LUCKNOW: The announcement by UP CM Yogi Adityanath that the under-construction Mughal Museum in Agra would be renamed after Maratha icon Chhatrapati Shivaji has, on the one hand, ruffled many feathers in the opposition camp in Uttar Pradesh and, on the other, got support from former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis.
Announcing the decision late on Monday night while reviewing the progress of development projects in Agra division, CM Yogi put his ‘nationalist’ foot forward claiming his government had always promoted nationalism and that 'Mughals cannot be our heroes'.
Emphasising that the state could not have any symbol of slavery, the CM stressed on the need for moving towards revival of nationalist pride and away from the mindset of servitude. CM Yogi took to Twitter after the announcement and said: “The under construction museum in Agra will now be known as Shivaji museum. In your new Uttar Pradesh, there is no place for the symbols reflecting the mindset of servitude. Shivaji is hero for all of us. Jai Hind, Jai Bharat.”
The CM said that the very reference of Shivaji would instil a feeling of nationalism and self-esteem.
Former CM of Maharshtra and BJP leader Devendra Fadanavis has reacted to the CM Yogi’s tweet by putting his quote: ‘Jai Jijaoo, Jai Shivrai. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj ki Jai.”
But why Shivaji?
As per historians, Shivaji had a special connection with the city of the Taj. It is here that the Maratha warrior was held virtually captive by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb who had invited him to be a part of his 50th birthday celebration. However, Aurangzeb could not keep Shivaji captive for long and the Maratha warrior escaped hiding in a basket of sweets.
In fact, the proposal to build a museum showcasing Mughal history and artefacts was conceived under the Akhilesh Yadav-led SP government in 2015 and work on it started a year later. The project is coming up near the eastern gate of the Taj Mahal covering around 52 square metres.
The project had to be completed in 2017 but got delayed due to multiple reasons. The UP government had allocated Rs 20 crore for the museum in its 2019 budget. Design Studio Archohm is collaborating with David Chipperfield Architects for the project.
Meanwhile, the CM’s announcement gave ammo to opposition in the state which took a dig at the government over the issue. While the Samajwadi Party claimed that the CM had been busy changing names instead of focusing on development work for the past three years, the Congress called it another hogwash.
The SP attacked the incumbent government saying the BJP just knew the politics of caste and religion and had done zero development in the state. “They can’t name even one hospital, university or employment that they have given to people,” Samajwadi Party spokesperson Anurag Bhadauria said.
Attacking the government, Congress spokesman Anshu Awasthi claimed that the BJP might use the name of Chhatrapati Shivaji for its petty politics but it could not walk in the footsteps of the great Maratha warrior. “His legacy was taken forward by the Congress. The mother group of BJP which is RSS is known for helping the Britishers and their heroes like Savarkar apologised to Britishers who also tried to weaken the fight for freedom by bringing in the communal angle,” said the UP Congress spokesman.