Application asked Whether monument in Agra was Taj Mahal or “Tejo Mahalaya” built by a Rajput King.
Central Information Commission has directed Union Culture Ministry to clarify its stand on whether Taj Mahal is a mausoleum built by the Shah Jahan or a Shiva temple gifted to Mughal emperor by a Rajput king.
The question, forwarded as an alternative narrative of the history by some claiming to be the historians and subject of various court cases, reached CIC through an RTI plea and is now at Culture Ministry’s door.
In a recent order, Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu stated that Ministry should put to rest controversy and clarify doubts about history of white marbled mausoleum, considered one of wonders of the world.
Acharyulu further added that ASI, being a party in some of the cases, must be holding counters (affidavits) filed on its behalf and by Culture Ministry.
He said that,”Commission directs Archaeological Survey of India to share those copies with Appellant at the Additional Fee constituting cost of copying, before August 30, 2017,” he said.
CIC was pulled into debate after an applicant, B K S R Ayyangar, approached ASI through the RTI application asking Whether monument in Agra was the Taj Mahal or “Tejo Mahalaya”.
The RTI states that, “Many people stating that Taj Mahal is not Taj Mahal and it is Tejo Mahalaya: that this was not constructed by the Shahjahan, but was gifted by Raja Maan Singh; hence give facts as per ASI reports-details with the evidences”.
ASI had told him that no such record was available with it.
Among the other records, Ayyangar has also demanded the “construction details” of 17th century monument, including its rooms, hidden rooms and rooms closed to him citing the security reasons. Acharyulu noted what he expected from his RTI application was the research and investigation into history of Taj Mahal, which is beyond purview of RTI Act and ASI.
Acharyulu adds that,”It is unreasonable to ask for the opening of closed rooms, bringing out the hidden things, and for excavations underneath the protected monument of Taj Mahal and rewriting the history under an RTI application,” he said.
“Before Taj Mahal was declared as such the protected monument, people should have filed their objections. Those who wanted Taj Mahal to be declared as the Tejo Mahalaya should have filed objections,” he added in his order.
Oak has written a book “Taj Mahal: The True Story”, arguing that the Taj Mahal was originally a Shiva temple built by a Rajput King which was adopted by the Shahjahan.