THE GREAT BRITISH CONSPIRACY
By V.S. Godbole
Prof.P.N.Oak of New Delhi, put forward a theory in 1965 that the Taj Mahal was not a mausoleum built by Shahjahan but a Rajput Palace. In 1968 he found a confession to that effect in Shahjahan's official chronicle Badshahnama and in 1974 he came across Au rangzeb's letter of 1652 [the year when Taj Mahal is supposed to have been just completed] complaining that Taj Mahal was leaking all over. In 1978 I read his extended book The Taj Mahal is a Temple Palace. Over the next two years I went through all th e references and was convinced of his assertion. My paper Taj Mahal- Simple Analysis of a Great Deception was appreciated by some prominent European scholars in 1980.
Dr V V Bedekar of Thane [India] started a historical quarterly named itihas patrika in March 1982. He published my paper on Taj Mahal in the first issue of the quarterly. He also published my extended paper as a booklet in March 1986.
In 1981 my research went deeper. I asked myself, " Were the British scholars just a third neutral party who were misled by the prolonged misuse of Hindu buildings as Mosques and Tombs and were not cunning enough to see through chauvinistic Muslim claims ?
Or did they know the truth about Taj Mahal and other monuments all along but had, for political reasons, vowed to hide the truth ? "
By the end of 1981 I prepared an eighty page dossier on the subject. When I placed the information in a chronological order I was surprised at my findings. There was a British conspiracy of suppression of truth about Taj Mahal and other monuments over the last 200 years. The main personalities involved either knew each other and/or referred to works of each other. As the time passed by new information came to light which confirmed my findings. Some important, contemporary events were added to give the rea ders a better picture of the times. These may be ignored if reader is not familiar with them.
The Chronology was serialised in the itihas patrika during September 1983 and September 1985. It is now being made available as a thesis, with some modifications and additions to the original series.
My Architect friends M/s Paithankar and Pradhan suggested improvements to presentation and checked my typing meticulously. My wife Mrs Vinita and my daughters Vaidehi and Varsha supported me throughout. Dr Bedekar has made this publication possible. I am grateful to them all.
14 Turnberry Walk
Bedford, MK 41 8 AZ
10 January 1994
|1784 to 1853 : Rise of the British Power in India|
|1854 to 1875 : Aftermath of the Indian War of Independence|
|1876 to 1885 : Rise of Lokamanya Tilak|
|1886 to 1906 : High noon of the British Raj|
|1907 to 1921 : Age of Revolutionaries and Civil Disobedience|
|1922 to 1948 : India wins freedom|
|1949 to 1984 : Post Indian Independence|
|1784 to 1984 : Two hundred years in retrospect|
|The Great British Conspiracy|
- On 15 January, Asiatic Society of Bengal was founded in Calcutta by 30 officers of the East India Company. Sir William Jones was the President for first ten years.
- Charles Wilkins translates Bhagvad Geeta into English.
- Thomas Daniell and his nephew William Daniell, two English painters visited India at the request of the East India Company. They made several paintings and sketches of various scenes of daily life in India and of objects of interest such as temples. They visited Taj Mahal in January 1789. After visiting many other places they returned to England in 1794.
- Charles Wilkins translates Hitopadesha from Sanskrit into English.
- Lt-Col William Henry Sleeman was born. He is well known for his book Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official published in 1844.
- The French Revolution.
- Sir William Jones translates Shakuntala the famous drama by Kalidas, from Sanskrit into English. The Calcutta edition was followed by two London editions within the space of three years.
- November/December : Thomas Twining, an eighteen year old employee of the [English] East India Company visited Taj Mahal, Agra and Delhi. [Sir William Jones, the second Englishman who learnt Sanskrit, Mahadaji Shinde and Anandibai of Peshwa family die.]
- Thomas and William Daniell published Oriental Scenery - 24 views taken in 1789-90. Plate no. XVIII shows the principal gate leading to the Taje Mah'l. The description reads, " The Taje Mah'l is a mausoleum of white marble built by the Emperor Shahjehan in the year 1631, for his favourite Queen [but no name is given].....The Emperor also lies interred here "
- The book Oriental Scenery contained only two minor views of Taj Mahal. Daniells were probably criticised for not showing the mausoleum in greater detail. They therefore published two good views and a plan of Taj Mahal in the booklet Views of the Taje Mahe l at the city of Agra in Hindoostan taken in 1789. The plan shows minute details of the Taj complex and the Tajganj market on the south side of Taj. The main question is - who prepared it ? Daniells were painters and had neither the time nor skills for pr eparing the plan. It has been drawn to a scale which seems to be 5 1/2 inches to 1000 foot [R.F 1/2185]
On the plan Daniells name various structures. They also give the following information :
River Jumna 500 Guz in width. A Guz is 2 ft 9 inches. The breadth of the river is not in proportion to the Scale.
A marble platform 19 ft high on which is erected the Taje Mahel.
The so called Jawab is described as " A building corresponding in general form with the Mosque." The word Jawab is not used. In the booklet accompanying the plan we find :
- p 3 " This majestic edifice stands on the Southern bank of the River Jumna, and was erected by the Emperor Shah Jahan as a Mausoleum for his favourite wife Mumtaza Zamani. ..... Stretched on an immense basement 40 feet high and 900 in length. ...."
p 4 " ... the dimensions of which ( i.e. whole complex ) are about 3000 feet in length, and 900 in width, and its whole area is enclosed by a strong wall."
p 5 " ... The building on the right with three marble domes is a Mosque; the one on the left, though similar in its general form, differs in its internal arrangement and decorations, having been appropriated to the accommodation of visitors of distinction ..."
p 7 " This Mausoleum was begun to be built in the fifth year of the Emperor Shah Jehan and the whole completed in sixteen years four months and twenty one days, at the expense of 9,815,426 Rupees 13 Annas 3 paisa. The Emperor it is said, intended also to have erected a Mausoleum of corresponding magnificence for himself on the opposite side of the river, which is more than a quarter of a mile wide, and to have connected them by a bridge of white marble. ..."
Historian Yadunath Sarkar tells us, "......Akbar made it a rule that the concubines of the Mughal Emperors shall be named after the places of their birth or the towns in which they were admitted to the harem. Hence, we have ladies surnamed Akbarabadi, Fat epuri, Aurangabadi and Udaipuri....." [Ref : Anecdotes of Aurangzeb and Other Historical Essays by Yadunath Sarkar, published by M.C.Sarkar & Sons, 1912, page 46]
About 150 ft north of the above two tombs, we see apartments for female attendants to Ladies of Rank and surrounding these apartments are several pawn [i.e. paan] bazars. [What is their purpose in a tomb ?]
