As the Indian economy struggles and citizens struggle with abysmal levels of deprivation, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has ignited a crucial debate: should everyone hate the Taj Mahal?
Earlier in October, the Uttar Pradesh government excluded the 17th-century monument from Uttar Pradesh’s official tourism booklet. On Monday, Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Sangeet Som said the Taj Mahal had been built by traitors and should get no place in history. Rather than censure him, the BJP backed up Som on this. Party spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao described the period of Muslim rule in India as “barbaric and a period of incomparable intolerance”.
Indian politics is now reaching back to history in order to further the politics of communalisation. However, the past is far more complex than the ruling party would make it out to be. Here are 13 reads that take a deeper dive into Mughal India.
- Taj controversy: Hindutva’s hatred for the monument of love betrays its extreme insecurities.
- What Aurangzeb did to preserve Hindu temples (and protect non-Muslim religious leaders).
- By comparing Akbar to Hitler, BJP shows there’s no place for even a ‘good’ Muslim in India’s history.
- Modern South Asia has conflated the labels of “Mughal” and “Muslim” but that wasn’t always so. Mughals and Sikhs might have fought bitterly – but that did not impact the inclusion of Muslim poets in the Guru Granth Sahib.
- Was Aurangzeb the most evil ruler India has ever had? Probably not. And here are five reasons why.
- Shivaji the great to Aurangzeb the terrible: We see in our kings what we want to see in ourselves.
- The Mughals used a variety of tools to cement their position as emperors of India. One of them was the Sanskrit language.
- In Mughal India, Holi was celebrated with the same exuberance as Eid.
- Hindutva wants to wipe out the Mughals from Indian history. But will that mean the erasure of Rahim, the famous Braj poet who, as it so happens, was also a powerful Mughal noble?
- As one of the richest empires in the world, the Mughal system cultivated the arts. So much so that good literary taste was a necessary job qualification to be a Mughal bureaucrat.
- The Taimur controversy illustrates Hindutva’s self-inflicted neurosis regarding Islamic history.
- Mughal emperor Akbar displayed syncretism at a time when the rest of the world was mired in the Dark Ages – so much so that Easter celebrations were a big deal in the Mughal court.
- Audrey Truschke’s “Aurangzeb” engages with (and demolishes) WhatsApp history