Mahal is now a disputed property. According to this article in The Telegraph ;
The Taj Mahal was today declared Sunni Wakf property on the ground that it is the grave of a woman (Mumtaz Mahal) whose emperor husband (Shah Jahan) was a Sunni.
The irony is, Wakf board was asked by the Allahabad High Court to decide the ownership of the Taj and after due deliberations over the matter, proclaimed themselves to be the rightful owners of the monument. The Archeological Survey of India (ASI), who are the custodian of the Taj since 1920 and needless to mention, the sole beneficiary of the profit coming out of it; are unwilling to let go of it. To make things more complicated, in a rather hilarious way, a person claiming to be the direct descendent of Shah Jahan, has jumped into the fray to claim the ownership (and guess who has picked up the story? Of course, the doyen of gossip news stories, aka the Times Of India).

And you thought funny legal battles didn't happen in India ?

Well, why just three contestants for the ownership? Considering the magnitude and grandeur of The Taj, should not the legal battle for it be a little more spiced up with some additional contestants staking their claims? Here are my suggestions (serious pun intended).
  • Since the creator of Taj Mahal was the descendent of grand parents, one of whom had relinquished Islam (Emperor Akbar) and the other was a devout Hindu (Jodha Bai) - may be the Vishwa Hindu Parishad can make a claim for it? Are you listening, Mr Singhal?
  • Shah Jahan's great great grand father, Babur was born in a place which is in the modern day Uzbekistan. May be the Uzbek Government can also be a contender for ownership?
  • The chief calligrapher, during the construction of the Taj, was an Iranian. So may be Khomeini is also a prospective owner?
Enough of this crap !! Just let Taj Mahal be what it is and leave it in peace.

3 Comments:

Blogger Michael Higgins said...

Hi Deba
Interesting story.
Btw, what is Tamil Nadu's most famous site? I will be visiting there in December and would like to see as much as possible.

1:24 PM  
Blogger Deba said...

Michael,

Thanks for visiting my blog, I am indeed honoured. Good to know that you will be here in December, thats the best time one can come to this place. As per the best place to visit in Tamil Nadu, it would depend on the kind of place you are looking for. Some of the names that come to my mind (along with their speciality) are Kodai Kanal (Mountain Resort or Hill Station as we call it), Kanyakumari (Beach Resort), Madurai (Religious place - for the Hindus), Velankini (which has the biggest church in India), Mahabalipuram (if you are interested in Ancient Monuments - near Chennai), Okkinakal (near Salem - famous for the forest area & waterfalls), Pondichery (for Aurobindo Ashram & a nice blend of Indo-French culture). Please let me know if I can be of any other help, in providing information.

Thanks.
Deba

11:04 PM  
Blogger Michael Higgins said...

Hi Deba
Thanks for this information. I will look these places up and try to read about them. I visited Madurai and Mahabalipuram in 1995 - both very intersting.

4:08 AM  

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