- A treaty was signed at Bassein between the East India Company and the Maratha Peshwa Bajirao II.
The English capture Agra from Shinde [Scindia].
- James Fergusson, son of an Ayrshire doctor, and Sir Henry Miers Elliot were born. Fergusson became a pioneer of History of Architecture. Elliot became famous for his works History of India as told by its own historians.
- Sleeman arrives at Calcutta to join the Army of the East India Company.
- Captain Taylor of the East India Company carries out some repairs to Taj Mahal.
- The ninth edition of the English translation of Tavernier's Travels in India was published. [22nd edition of the original book in French was published in 1810].
The title of the first edition, published in 1677 is - The Six Voyages Through Turkey etc. In the first edition, in part II - Travels in India, Tavernier says on page 50, "....of all the Monuments that are to be seen at Agra, that of the Wife of Cha-jehan is the most magnificent; [Note : Tavernier does not give her name.] He caus'd it to be set up on purpose near the Tasimacan, to which all Strangers must come, [so] that they should admire it. [Shahjahan, a grief-stricken emperor, wanted to make an exhibition of his sorrow !] The Tasimacan is a great Bazar, or Market-place, compos'd of six great Courts, all encompassed with Portico's; under which there are Warehouses for Merchants; and where there is a prodigious quantity of Calicuts vended. The Monument of this Begum, [ Who?] or Sultaness, stands on the East-side of the City upon the River-side, in a great place enclosed with Walls. .....You enter into this place through a large Portal: and presently upon the left hand you espy a fair Gallery, that looks towards Mecca ; wherein there are three or four Niches, wherein the Mufti comes at certain hours to pray....On the top there is a Cupola, little less magnificent than that of Val de Grace in Paris; it is cover'd within and without with black Marble, the middle being of Brick." [Note : Tavernier's information is quite correct. The dome is made up of 13 ft 6 inches or 4.12 metre thick brickwork, the marble is 6 inches or 150 mm thick and is used as a lining only.
- 1. Archaeological Survey of India Report for the year 1936-37, p 3
2. Report on Repairs to Taj Mahal, Agra by the Indian Water-proofing Company 1943, p 6]
" When you come to Agra from the Dehly, you meet a great Bazar; near to which there is a Garden, where the King Jehanguire, Father of Cha-jehan lies interr'd." [Note : This is utterly wrong. Jehangir died in October 1627 and is interred near Lahore, some 400 miles away. Tavernier was a French jewel merchant. He made seven voyages to India in the 17th century.]
- Memoir of the War in India by Major Thorn was published. He describes the Tauje Mahal on pages 197 to 203. He says, p 198 "......The ascent to the Tauje from the garden is by a noble flight of marble steps leading to an extensive terrace about 60 ft high and 400 ft square in the centre of which stands the mausoleum."
p 200 "....The tomb of the emperor has an inscription in Persian but that of his partner, has one in the Hindoostanee language."
p 202 ".....The door at the grand entrance was originally of jasper, but this valuable relic has been taken away by the barbarous Jauts, who also plundered the place of as many precious stones as they could easily pick out. .......This celebrated work whi ch was begun within a few months after the death of the sultana, took 11 years in building and as many more were occupied in adding to its ornaments." [i.e. it took 11+11 = 22 years as told by Tavernier.]
p 203 ".....the whole of which ( costly stones ) were placed under the direction of the most able artists and occupied the labour of 20000 persons. The mere expense of the workmanship amounted to no less than a sum of 96 lacs of rupee, about =A31 million. F or the protection of the place and to keep it in order, a company of artillery and a battalion of infantry were constantly kept on the spot. [All this for the protection of a mausoleum ? and that too of a beloved wife of a benevolent king ?]. .....It was the intention of Shah Jahan to have erected a similar structure for himself on the other side of the river opposite to the Tauje Mahal; and which was to have been joined to it by a magnificent bridge of marble; but though the ground was enclos ed, and some progress was made in the foundation of the building, the design was frustrated by the clouds of rebellion ......The name of the amiable woman was Arjummed Banoo which according to oriental usage was altered on her elevation [elevation to wha t ?] to that of Moorutaz Zumanee, signifying the paragon of the age, but afterwards this also was changed to Nourjehan or the light of the world." [Note : Nourjehan was the step mother of Shahjahan, not his wife.]
[Our comments : Major Thorn visited Taj Mahal in 1803-04 when the English captured Agra. He repeats all the information given in Tavernier's book, but does not say so. Almost all the visitors from this time onwards have done the same. The word Taj Mahal is mentioned for the first time in Major Thorn's book.]
British missionaries were allowed to spread Christianity in India under the rule of East India Company.
- Sleeman becomes a Lieutenant in Bengal Army.
Alexander Cunningham was born. He reached the rank of Major-General in the Army of the East India Company. He was in charge of the Archaeological Survey of India during 1860-65 and 1870-85.
- East India Company at war with Nepal.
- Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, the Muslim separatist was born.
History of India by James Mill was published.
- The English defeat Maratha Peshwa Bajirao II
- Max Muller was born in Dessau, Germany. He became a famous professor of Sanskrit at All Souls College, Oxford.
- First Anglo-Burmese War. Arakan and Tenasserim provinces were annexed by the East India Company.
- H.G.Keene, younger and Dadabhai Naoroji were born. Keene joined the Indian Civil Service in 1847. Naoroji was affectionately called The Grand Old Man of Indian Politics, by Indians.
December - Col. Hodgson of the Bengal Army arrives at Agra for measuring various dimensions of the Taj Mahal and other buildings and determine the relationship between the Guz and the Inch.
- Bernier's travels in the mogul empire was translated by Irving Brock. [ editions 1891 and 1914]. Bernier was a French Physician who travelled in India during 1659-67.
On page 272 we find A LETTER TO MONSIEUR DE LA MOTHE VAYER; AND DETAILS ILLUSTRATIVE OF THE GREAT MOGUL'S COURT AND OF THE MANNERS AND GENIUS OF THE PEOPLE OF INDIA. ( The letter extends to page 340 ) Written at Delhi the 1 st of July 1663.
