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Recently, BJP MLA Sangeet Som claimed that the Taj Mahal is a ‘blot on Indian culture’ as it was ‘built by a tyrant’ and thus should be destroyed. Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath also made some controversial statements regarding the monument, saying that it was not part of Indian history as it was a Muslim structure.
In this video, Ali Khan Mahmudabad explores the role monuments play in the shaping of a country’s history. Historical structures symbolise the expression of patriotism, and when these structures are obliterated, the roots that tie a community to the country gets tarnished. The debate here is not ‘why you love your country, but about how you express that love’. Curbing the expression of love for one’s country leads to rootlessness, pushing the dream of a secular India further away from our grasp. The Taj Mahal is one such structure that roots Muslims to Indian culture, and even the discourse of such a monument being excluded from history threatens the fabric of patriotism Muslims have built over the past few centuries. Moreover, the Taj Mahal has been engrained in Indian heritage since its inception, and its removal has implications for the country at large, not just the Muslim community.
Ali Khan Mahmudabad is an Assistant Professor of Political Science and History at Ashoka University