Open rooms of Taj Mahal to check for Hindu idols, says plea in Allahabad High Court
The petitioner, a BJP member, argued that several Hindutva groups claim that the mausoleum is an old temple dedicated to the Hindu deity Shiva.
A petition has been filed in the Allahabad High Court seeking directions to the Archaeological Survey of India to open 20 rooms of the Taj Mahal in Agra to check for the possible presence of Hindu idols or scriptures, reported Bar and Bench on Saturday.
The petition has been filed by Rajneesh Singh, who is in charge of Bharatiya Janata Party’s media desk in Ayodhya.
Mughal king Shah Jahan had commissioned the construction of the Taj Mahal in 1632 and the project was finished in 1653. However, some Hindutva pseudo-historians have propounded the theory that the mausoleum pre-dated Shah Jahan and was built long before Muslim rule began in India.
“There is an old controversy related to the Taj Mahal,” said Rajneesh Singh’s counsel Advocate Rudra Vikram Singh, reported the Hindustan Times. “Around 20 rooms in Taj Mahal are locked and no one is allowed to enter. It is believed that in these rooms there are idols of Hindu gods and scriptures.”
The advocate said there is no harm in opening these rooms and setting these controversies to rest.
How the Taj Mahal became part of the campaign to erase India’s Muslim past
In the petition, the BJP member argued that several Hindutva groups claim that the Taj Mahal is an old temple dedicated to the Hindu deity Shiva and is known as the Tejo Mahalaya. The petition said that this theory is supported by many historians too.
These claims, the petition said, has led to a situation where Hindus and Muslims are fighting with each other and the controversy needs to be put to rest.
“It is said that Taj Mahal was named after the name of Shah Jahan’s wife Mumtaz Mahal,” the petition stated. “However in many books, the name of the wife of Shahjahan was described as Mumtaz-ul-Zamani not Mumtaj Mahal. Also the fact that the construction of a mausoleum takes 22 years for completion is beyond the reality and totally an absurdity.”
Rajneesh Singh claimed in the petition that King Paramardi Dev had built the Tejo Mahalaya temple palace in 1212 AD in the location where the Taj Mahal is currently located. He claimed that the temple was passed down to other rulers and in 1632, Shah Jahan annexed it from king Jai Singh and converted it into a memorial for his wife.
“It is respectfully submitted that since Taj Mahal is the ancient monument, and crores of money is being invested for the preservation of the monument, the correct and complete historical facts about the monument should be disclosed to the public,” the petition added.
The petition also sought setting aside provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958, and the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Declaration of National Importance) Act, 1951, under which the Taj Mahal, Fatehpur Sikri, Agra Fort, Itimad-ud-Daulah’s tomb were declared historical monuments, reported PTI.