Bernier says, pp 333/4 ".. The Dutch have a malt factory in Agra, in which they generally keep four or five persons.... I do not believe the Dutch will follow the example of the English and abandon their factory at Agra"
p 334 " I shall finish this letter with a description of the two wonderful mausoleums, which constitute the chief superiority of Agra over Delhi. One was erected by Jehan-Guire in honour of his father Acbar; and Shah-Jehan raised the other to the memory o f his wife Taje-Mahil, that extra-ordinary and celebrated beauty......"
p 336 " The last time I visited Taje Mahil's mausoleum I was in the company of a French merchant. ...."
p 337 " This walk or terrace is wide enough to admit six coaches abreast; it is paved with large and hard square stones, raised about eight French feet above the garden; and divided the whole length by a canal faced with hewn stone and ornamented with fou ntains placed at certain intervals."
" After advancing twenty-five or thirty paces on this terrace, it is worth while to turn round and view the back ..."
" Resuming the walk along the main terrace you see before you at a distance a large dome, in which is sepulchre and to the right and left of that dome on a lower surface you observe several garden walks covered with trees and many parterres full of flower s."
pp 337/8 " When at the end of the principal walk or terrace besides the dome that faces you, are discovered two large pavilions, one to the right, another to the left; both built with the same kind of stone, consequently of the same red colour as the firs t pavilion .... I shall not stop to speak of the interior ornaments of the two pavilions, because they scarcely differ in regard to the walls, ceiling, or pavement from the dome which I am going to describe. ... From the middle of this space you have a good view of the building which contain the tomb, and which we are now to examine."
p 338 " This building is a vast dome of white marble nearly of the same height as the Val De Grace of Paris and encircled by a number of turrets, also of white marble, descending the one below the other in regular succession. The whole fabric is supported by four great arches, three of which are quite open and the other closed up by the wall of apartment with a gallery attached to it. There the Koran is continually read with apparent devotion in respectful memory of Taje Mahil by certain moolahs kept in t he mausoleum for that purpose. The centre of every arch is adorned with white marble slabs whereon are inscribed large Arabian characters in black marble. ... Every where are seen the jasper and hyacinth and or jade, as well as other stones similar to those that enrich the walls of the Grand Duke's chapel at Florence, and several more of great value and rarity, set in an endless variety of modes. .... Even the squares of white and black marble which compose the pavement are inlaid with these precious stones in the most beautiful and delicate manner imaginable."
p 339 " Under the dome is a small chamber, wherein is enclosed the tomb of Taje-Mahil. It is opened with much ceremony once in a year and once only, and as no Christian is admitted within lest its sanctity should be profaned, I have not seen the interior, but I understand that nothing can be conceived more rich and magnificent."
p 340 " It only remains to draw your attention to a walk or terrace, nearly five and twenty paces in breadth and rather more in height, which runs from the dome to the extremity of the gardens. From this terrace are seen the Jumna flowing below a large ex panse of luxuriant gardens - a part of the city of Agra - the fortress - and all the fine residences of the omrahs erected on the banks of the river."
[Note: The book was first published in French in 1670, second edition in 1671. Four editions were published in Amsterdam between 1672 and 1710, five in Lay Haye between 1671 and 1725, one in Frankfurt in 1672-3, one in Milan in 1675. English translations were published in London in 1671, 1672, 1676 and 1684]
Sleeman was promoted to Captain.
- Narrative of a Journey Through the Upper Province of India by Rt.Rev.Reginald Heber; Lord Bishop of Calcutta, was published. In volume I pages 589-90 he tells us: " January 13, 1824....I went to see the celebrated Tage Mahal.....The surrounding garden, which as well as the Tage itself is kept in excellent order by Government ... The Tage contains, as usual a central hall in which enclosed within a screen of elaborate tracery are the tombs of Begum Noor-Jehan Shahjahan's beloved wife, to whom it was erected and by her side of the unfortunate Emperor himself.......The Jumna washes one side of the garden and there are some remains of a bridge, which was designed by Shahjahan with the intention, as the story goes, to build a second Tage of equal beauty for his own separate place of internment on the opposite side of the river.
Lord Bentinck was appointed Governor General of India (till 1835).
- Indians were allowed to join the Asiatic Society of Bengal.
- Taj Mahal was mentioned for the first time under AGRA in the 7th edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica [E.B.] The information on Taj Mahal as given in Bishop Heber's book of 1828 is repeated. [First edition of E.B. was published in 1768.]
- Taj Mahal was put on sale as a scrap by the Governor General Lord Bentinck. [News item in the newspaper John Bull of Calcutta of 26th July 1831]. The highest bid received was for 1.5 lakhs of rupees or about =A315,000 at 1831 prices.
- Journal of a Tour in India by Captain G.C.Mundy was published. He made some tours in India as an A.D.C. to Lord Combermere, Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army. He describes Taj Mahal on pages 54 to 57. He says :- " 8 January 1828.....In the evening we visited the far famed Taj, a mausoleum erected by the Great Emperor Shah Jahan over the remains of his favourite and beautiful wife Arjemund Banu or as she was surnamed Mumtaza Zemani" "......In many places the more valuable pebbles have been fraudently extracted, an act of sacrilegious brigandage imputed to the Jats who had possession of Agra for some time, and carried off to their capital Bhurtpore many of the extravagant bequest which Shah Jahan left to his favour ite city. Amongst other plunder they bore away, Sampson like, the brazen gates of the citadel of immense value which are supposed to be still buried in Bhurtpore, as we failed to discover them on our warlike visit to that fortress in 1826." [In other words, the English would have liked to take away those valuables themselves to England.]
" The dome of the Taj is about 250 ft high and is as well as the 4 minarets at the angles of terrace, entirely built of the most snowy marble. It was a work of 20 years and 14 days [Mundy invents these figures] and cost Shah Jahan the sum of 750,000 liv res and although it is said the king compelled his conquered foes [Who ?] to send marble and stone to the spot unpaid for. Had Shah Jahan lived long enough, he intended to erect a similar sepulchre for himself on the opposite bank of the river, and to c onnect the two buildings by a bridge " [Note : Livre was a French unit of money.]
On page 71 Mundy says, "...It is the custom among the Mohammedans to bury the body below and have two tombs in the story above."
- Tours in Upper India by Major Archer, late A.D.C. to Lord Combermere was published. In volume I he says :
- p 56 " .....January 7, 1828. Marched to Etimadpoor...... Agra is seen from this place.....The Taje looks well at this distance."
p 57 " January 8 ....Before crossing the river, visited a garden called the Rambaug, built by Noor Jehan the favourite wife of Shah Jehan."
p 59 "......Crossed the river Jumna by a bridge of boats ...On each side were fragments of fallen masonry, showing the ruins of a once vast and flourishing city."
p 60 "... Shah Jehan was the great patron of architecture of his time; the new town of Delhi and the Taje were also built by him."
p 69 "....Visited the Taje, the cemetery of Shah Jehan and his favourite wife Noor-Jehan (the light of the world)
- Christian missionaries from all over the world were allowed to spread Christianity in India under the rule of the East India Company.
