Home Menara English International Hardline Hindu nationalists campaign against Taj Mahal

Hardline Hindu nationalists campaign against Taj Mahal

Resentment over Muslim emperor building India’s most recognisable monument fuels campaign to push it to margins of history

Some members of India’s ruling Hindu rightwing party claim the Taj Mahal does not reflect Indian culture. Photograph: Pawan Sharma/AP

Times are tough for India’s monument to love. Air pollution is turning its marble surface yellow. Restoration work is obscuring its famous minarets. Tens of millions of tourists still flock to Agra each year, but numbers are reportedly waning.

Critics of the Taj Mahal are also growing increasingly bold. In past months, religious nationalists in the Hindu-majority country have stepped up a campaign to push the four-century-old Mughal monument to the margins of Indian history. One legislator recently kicked up a national storm when he labelled the tomb “a blot”.

Resentment at the fact the country’s most recognisable monument was built by a Muslim emperor has always existed on the fringes of the Hindu right. But those fringes have never been so powerful.

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The Guardian