Days after the state government left out Taj Mahal from a tourism department booklet, BJP MLA Sangeet Som on Sunday questioned Taj Mahal’s place in history, distorting historical facts to say that it was built by an emperor who imprisoned his father and targeted Hindus. In fact, Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, who built the Taj Mahal in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal, was the one who was imprisoned till the end of his days by his son Aurangzeb. Speaking at an event in Sisauli area of Meerut on Sunday, Som said: “Bahut logon ko bada dard hua ki Agra ka Taj Mahal aitihasik sthalon se nikaal diya gaya… kaisa itihaas… kahan ka itihaas… kaun sa itihaas… kya woh itihaas… ki Taj Mahal ko banane wale ne apne baap ko qaid kiya tha… kya woh itihaas ki Taj Mahal banane wale ne Uttar Pradesh aur Hindustan se sabhi Hinduon ka sarvanash karne ka kaam kiya tha… aise logon ko agar aaj bhi itihaas me naam hoga to yeh durbhagya ki baat hai… aur main guarantee ke saath aapse kehta hun ki itihaas badla jayega (Many people were pained to see that the Taj Mahal had been removed from the list of historical places… what history… which history… the person who made Taj Mahal imprisoned his father… he targeted all the Hindus of Uttar Pradesh and India… if these people still find place in history, then it is very unfortunate… I guarantee that history will be changed).”
A video of his speech is being circulated on social media. “Pichhle bahut salon mein Hindustan aur Uttar Pradesh me itihaas bigadne ka kaam kiya gaya hai… aaj Hindustan aur UP ke sarkar uss itihaas ko sahi raaste par le jaane ka kaam kar rahi hain… Bhagwan Ramchandra se le kar, Krishna se le kar, Maharana Pratap ka itihaas, Shivaji Rao ka itihaas, aaj kitabon me laane ka kaam kar rahin hai… aur kalank katha jo kitabon me likhi gai hai… chahe Akbar ho, chahe Aurangzeb ho, ya Babur ho… unke itihaas ko nikalna ka kaam kar rahi hai sarkar (In the past few years, there have been attempts to distort history in India and Uttar Pradesh… today, the governments of India and UP are working to bring that history on the correct path… from the history of Ram to Krishna, Maharana Pratap to Shivaji Rao, they are trying to incorporate them in the text books… and the blots which are in our books, be it of Akbar, Aurangzeb, Babur… the government is working to remove them from history),” said Som. Som was not available for comment.
When contacted, state BJP spokesperson Chandra Mohan said: “It is his personal remark. BJP disagrees with his comment. BJP government in Uttar Pradesh is committed to the development of historical heritage monuments, including the Taj Mahal, and work has already started in this direction.” BJP national spokesperson GVL Rao disagreed with Som, but said nobody could gloss over the fact that Islamic rule in the country was a period of extreme exploitation and intolerance. “As a party, we do not have a view on any individual monuments. But, broadly speaking, the period of Islamic rule was a period of extreme exploitation, insane barbarism and unprecedented intolerance to the other faith. If anyone tries to gloss over these facts, it will be actually distorting history. It is well documented by historians of world stature,” Rao told The Indian Express.