- Macaulay arrives in India as the Law Member of the Governor General's Council (till 1838)
- - Coorg was annexed by the East India Company.
- English becomes the official language in India under the rule of the East India Company.
- James Fergusson the pioneer of History of Architecture arrives at Calcutta for his business activities.
- Fanny Parks visits Taj Mahal ( January ). She was wife of a British customs officer stationed at Prayag.
- Macaulay wrote to his mother on 12th October "... Our English Schools are flourishing wonderfully. In a single town of Hoogly, 1400 boys are learning English. The effect of this education is prodigious.....It is my firm belief that if our plan of educatio n is followed up, there would not be a single idolater in Bengal in 30 years hence......" [Ref : The Indian War of Independence 1857 by Veer Savarkar.]
Lt. Col. W.H. Sleeman visits Taj Mahal.
Alexander Cunningham works as an A.D.C. to Governor General Lord Aukland (till 1840 ).
- Queen Victoria comes to throne in Britain.
Cunningham carries out archaeological excavations at Sanchi.
During the famine relief work, the British authorities demolished the remains of old palaces upstream of Taj Mahal and even blasted out the foundation to construct Strand Road.
- James Fergusson visits various caves in India and makes sketches of the rock cut temples.
- Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Punjab dies. English were busy for next 10 years trying to capture his kingdom.
Photography was invented.
- James Fergusson was elected Member of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland.
- History of India by Mountstuart Elphinstone was published [Elphinstone was the Resident in Poona : 1811-1818, then Deccan Commissioner and later on Governor of Bombay : 1819-1827.] Taj Mahal is described on page 602. This book was later prescribed as a s tandard textbook for the examination of the ICS and in the universities in India.
- Justice M.G. Ranade, a moderate leader was born.
- Alexander Cunningham, Lieutenant in the Bengal Engineers, writes to Col Sykes, one of the Directors of the East India Company, "..... ( such explorations ) would be an undertaking of vast importance to the Indian Government politically, and to the British public religiously. To the first body it would show that India had generally been divided into numerous petty chiefships, which had invariably been the case upon every successful invasion; while, whenever she had been under one ruler, she had always repe lled foreign conquest with determined resolution. To the other body it would show that Brahmanism, instead of being an unchanged and unchangeable religion which had subsisted for ages, was of comparatively modern origin and had been constantly receiving a dditions and alterations; facts which prove that the establishment of the Christian religion in India must ultimately succeed..." [Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Volume VII of 1843. The letter was written from Aligarh on 15th September 1842 and read at the society on 3rd December 1842.
William Henry Sykes (1790-1872 ) served in India with the East India Company. He was elected to the Board of Directors of the company in 1840, became deputy chairman in 1855, chairman in 1856. Member of Parliament, President of Royal Asiatic Society, 1858].
Abu Imam, a Pakistani Muslim historian comments, "... Buddhism and its archaeology was therefore to be studied for the cause of promoting Christianity. For a systematic study of Buddhism, however, the first requisite was a survey at Government cost." [Alexander Cunningham and Indian Archaeology by Abu Imam, 1966. pp 40-41]
Archaeology is not therefore, the innocent looking diggings and preservation of old buildings. It does have political implications and as it remained in the hands of the British for too long, that created a havoc in India.
- Memoir on the length of the Illahee Guz or Imperial Land Measure of Hindostan, a paper by Col.J.A.Hodgson of Bengal Native Infantry, late Surveyor-General of India was published in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland. ( V olume VII of 1843 )
- On page 50 he says, ".....In Taj Mahal I also procured from the Darogha [ attendant], a Persian manuscript, compiled by him, purporting to give the dimensions of several parts of the Taj in the guz measure; I measured many parts mentioned, but they gave discordant results; and in my report to the government, I observed that these operations were of no value. The manuscript was evidently the fabrication of an impostor."
p 51 " .... Being, then, in possession of this valuable description of the imperial buildings at Agra, I went there in December 1825, ..... for the purpose of making measurements of the three buildings, and a plan of the Taj ( scale 40 ft to an inch ), wh ich was effected under my superintendence ..... My object, of course, was knowing from the Shah Jehan Nama the lengths of different parts of the buildings therein described, in the Illahee guz to find their length in English measure; and from the average of the whole to attempt to determine the length of the guz in inches and decimal parts."
pp 52/3 " ... This part is in the marble kursi or platform, in the centre of which the mausoleum stands, as will be seen in the plan. .... The height of the walls which supports the platform is 18 feet: they are cased with white marble, as is the entire m ausoleum, both inside and out."
p 54 Here, Hodgson gives measurements of various parts of Taj Mahal, including " square rooms at the four cardinal points " in the cenotaph.
p 56 c. Description of the Taj and Masjids referred to in page 51. " ...the mosque and its counterparts, the mihman-khana [i.e. guest house], as well as the six octagonal pavilions of four stories high, ... compose a most harmonious whole. Models of the mausoleum and its platform, and the four minarets, have been exhibited in England. .... It is known that it is entirely cas ed with white marble, within and without. ...."
".....It must be remembered that this is not a temple but a tomb....."
On pp 57-63 Hodgson gives some Extracts from the Shahjehan Nama, by Muhmmad Salah Kumbo.
pp 58/60 Remarks on the Mausoleum at Taj Ganj. (This means that Taj Ganj existed before the mausoleum)
" His Majesty, in the fifth year of his reign, thought upon causing to be erected the Rauzah, .....had it planned near the Jumna, which river runs to the north of it. Its foundation was laid from whence water springs, and architects built of stone and mor tar, making it strong and level with the bank; ..." [False. the red sandstone is used for lining only, the construction is of brick.]
" .... a pinnacle in height 15 guz, made of pure gold, which glitters like sun, has been fixed on its very summit. ..." [At the end of his paper Hodgson concludes that 1 guz = 31.456 inches. Therefore 15 Guz =39.32 ft]
" On the four cardinal points there are four square rooms of two floors, each is 6 dirra square, consisting of 4 seats, each of which 4 1/2 dirra long, a tanhasa before every square room, and a pesh-tak, 16 dirra long, and 25 in height. In the four corner s there are four octagonal rooms of three stories, the diameter of each 10 dirra, containing 8 nishemans, the uppermost story of these places being octagonal dalans or halls, with arched roofs; on the three sides of these houses are pesh-taks on the outsi de, each 7 dirra long, 4 ditto broad, and 10 ditto high."
