New Delhi: The Central Information Commission has asked the Union culture ministry to respond to an RTI plea on whether the Taj Mahal is a mausoleum built by Shahjahan or a Shiva temple gifted to the Mughal emperor by a Rajput king.
The question – forwarded as an alternative narrative of history and the subject of various court cases – which reached the CIC through an RTI plea is now at the culture ministry’s door.
In a recent order, information commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu said the ministry should put to rest the controversy and clarify doubts about the history of the white marbled mausoleum, considered one of the wonders of the world.
Mr Acharyulu recommended the ministry give information on its stand on the cases related to the provenance of the Taj Mahal, and on the frequent claims based on historian P.N. Oak and advocate Yogesh Saxena’s writings.
He noted that some cases in courts, including the Supreme Court, were dismissed while some were pending.
Mr Acharyulu said the Archaeological Survey of India, being a party in some cases, must be holding the counters (affidavits) filed on its behalf and by the culture ministry. “The commission directs the ASI to share those copies with the appellant before August 30, 2017,” he said.
The CIC was pulled into the debate after an applicant, B.K.S.R. Ayyangar, approached the ASI through an RTI application asking whether the monument in Agra was the Taj Mahal or ‘Tejo Mahalaya’.
“Many people stating that Taj Mahal is actually Tejo Mahalaya: that this was not constructed by Shahjahan, but was gifted by Raja Maan Singh; hence give the facts as per ASI reports,” he asked.