The Supreme Court has expressed dismay at the damage wrought by the environment on the iconic Taj Mahal. The ivory white marble monument built in 1632 is being ravaged by devastating pollution and is turning into various hues like yellow, brown and green, depending on the scale of pollutants. No one seems to care. It’s only right that India’s highest court should now suggest that Indian and foreign experts be brought in to ensure that the monument is protected from further damage, and consider measures to restore it to its pristine glory. This is suggestive of the fact that the Archaeological Survey of India seems unable to take proper care of the landmark that is symbolic of India’s grand legacy from an earlier era of creative workmanship.
India may have been left a legacy of ancient landmarks in temples, mosques and churches, but the Taj Mahal is unique: a monument to the love Mughal emperor Shah Jahan felt for his favourite wife Mumtaz Mahal. The icon draws people from across the world with its magnetic craftsmanship in stone in the 17th century. It’s a national treasure beyond description and all the controversies whipped up by the current BJP government in Uttar Pradesh can’t take away a whit from the spectacular beauty of the mausoleum in marble. The nation can well afford to preserve and protect its precious legacy, it’s only a question of will. It may also not be a good idea to invite corporate sponsorship for this monument as has been proposed. It’s time to shed any reluctance and get down to keeping a legacy that is the pride of India.