" To the eastward of the mausoleum, opposite to the Masjid, a mihman khana has been constructed, in all respects similar to the Mosque, except that the peculiarity of the arch, and the darsan of the place of prayer is left out."
In a footnote, Hodgson says that the mihman khana was for the accommodation of visitors who pay their devotion at the opposite mosque.
p 61 " In the side of this market-place pleasant serais were constructed, each in length and breadth 160 guz, containing an inclosure of 160 cells. Further on another chauk 150 long by 100 broad occurs, in the midst of which a bazar, and two other serais near it are built, where a great variety of piece goods and different sorts of property from foreign countries are bought and sold; besides these buildings, a great number of merchants have erected numerous houses and habitations of pakka work, so much so that the place has become a large city, by name Moomtazabad. All these royal buildings had taken twelve years to finish under superintendence of Mukrumut Khan and Mir Abdul Karim, and their cost amounted to fifty lacs of rupees....."
The paper is accompanied by a survey map of the Taj Mahal, scale 80 ft to 1 inch. Why Hodgson waited for 15 years to submit the paper, after having made the survey, is a mystery.
- Sind was annexed by the East India Company.
- Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official by Lt.Col W.H.Sleeman was published. In Volume II page 27 he tells us that he visited Taj Mahal on 1 January 1836. Opposite page 28 are some pictures. They are :
- The Taj Mahul or Tomb of Noor Mahal wife of Shah Jahan.
1. Photo of an engrave - normal view of Taj but without the water channel.
2. The Taj Mahul. This shows the two basement stories under the main terrace.
3. The Taj Mahul. Similar to 2 above but the two basement stories are not clearly visible. It is taken from a different angle and shows part of upstream palace wall.
4. The Taj from the river - It shows the two basement stories and two doors in the lowest story, for entry.
5. Marble screen of the tomb in the Taj.
6. Gateway of the Taj.
p 32 "........Tavernier saw this building commenced and finished; and tells that it occupied twenty thousand men for twenty-two years. The mausoleum itself and all the buildings that appertain to it cost 3,17,48,026, three crore, seventeen lakks, forty-ei ght thousand and twenty-six rupees, or 3,174,802 pounds sterling; - three million one hundred and seventy-four thousand eight hundred and two!" [Note : Tavernier does not give any figures of cost. Sleeman does not say where the figure comes from.]
pp 32/33 "... That on the left or west side, is the only one that can be used as a mosque or church; because the faces of the audience, and those of all men at their prayers, must be turned towards the tomb of their prophet to the west. The pulpit is alwa ys against the dead wall at the back, and the audience face towards it, standing with their backs to the open front of the building. The church on the east side is used for the accommodation of visitors, or for any secular purpose; and was built merely as a " Jowab " ( answer ) to the real one."
p 34 "....This magnificent building and the palaces at Agra and Delhi were, I believe, designed by Austin de Bordeux, a Frenchman of great talent and merit....He was called by the natives Oostan Eesau, Nadir-ol-Asur. ....
p 35 " He had finished the palace at Delhi, and the mausoleum and palace of Agra; when he was sent by the Emperor to settle some affairs of great importance at Goa. He died at Cochin on his way back; and is supposed to have been poisoned by the Portuguese ......."
"....Shah Jehan had commenced his own tomb on the opposite side of the Jumna; and both were to have been united by a bridge. The death of Austin de Bordeux, and the wars between his [Shahjahan's] sons that followed, prevented the completion of these mag nificent works." [Note : Sleeman just repeats what Tavernier says and adds his own fantasy about Austin de Bordeux.]
p 36 ".....We went all over the palace in the fort, a very magnificent building constructed by Shah Jehan within fortifications raised by his grandfather Akabar. ....The Marquis of Hastings, when Governor-General of India, broke up one of the most beautif ul marble baths of this palace to send home to George IV of England, then Prince Regent, and the rest of the marble of the suite of apartments from which it had been taken, with all its exquisite fret-work and mosaic, was afterwards sold by auction, on ac count of our government, by order of the then Governor-General, Lord W Bentinck. Had these things fetched the price expected, it is probable that the whole of the palace, and even the Taj itself, would have been pulled down, and sold in the same manner .... "
- Handbook of British India by J.H.Stocequeter was published. [Taj Mahal on page 230]
- Archaeological History of the Ruins of Delhi by Syed Ahmed Khan was published. For this work he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of London in 1864.
- Travels in India by a German Captain Leopold von Orlich was published. He describes Taj Mahal in Volume II pages 44-49. He says :
p 44 "....My first excursion was to the Tauje Mahal or the Diamond of Seraglios, the most beautiful edifice in India. It is situated a mile to the south of the city, close to the Jumna and was built by the Emperor Shah Jahan, in honour of his beloved cons ort Mumtaz Mahal."
p 45 ".....We rode along the bank of the river by a road made during the famine in 1838 and passed the ruins in which the nobles resided during the reign of Akbar the Great. Here are walls so colossal and solid that they are preserved in spite of all the violence which they have suffered. We saw pieces ten feet thick united by a cement which nothing but gunpowder can break up."
p 47 "....We do not know who was the architect of this building of magic beauty, but there is much reason to suppose that an Italian was placed by Shahjahan at the head of the undertaking and was loaded by him with great honours." [What honours ? and whi ch buildings did this mysterious Italian Architect design and supervise before being entrusted with Taj Mahal ? Capt. Orlich does not even hazard a guess. Every historian has ducked this simple question ever since.]
"...Perhaps he was one of those who are buried in the Catholic Cemetery, and who according to the date on the tombstone, lived there at that time ". [All wishful thinking. No names on the tombstones ? No inscriptions saying that this person was entrusted with the building of a mausoleum of Shah Jahan's wife ?]
" 11 years were employed in building it and as many more were required for finishing the ornamental parts." [i.e 11+11= 22 years as told by Tavernier.]
