Seeking to limit the damage following BJP MLA Sangeet Singh Som’s controversial remarks on the Taj Mahal, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said on Tuesday that the monument was built “by the sweat and tears” of India’s sons and labourers. Stating that his government would fulfill its duty towards conservation of the “important” monument, Adityanath announced that he would visit Agra on October 26 to review the development projects in and around the Taj Mahal. He is likely to visit Agra Fort too. “Humme iski tah mein jaane ke avashyakta nahin ki Taj Mahal kyun bana… kya, kisne banaya… kis uddesya ke bhale banaya ho… Mahatvapurna yeh hai ki Taj Mahal Bharat ki majdooron ke… Bharat Mata ke saputon ki khoon-paseene ki kamai se bana hua hai (It is not necessary to go into why Taj Mahal was built, who built it, and for what purpose… What is important is that Taj Mahal was built by the blood and sweat of India’s labourers and sons),” said Adityanath, speaking to reporters at an event in Gorakhpur.
Stating that the Taj Mahal is famous the world over for its architecture, he added: “Uska sanrakshan, uska samvardhan paryatan ki drishti se usko badhawa dena, aur wahan par aane wale paryatako ki suvidha aur suraksha ka dayitva Uttar Pardesh sarkar ka hai… hum log uska nirvahan karenge (Its conservation, promotion for development of tourism, and providing protection and facilities for tourists who visit the monument is the Uttar Pradesh government’s responsibility… we will fulfill our duty).” According to a PTI report, Governor Ram Naik also weighed in with his views on the monument. “The Taj is one of the wonders of the world and the pride of our country. So don’t drag it into controversies and play politics over it,” he was quoted as saying, on the sidelines of the convocation of the Chatrapati Sahuji Maharaj University in Kanpur. Speaking at an event in Sisauli area of Meerut on Sunday, Som had questioned the Taj Mahal’s place in history and said his party’s governments at the Centre and state were working to erase the “blot” (kalank katha) of Akbar, Aurangzeb and Babur from history books.
His remarks came days after the Uttar Pradesh government omitted Taj Mahal from a tourism department booklet. Meanwhile, Adityanath announced today that a detailed project report of Rs 370 crore has been prepared for the development of Agra. He said he would inspect the sites of the proposed works during his visit to Agra later this month. Stating that the Taj Mahal is built on “wooden slippers”, he said: “These slippers have shrunk because of the decrease in the flow of Yamuna. A work plan to develop a rubber dam and a riverfront for promotion of tourism, and a pathway connecting (Agra) Fort and Taj Mahal has been prepared,” he said.