Rajya Sabha

December 12, 2014

Nadimul Haque speaks on the Taj Mahal controversy | Transcript

Nadimul Haque speaks on the Taj Mahal controversy | Transcript

Sir, there is a controversy regarding the property rights of the Taj Mahal. It was declared a monument of national importance by the Archaeological Survey of India under the provisions of the Ancient Monuments, Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1951.

Sir, subsequently, UNESCO declared it a World Heritage site. Now Sir, a controversy has been triggered by the demand that the Taj Mahal should be handed over to UP Sunni Waqf Board, which manages Muslim places of worship and burial grounds.

Sir, certain members of the Hindu community countered the demand by saying that Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan purchased part of Tejo Mahalay’s temple land from Raja Jai Singh and claim that documents prove it still exists.

Sir, there is also a rift between the Shia and Sunni communities. Mumtaz Mahal, the Mughal queen, who is interred in this monument, was a Shia Muslim while her husband, Emperor Shah Jahan, who is also interred here, was a devout Sunni Muslim.

The Taj Mahal, Sir, is maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India. It should not be made a part of any controversy as this will affect the flow of tourists to the city of the Taj, that is, Agra. Sir, the Taj Mahal is one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. It is a prime tourist attraction, and attracts the most number of foreign tourists to India.

Sir, we urge the Government through you to immediate take necessary action to resolve all the controversies so that the issue may not divide communities and thus create communal problems.

Sir, Shakeel Badayuni, in an Urdu couplet, has said, ‘Ek shahenshah ne banwakar haseen Taj Mahal/ Saare duniya ko mohabbat ki nishani di hai.’

I end with saying this: that the character and status of the Taj Mahal must not be disturbed under any circumstance, no matter who says what.