" The Emperor Shah Jahan intended to build a similar sepulchre called Mathob Baug, for himself, on the opposite side of the Jumna and to connect both by a splendid marble bridge. He had already commenced the building, ruins of which are still to be seen, when a rebellion broke out and he was deposed at an advanced age by his son, Aurangzeb. His remains are deposited near those of his consort, in an equally costly and beautiful marble sarcophagus." [Note : The original book in German was translated into English by H.E.Lloyd, who refers to the kind and valuable assistance of Col. Sykes, a Director of the East India Company and a personal friend. Captain Orlich was an officer in the German Army. As t here was peace in Europe, he thought of fighting with the British in the Afghan War. He approached the Kaiser, who wrote to Queen Victoria. She made the necessary arrangements. Captain Orlich arrived at Bombay on 8 August 1842, by that time the Afghan war was over. He then toured India and was honoured by Governor General Lord Ellenborough. The word of such a man would be taken as true by the later day readers. But he just repeats what he read in Tavernier's book. See events of 1811.]
Travels in Kashmir and the Punjab by Baron Von Hugel was published.
- The first Anglo-Sikh War.
Sir H M Elliot printed the first volume of his "Supplement to the Glossary of Indian Terms."
- H G Keene joins the Indian Civil Service.
Sir H.M.Elliot becomes Secretary to Government of India in the Foreign Department.
Max Muller joins All Saints College, Oxford as a lecturer.
Picturesque Illustrations Ancient Architecture in Hindoostan by James Fergusson was published.
Joseph Cunningham was appointed political agent in Bhopal
- Lord Dalhousie, was appointed Governor General of India. [till 1856]
Satara State was annexed by Dalhousie.
H.G.Keene becomes President of the Archaeological Society of Agra [till 1882]
S.N Banerjee, a moderate leader from Bengal was born.
- Second Anglo-Sikh War. Alexander Cunningham was involved in the fighting. Punjab was annexed by Dalhousie.
Sir H M Eliot published the first volume of his "Bibliographical Index to the Historians of Mohammadan India "
- Wanderings of a Pilgrim in Search of the Picturesque by Fanny Parks was published. ( Reprint by Oxford University Press 1975 ) Her husband was a customs officer at Prayag ( Allahabad ). She travelled extensively in North India during her stay of 24 years. She visited Taj Mahal in January / February 1835.
On page 220 of volume I she says,
- ".....From the Calcutta John Bull; July 26th 1831. The Governor-general has sold the beautiful piece of architecture, called the Mootee Musjid, at Agra, for 125,000 rupees ( about =A312,500 ) and it is now being pulled down! The taj has also been offered for sale! but the price required has not obtained. Tw o lacs, however, have been offered for it. Should the taj be pulled down, it is rumoured that disturbances may take place amongst the natives."
In chapter XXX she describes the monument in detail. She says, " 1835, January. I have seen the The Taj Mahul. ......The dome of the Taj, like all domes erected by Muhammadans, is egg-shaped, a form greatly admired, the dome in Hindu architecture is alway s semicircular ; and it is difficult to determine to which style building should be awarded the palm of beauty."
- " This magnificent monument was raised by Shahjahan to the memory of his favourite Sultana Arzumund Banoo, on whom, when he ascended the throne, he bestowed the title of Momtaza Zumani ( the most Exalted of the age ) "
" On the death of Shahjahan, his grandson Alumgeer placed his cenotaph in the Taj, on the right hand, and close to that of Arzumund Banoo.......[ Note : Alumgeer was the title assumed by Aurangzeb, who was the son of Shahjahan and not his grandson.].....F ormerly a screen of silver and gold surrounded it; but when Alumgeer erected the tomb of Shahjahan by the side of that of the Sultana, he removed the screen of gold and silver, and replaced it by an octagonal marble screen." [But why ? Fanny Parks does not say.]
"...The crypt is square ......The small door by which you enter was formerly of solid silver; it is now formed of rough planks of mango wood."=
" It is customary with Musulmans to erect the cenotaph in an apartment over the sarcophagus, as may be seen in all the tombs of their celebrated men." [But why in India only ?]
" Sultana Arzumund Banoo died on 18th July 1631.....To express his respect for her memory, the emperor raised this tomb, which cost in building the amazing sum of =A3750,000 sterling." [Fanny Parks does not say how she obtained this figure. In 1832 Capt. M undy quoted a figure of 750,000 livres.]
"....but we have no record of her beauty, nor have reason to suppose that she was beautiful. She was the niece of one of the most celebrated women - Noor-jahan. Many people seeing the beauty of the building confuse the two persons, and bestow in their ima ginations the beauty of the aunt on the niece."
" [In the cenotaph chamber] There was also a chandelier of agate and another of silver; these were carried off by the Jat Suruj Mal, who came from the Deccan and despoiled Agra." [Note : The Jats did not come from the Deccan; Agra is a part of Jat terr itory.]
" It was the intention of Shahjehan to have erected a mausoleum for himself, exactly similar to the Taj on the opposite side of the river and the two buildings were to have been united by a bridge of marble across the Jumna. The idea was magnificent; but the death of Shahjahan took place in 1666, while he was a prisoner..."
" The stones were prepared on the opposite side of the Jumna, and were carried off by the Burtpoor Rajah and a building at Deeg has been formed of those stones. A part of the foundation of the second Taj is still standing, just opposite the Taj Mahul...."
[Note : Unfortunately, for all these visitors, one corner tower of the so called second Taj stands even today, complete with the pinnacle; just compare it with the Taj towers and the stupidity of the legend becomes obvious. There is no comparison between the two towers. Moreover, why would one start the second Taj by building a corner tower first and not the main building ?]
" The Kalun Darwaza or great gateway, is a fine building; the four large and twenty-two similar domes over the top of the arched entrance are of white marble; the gateway is of red granite, ornamented with white marble, inlaid with precious stones."
" From the second story is a fine view of the Taj itself, to which it is directly opposite.......There are four rooms in this gateway in which strangers, who are visitors, sometimes live during the hot weather."
" Feb 1st ... All the buildings in the gardens on the right are fitted up for the reception of visitors, if strangers; they are too cold at this time of the year, or I would take up my abode in one of the beautiful burj ( turrets ) next to the river." [Note : Why are these rooms never shown to the visitors ?]
" The two jamma khanas are beautiful buildings, on each side of the tomb, of red stone....One of them is a masjid ....one of the burj near the masjid contains a fine ba'oli ( well )....The four burj at each corner of the enclosure are of the most beautifu l architecture. ..... From the one [i.e. one burj] generally, used as residence by visitors to the tomb, the view of the Taj, the gardens, the river, and the Fort of Agra beyond, is very fine."
