Taj Mahal at center of efforts to erase India’s Muslim heritage

By Zaid M. Belbagi
A member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Hindu nationalist party and the right-wing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is controversial. Now in the highest office of state, his government has doggedly pursued Hindu nationalist policies, seeking to tear apart India’s diverse cultural and religious fabric. The 17th-century architectural marvel of the Taj Majal has found itself at the center of these debates. Built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, questions over whether it is a tomb or a temple, its ownership, its cultural significance and its upkeep have contributed to the 400-year-old monument being dragged into court cases over some of these issues. To add fuel to the fire, Surendra Singh, a legislator from the ruling nationalist party, has declared that the great Moghal mausoleum — one of the seven wonders of the modern world — should be renamed after the Hindu deities Ram or Krishna. [More]

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