‘Mughal museum’ to now hold Braj artifacts | India News – Times of India

AGRA: The museum in Agra originally planned to showcase the city’s Mughal culture, now renamed after Maratha warrior-king Shivaji, will also undergo a “conceptual change”.
Additional chief secretary, UP, Awanish Awasthi told TOI on Tuesday “the museum will be dedicated to what is Indian, the Braj culture, tradition and heritage”. This comes a day after CM Yogi Adityanath said the original name, Mughal Museum, was a display of “servility” because Mughals “can’t be our heroes.” So, the CM had said, the museum would instead be named after 17th-century Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji, who had engaged for 27 years in wars against the Mughals.
Work on the museum, coming up near the eastern gate of the Taj Mahal, had started in 2016 with a 2017 completion target. “The idea was to introduce tourists to the grand Mughal era of the city. In a creatively crafted space, Mughal history and architecture would be on display … Historians and scholars were to be brought on the committee to ensure accuracy,” Alok Ranjan, former chief secretary who was part of the project when its foundation was laid by then chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, told TOI.
The decision to change what the museum will showcase has surprised historians. “Mughals were in Hindustan 150 years before Taj was built. All monuments in Agra were built by them. The history of the city is the history of Mughals,” historian and professor emeritus at Aligarh Muslim University Irfan Habib told TOI. “I don’t have an opinion on what the museum should be called but this is wrong.”
Other academics said they were shocked. “It’s shocking to learn that a museum in a Mughal city will be named after Shivaji. There is no connection except that he was imprisoned in 1666 in the haveli of Ram Singh, son of Mirza Raja Jai Singh, who had defeated Shivaji and forced him to surrender. Later, he escaped from Agra,” said Prof M Pundhir from AMU’s history department.
Former chairperson of the department, Prof Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi, added, “Braj is a region devoted to the cult of Krishna and Chaitanya, it has no link with Shivaji … It is general consensus that museums near monuments reflect the culture of the latter. They could build another museum away from Mughal monuments for Braj culture. Tourists come to Agra to see Mughal architecture. When they want to soak in Braj culture, they go to Mathura. A city’s history cannot be kept aside.”
For now, though, work on the structure is stalled. “About 75% of the project is complete…the exhibition design plan has been initiated,” a representative of Noida-based architectural firm Studio Archohm said. The firm is collaborating with UK-based architect David Chipperfield’s Berlin office for the project.


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