Following the agenda that led to the demolition of the Babri Masjid 30 years ago, the Hindu extremist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) persists in making false claims about historical Muslim heritage sites in India, most recently the majestic Taj Mahal, for its purported origins in early Hindu rule.
A BJP politician, in a recent writ petition, demanded the formation of a fact-finding committee to examine the ‘true history’ of the Taj Mahal in order to proclaim the UNESCO World Heritage monument to be a Hindu temple.
In his plea, Rajneesh Singh, head of the BJP’s media relations in Ayodhya, north India, claimed that there was no “scientific proof” that Mughal emperor Shah Jahan constructed the Taj Mahal.
Though the effort was thwarted by the Indian court, BJP officials have repeatedly amplified unhistorical allegations that the monument is a Hindu shrine erected long before the time of Shah Jahan.
The Hindutva-led RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) is spreading a discourse in India against historical landmarks established by Muslim monarchs.
Under the BJP administration, the RSS’s right-wing Hindus are conducting a drive to change the names of towns and claim over 36,000 mosques throughout India by claiming they were constructed atop a temple. Aligarh, Deoband, Farrukhabad, Badaun, Sultanpur, Ferozabad, and Shahjahanpur are among the cities on the list. The UP administration has already renamed Faizabad Ayodhya and Allahabad Prayagraj.
Yogi Adityanath, Modi’s close adviser and the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, is driving the campaign to remove Muslim identity by altering the names of districts and villages having Muslim roots.
Vinay Katiyar, a BJP Rajya Sabha leader at the time, claimed in 2017 that the structure was a Shiva temple called ‘Tejo Mahalaya,’ which was “originally” erected by a Hindu monarch.
The latest Taj Mahal incident has resurrected the tragic destruction of the Babri mosque on 6 December 1992, as a dark chapter in history.
Given the precedent created by the Babri Masjid, it is quite possible that the judiciary under the Modi-led administration would rule in favor of Hindus.
Regrettably, the rest of the world has turned a blind eye to the mass atrocities committed by India’s Hindutva-driven BJP administration against Muslims and other minorities, necessitating a strong self-reflection at both the national and international levels.