" Beyond the Great Gate, but still within the enclosure of the outer wall of the Taj, are the tombs of two begams, erected by Shahjahan. The sarcophagus over the remains of the Fathipooree Begam is of white marble .... On the other side the enclosure, to correspond with this tomb, is that of the Akbarabadee Begam......"
" Can you imagine anything so detestable ? European ladies and gentlemen have the band to play on the marble terrace, and dance quadrilles in front of the tomb!...."
" It covers an area of two hundred feet square, upon a terrace of white marble, about twenty ft above the one of stone, and three hundred ft square. At each angle is a minaret upon an octagonal base, eighty ft in circumference; the bottom of the shaft is twenty ft diameter, so that I should think the minarets are at least one hundred and fifty feet high.....The whole extent of the lower terrace is, I should say, full nine hundred feet; the pavement is inlaid with black and white marble."
" The Taj was twelve years in building; two lakhs per annum were allowed to keep it in order and support the establishment of priests and servants. It is situated on the western bank of the Jumna, three miles from the town of Agra; it is nineteen yards sq uare; and the dome about seventy feet in diameter.........It is impossible to estimate the cost; the most valuable materials were furnished by subadars of provinces." [Fanny Parks now makes up her own story.]
" Tavernier, who saw this building commenced and finished, asserts that it occupied twenty thousand men for twenty-two years. The mausoleum itself, and all the buildings that pertain to it, cost 3,17,48026 rupees; or =A33,174,802. .....Colonel Sleeman, in h is " Rambles of an Indian Official " remarks, - " This magnificent building, and the palaces at Agra and Delhi, were, I believe, designed by Austin de Bordeux, a Frenchman of great talent and merit..."
- Alexander Cunningham carries out Archaeological excavations in Sanchi.
1852 : Second Anglo-Burmese War.
1853 : 8th edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica mentions Taj Mahal in volume II p 244, under AGRA. It tells us, "....The name of this distinguished personage was Arjammed Banoo, which according to oriental usage, was changed on her elevation [elevation to what ?] to that of Mumtazee Zumanee signifying the paragon of the age."
Nagpur State was annexed by Dalhousie.
Bombay-Thana railway was opened.
Sir Henry.M.Elliot dies. His Historical works were published 14 years later. See events of 1867.
Bayard Taylor, an American gentleman visits Taj Mahal.
- Politics The East India Company was trying to get control of whole of India. The period from 1784 to 1853 is full of their various wars, with the Marathas, the Burmese, the Gorkhas and the Sikhs. The insatiable, rapacious lust for plunder and loot of the English, made Chengiz Khan and Nadir Shah look like cowboys. They even wanted to demolish the Taj Mahal! Their crooked methods, audacity to break unilaterally their own promises, assurances and treaties, racist, arrogant and contemptuous behaviour, was soon to res ult in the eruption of the Great Revolt of 1857.
- Archaeology Major General Cunningham was aware of the enormous political importance of Archaeological Survey of India, way back in 1842. Was it just a coincidence that he was made in charge of that department when it was started in 1860 ? Even a Pakistani Muslim Abu Imam recognised in 1966 that Cunningham wanted to use Archaeology for promoting Christianity in India.
- Indian History As the East India Company conquered various territories their officers wrote history of those territories. It was the victors writing about the vanquished. Here are some examples :
- British attitude Macaulay made it quite clear that English system of education was a means of spreading Christianity in India.
- Evidence ignored/set aside 5.1 Tavernier said, " He [Shahjahan] caused it to be set up on purpose near the Tasimacan, to which all Strangers must come, [so] that they should admire it, the Tasimacan is a great Bazar, or Market-place."
- New evidence emerges There were palaces between Agra Red Fort and Taj Mahal. Ruins of these palaces were noted by Major Archer (1833) and Capt Von Orlich ( 1845 )
- Blunders of Travellers Tavernier said that Jahangir's tomb was in Agra, on the way from Delhy when in fact he is buried in Lahore. Tavernier gives extensive family history of the Mughals.
- Travellers' Accounts The travellers' accounts are nothing but mere repetition of what they read in Tavernier's book. But only Col. Sleeman and Fanny Parks refer to him.
- How the legend grew 9.1 20,000 men worked for 22 years
- A Mystery Fanny Parks says, " Formerly a screen of silver and gold surrounded it; but when Alumgeer erected the tomb of Shahjahan by the side of that of the Sultana, he removed the screen of gold and silver, and replaced it by an octagonal marble screen."
1818 Maratha Peshwa Bajirao II was defeated by the East India Company.
1824 A Memoir of Central India by Major General Malcolm was published.
1826 History of the Marathas by Capt Grant Duff was published.
1829-32 Anals and Antiquities of Rajasthan by Lt Col James Todd was published.
1843 Sind was annexed by Lord Dalhousie.
1851 History of Sind was written by Lt R F Burton of Bombay Army.
1849 Punjab was annexed by Lord Dalhousie. History of Sikhs was written by Joseph Cunningham, brother of Major General Alexander Cunningham.
Why should a King erect a mausoleum near a busy / noisy place like a Bazar or Market ?
5.2 Name of the lady of the Taj
Tavernier the contemporary traveller of 1666 and Daniells ( 1795 ) do not give the name of the lady at all.
Bishop Heber ( 1828 ) and Major Archer ( 1833 ) say that the lady was Noor - Jehan, when in fact she was Shahjahan's step-mother.
Major Thorn says the lady was Arjumand Banoo, whose name was changed first to Moorutaz Zumanee and later to Nourjehan.
Capt Mundy says the lady was Arjumand Banu.
Fanny Parks says her name was Arjumand Banoo, it was later changed to Mumtazee Zemani.
Sleeman calls her Mumtaz.
5.3 Col.Hodgson, told us in 1843 that: The Persian manuscript in the possession of the custodians of Taj Mahal was the fabrication of an impostor. But the same manuscript has been used as an evidence by many authors!
Even in 1825 the so called Jawab was used for accommodation of visitors.
It seems that he was also aware of the true nature of Taj Mahal. That is why he says, " when viewing this monument it must be remembered that it is not a temple but a tomb."
He also refers to " Mausoleum at Taj Ganj " as mentioned in Shah Jahan Nama of Muhmmad Salah Kumbo. The term clearly implied that Taj Ganj existed before the death of the lady. It was not built as a township for workers.
His vital remarks have been ignored with the connivance of the historians.
