NEW DELHI: A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) functionary has objected to restoration of 17th century palace —Sheesh Mahal — in north Delhi’s Shalimar Bagh, where sixth Mughal emperor Aurangzeb’s coronation took place in 1658.
Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor on Thursday wrote to Union Culture Minister Prahlad Singh Patel to review the decision and also suggested to rename the garden after Havildar Abdul Hamid, who was posthumously conferred India’s highest military decoration, Param Vir Chakra, for his actions during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965.
“Aurangzeb has been the most hated ruler in this country who forced lakhs of Hindus to convert to Islam and history holds him as the cruelest ruler. The people of the country irrespective of religion disapprove of Aurangzeb’s conduct. In view of his tainted record, New Delhi Municipal Council had renamed Aurangzeb Road as Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Road,” his letter said.
Kapoor also sent copies of his letter to Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, who is the local MP. Last year, following Baijal’s intervention, the redevelopment work of the site started in Shalimar Bagh. In August, the L-G directed all stakeholders to finish the project by December 2020 for which a committee was constituted with representatives from the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage, the Archaeological Survey of India, PWD and the police.
Kapoor’s letter further said that city residents had no objection to revamping the park and water bodies but people want it to be named after the country’s celebrated soldier Hamid.
“We the people of Delhi are strongly disturbed to know of this decision of the ASI to uplift a monument related to a cruel ruler Aurangzeb whose memory should not be celebrated. A small replica may be put on wall of depleted Sheesh Mahal (which should not be revamped) calling it the unfortunate site of Aurangzeb’s coronation,” he said.
Palace of mirrors
- Sheesh Mahal was commissioned by Shah Jahan’s wife, Akbarabadi Begum
- The surrounding garden consisted of fruit orchards