Taj Mahal issue: 'Loudmouth' Azam Khan should stop giving communal tinge to symbol of love

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Uttar Pradesh Minister Mohammed Azam Khan, who is known for giving insensitive statements, has once again kicked off a massive controversy by suggesting to give the Taj Mahal's control to the state's Wakf board. The Minister feels that Wakf board will utilise the revenue generated by the Taj, which draws tourists from all over the world, for the welfare of Muslims.

What did Azam Khan say?

The entire proceeds collected at the Taj Mahal should be handed over to the Waqf Board of UP, the state Waqf Minister told reporters.

Taj Mahal
The Minister said the Taj Mahal is a monument which has emotional relationship with the Muslim community and the proceeds collected from its visitors should be handed over to the Waqf Board. Otherwise it will tantamount to the Centre doing injustice to the Muslim community, added the foot-in-mouth SP leader. More than eight million people visit the 17th century Taj Mahal annually, irrespective of their religion.

Azam Khan draws criticism

The UP minister's Khan controversial remark has invited criticism from all quarters. People from all walks of life are slamming the controversial minister for his controversial remark. Everyone is of the view that Taj Mahal is a symbol of love and a national heritage it cannot be associated with any particular religion or community.

As per eminent journalist Shahid Siddiqui the UP minister is raking up a baseless issue and he has lost his mental balance.

In an interview to Niticentral Siddiqui said, "I wonder what has happened to Azam Khan? Instead of raising positive issues that will actually help in the development and prosperity of Muslims in UP. By raking such issues he is simply playing with the lives of Muslims. Taj Mahal doesn't belongs to a particular group or community. It belongs to the entire humanity, it is a symbol of love for all."

"Efforts must be made to save the Taj. Wakf already has land worth crores with it and it facing a lot of difficulty in managing them. It couldn't manage the upkeep of mosques falling under it's jurisdiction. Property worth crores with the Wakf board is lying pitiable conditions and god only knows what will happen, if Taj comes under the jurisdiction of Wakf," he added.

Even people of Agra and heritage lovers have also slammed the UP minister for his statement.

Ajmer-based Mughal historian R Nath told IANS, "The Taj is a climax of 5,000 years of Indian excellence. I am terribly saddened by the minister's statement."

Political leaders must prevent themselves from making such insensitive statements

Instead talking about the development and welfare of Muslims leaders like Azam Khan coming up with such insensitive remarks is just not acceptable. By associating the Taj issue with a particular community, Azam is simply trying to win their sympathy. Though, the community didn't show their allegiance with his parties in recent Lok Sabha polls.

The UP Minister's logic behind handing over Taj to the Wakf is that being a Muslim tomb, it must be controlled by a Muslim body. Such a move is not feasible in a country like India which has numerous historical sites belonging to various religions.

Azam is known for his loud mouth behaviour and putting entire state machinery on tenterhooks just to search his buffaloes. Instead of advocating about the welfare of Muslims he has never worked for their development.

Statements like these must simply be considered as publicity stunts for it gives them a chance to remain in news. He must be reminded that upkeep of historical monuments in the country is being done by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI), an government organisation that falls under the Ministry of Culture.

The ASI also maintains these sites and the revenue generated by these tourist spots is utilised for their upkeep. The ASI even carried out other excavation works in other parts of the country. Hence, there is no need to put the Taj or any other historical site into other bodies.

A move like this would trigger similar demands from other groups for handing over the control of other historical sites to respective religious groups. Say, Hindus bodies will demand control of all Hindu sites falling under ASI and so on. This instead of bringing two communities together will widen the gap among people. And this will be against India's Constitutional ethos. Also, the governments are already working for the welfare of people of every section of society. Hence, there is no need for Taj or any other historical sites to generate revenues for the well being of people.

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