In a first, Taj Mahotsav theme ‘centred around Lord Ram’

A controversy has erupted after it was announced that the theme for this year’s Taj Mahotsav will be centred around Lord Ram, rather than India’s Mughal heritage, reports

The organising committee, which has invited Governor Ram Naik and CM Yogi Adityanath to inaugurate the event, has said that the show would begin with a dance-based drama around Lord Ram, the website reports.

The Mahotsav will be held in Shilgram from 18 to 27 February.

Justifying the change of theme, BJP leader Vijay Shivhare said, “I want to ask opposition leaders, aren’t they Hindu? Don’t they take Lord Ram’s name when the wake-up? What better way to start a programme than by taking Lord Ram’s name?”

Considered a major departure from the tradition of highlighting Mughal culture at the festival, the event will be held between 18-27 February at Shilpgram.

Dismissing the allegations of saffronising the festival, deputy director of the state tourism department, Dinesh Kumar said the ‘Taj Mahotsav’ committee executes the themes chosen, according to the Times Now report.

“This year, ideas on themes were invited from the people of the city. The committee had received some 180-185 theme ideas from which the selection committee chose the ‘Dharohar’ theme,” the report quoted him as saying.

Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party spokesperson Ghanshyam Tiwari chastised the move and said the saffron party had failed to deliver its promises and was trying to divert people’s attention, the report stated.

This is not the first time the Taj Mahal has been at the centre of a controversy. In October last year, the central government chose not to name the historic monument in its first list of 14 heritage sites to be named under the ‘Adopt a Heritage’ scheme. The heritage sites were to be adopted by private companies in the tourism ministry’s idea, but the Taj Mahal was not one of them.

Subramanian Swamy earlier said that Shah Jahan “stole” the Taj Mahal from the king of Jaipur. “There is evidence on record that Shah Jahan forced the Raja-Maharajas of Jaipur to sell the land on which Taj Mahal is standing, and he gave them a compensation of forty villages, which is nothing compared to the property’s value,” he said.

BJP MP Vijay Katiyar went to the extent of refusing to even call it the Taj Mahal. “It is Tejo Mahal. Taj Mahal used to be a temple of Shankar. Shah Jahan then buried his wife there. Hindu kings had built the Tejo Mahal. It was so famous that Shah Jahan later captured it,” Katiyar said.

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