New Delhi. The central government has decided to shift Taj Mahal to the national capital to celebrate 100 years of Delhi as the capital city of India. The master plan was approved in a cabinet meeting early this morning; the relocation work is slated to begin in February next year and is believed to conclude by the next birthday of Delhi. The move is aimed at boosting the image of the capital city as well as earning revenues from tourism.
“Tourist visits to Taj Mahal will go up many times if the monument is shifted to Delhi,” tourism minister Subodh Kant Sahay explained the rationale, “Last year US President Barack Obama had come to India but he couldn’t visit Taj Mahal as it was in Agra, away from Delhi. We have been working on this plan ever since.”
Mr. Sahay claimed that with Delhi completing 100 years, the government thought it an opportune moment to execute this pending task. He denied that there was anything “wrong” in the move.
“We have enough information to prove that Agra was chosen randomly by Shah Jahan. Neither Mumtaz Mahal was born nor did she die there. In fact, she was buried at Burhanpur in Madhya Pradesh, from where her body was exhumed at taken to Agra to be buried at Taj,” Sahay informed.
“And it’s not even so that Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal met for the first time at Agra. There is no emotional significance of Agra as far as the love story between Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal goes. If it was due to Yamuna River, then we have Yamuna flowing through Delhi as well and we will relocate Taj Mahal at Yamuna bank only! My point is, it was an administrative decision to make Taj Mahal at Agra,” he added.
Sahay therefore claimed that the government was merely reversing an administrative decision of a previous government of Delhi (led by Shah Jahan) by relocating Taj Mahal, and not hurting any sentiments as Taj Mahal will continue to exist as a monument of love and burial place of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal.
However, the announcement has been opposed by all the political parties in Uttar Pradesh, where Agra is located.
BSP has termed the move “anti-dalit”.
“Taj Mahal was not built by Shah Jahan, but it was built by those thousands of manual laborers, sculptors, and masons who were definitely dalits and poor. Rahul Gandhi has shown disrespect to them by ordering Taj Mahal to be shifted to Delhi, which will be done by big construction companies run by his foreign friends,” BSP leader and UP Chief Minister Mayawati alleged.
Samajwadi Party has termed the move an insult to the Muslims of India and vowed not to allow Taj Mahal to be shifted out of Agra, while BJP has claimed that the move by Congress was aimed at finishing the kirana shopkeepers and small businessmen in Agra, who were earning their livelihood through tourism in the city.
But it seems that Congress is in no mood to rollback this decision as it doesn’t involve Mamata Banjerjee. Party sources reveal that Congress has a plan ready to tackle all the major opposition forces in UP.
“Mayawati will be allowed to go ahead with her Taj Corridor project and develop real estate in and around the area. She can install a grand statue of herself where Taj existed to promote tourism. We believe it will be a fair deal,” a Congress source revealed.
Party has decided to offer Samajwadi Party a permanent gag on Amar Singh in lieu of their support on the decision, while Digvijay Singh has been asked to deal with BJP. Digvijay Singh is supposed to viciously attack claims that Taj Mahal was earlier a Hindu temple, which will lure BJP into opposing the existence of Taj Mahal at Agra in its current form.
Meanwhile common people at Agra are angry and confused over the whole issue.
“If Delhi takes away our resources for development at least they should compensate us for that. How about shifting Delhi Metro to Agra?” Ankur, a local resident argued.
“What the hell! This whole relocation process is going to be another scam. If there is anything in Agra that needs to be shifted to Delhi, it’s the mental asylum!” another local resident said on conditions of anonymity.