.........MUMBAI: Veteran writer-lyricist Javed Akhtar has lashed out at Uttar Pradesh BJP legislator Sangeet Som's "ignorance of history" for calling the Taj Mahal, the seventh wonder of the world, "a blot on Indian culture".
In a video which surfaced and went viral on social media on Wednesday, Som addressed a gathering where he called the Taj Mahal "a blot on Indian culture" and said "it was built by an emperor who wanted to finish off Hindus".
In response, Akhtar tweeted on Wednesday: " Sangeet Som's ignorance of history is really monumental. Will some one give him any history book that is taught in sixth standard. Dr Thomas Roe who had come during Jahangir's era wrote that an average Indian's standard of living is better than an average Englishman".
"What surprises me that those who hate Akbar have no problem with Clive those who hate Jahangir never mention Hastings. The real plunderers," he added. Considered one of the seven wonders of the world, the Taj attracts millions of Indian and foreign tourists every year.
In a move to end the controversy, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday, said: "We should not focus on Som's statement", in the clearest sign that his Bharatiya Janata Party government in Uttar Pradesh was distancing itself from the MLA's controversial remarks. Adityanath said the Taj was important for the Uttar Pradesh government, specially "from the tourism perspective" and "it is our priority to provide facilities and safety to tourists there".
Adityanath is scheduled to visit the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri and other important monuments in Agra on October 26, an official told IANS.