5.4 Taje Mahal
It is curious to note that all the visitors who had been in India for a short time use the term Taje Mahal. Thomas and William Daniells ( 1795 ), Major Thorn ( 1813 ), Bishop Heber ( 1828 ), Major Archer ( 1833 ), Captain Von Orlich ( 1845 ) This is quite contrary to their attitude to the pronunciation of Indian words, even today. Taje Mahal could easily have been the corruption of Tejo-Mahalaya as Prof Oak suggests.
5.5 Fanny Parks had noted 8 rooms around the cenotaph, and an upper floor with similar 8 rooms. Hodgson also noted an upper floor.
5.6 Both Fanny Parks and Hodgson have noted Baoli Burj. It has no relevance in a mausoleum.
5.7 Tavernier has stated that main dome is constructed of brickwork. ( marble is used for lining only ). Hodgson had noted this fact.
5.8 Fanny Parks said, " It is customary with Musalmans to erect the cenotaph in an apartment over the sarcophagus, as may be seen in all the tombs of their celebrated men." Captain Mundy ( 1832 ) has noted Mohammedans burying bodies on ground floor and erecting cenotaphs on first floor.
Why should this tradition arise in India only ?
5.9 Fanny Parks said that various rooms inside the Taj were used by visitors to stay. Why were they built ? There are plenty of rooms outside the Taj in the courtyard.
5.10 Army for protection of Taj
Tavernier said - There is a Eunuch who commands two thousand men, that is entrusted to guard not only the sepulchre of the Begum, but also the Tasimacan.
Major Thorn said - For the protection of the place and to keep it in order, a company of artillery and a battalion of infantry were constantly kept on the spot.
But why was this protection necessary for the tomb of beloved wife of this popular emperor who ruled like a father and whose reign was said to be golden and peaceful ?
As these visitors came from the high society, their accounts were taken as true by others.
It seems quite clear that the travellers had read Tavernier's book before visiting Taj Mahal, but only Sleeman and Fanny Parks were honest enough to say so. Others just repeat the story told by Tavernier as if it were an established fact. Some modify the story to suit their thinking :
Major Thorn says, " This celebrated work...took 11 years in building and as many more were occupied in adding to its ornaments. " i.e. it took 11 + 11 = 22 years as Tavernier says. Capt Von Orlich repeats what Major Thorn said.
9.2 Tavernier tells us of the legend of the second Taj or Shahjahan's intended tomb on the other side of the river.
Major Thorn said in 1813 - Shahjahan's intended tomb was to have been joined to Taj Mahal by a magnificent bridge of marble. Others have followed the leader. Bishop Heber ( 1828 ), Captain Godfry Mundy ( 1832 ), Col Sleeman ( 1836 ), just say that the two tombs were to have been joined by a bridge. Captain Von Orlich ( 1845 ) and Fanny Parks ( 1850 ) say the two tombs were to have been joined by a marble bridge. Bishop Heber said that there were some remains of a bridge. Capt Von Orlich said that Shahjahan's own tomb was called Mathob Baug.
9.3 Deathbed request of the lady
Col Sleeman said in 1844 - Before she ( Mumtaz ) died she made two requests...second that he should build for her the tomb...to perpetuate her name. Both her dying requests were granted.
9.4 The figures of cost like the legend , are purely imaginary.
Major Thorn says Rs 96 lakhs or =A3 1,000,000 Captain Mundy says 750,000 livres or =A3 56,250 Col. Sleeman says Rs 3,17,48,026 or =A3 3,174,802 Fanny Parks is not sure. Once she quotes a figure of =A3 750,000 but towards the end of the chapter on Taj Mahal she repeats Sleeman's figure of 33,174,802.
9.5 Tavernier mentions no architect. Again all the names are purely fictitious.
Col.Sleeman says, " I believe it was designed by the Frenchman Austin de Bordeaux."
Captain Von Orlich says, " There is much reason to suppose that an Italian was placed at the head of the undertaking "
Fanny Parks repeats what Col. Sleeman says.
They all ducked the basic question : What buildings did this mysterious Architect design and supervise before being invited to build the Taj Mahal ?
9.6 False accusations : Looting by the Jats
Major Thorn said in 1813 - " The doors at the grand entrance was originally of Jasper, but this valuable relic has been taken away by the barbarous Jats, who also plundered the place of as many precious stones as they could easily pick out."
Capt Mundy said in 1832 - " In many places the more valuable pebbles have been fraudently extracted, an act of sacrilegious brigandage imputed to the Jats who.... ...carried off the brazen gates of the citadel of immense value."
Fanny Parks said in 1850 - " [In the cenotaph chamber] there was also a chandelier of agate and another of silver, these were carried off by the Jat Suraj Mal."
It is interesting to note, however, that Tavernier the contemporary traveller, does not mention any silver doors or golden railings etc. He notes the large cotton market in Tascimacan and throughout his book he talks about nothing but money, money, money.
Badshahnama was not published till 1867! Only in 1896 Latif tells these details. How did Fanny Parks learn about the screen in 1850 ?
TAJ MAHAL AND THE GREAT BRITISH CONSPIRACY
By V.S. Godbole
- Nagpur state was annexed by Lord Dalhousie.
Max Muller becomes a full Professor.
- Illustrated Handbook of Architecture, being a concise and proper account of the different styles of architecture prevailing in all ages and countries by James Fergusson was published. He begins his handbook with Indian Architecture and tells us :
- CHAPTER I - INTRODUCTORY
- p 2 " In all the older British settlements [in India] all architectural remains have nearly disappeared; and very little has been done to elucidate those which remain."
- p 78 " It would be a curious subject of speculation to find out whether the Buddhists ever built domes..... It still appears probable that the Buddhists never constructed, or knew of, a true dome of any sort..... no one of the caves or rock cut temples of any sort show any tendency even to this architectural form.......in no one instance, ... is there a semblance of a stone roof of any kind, nor even of an arch, either horizontally constructed or on the radiating principle; much less of a dome, which is a far more complicated thing to construct than a mere arch. I think therefore, it must be admitted that they were ignorant of the form."
pp 80-81 " In the Bengal provinces several of these Jaina temples have been converted into mosques, constituting some of the few remains of more ancient times that the bigotry of the Moslems have spared to us.....The process by which conversion of a Jaina temple to a Moslem mosque was effected will be easily understood by referring to the plan of that of Vimala Sah, on Mount Abu (woodcut 43, p. 70) .....Thus, without a single new column or carved stone being required, they obtained a mosque which, for convenience and beauty, was unsurpassed by anything they afterwards erected from their own designs."
- CHAPTER I - SOUTHERN HINDU ARCHITECTURE
- pp 104-05 " This new style is found in the buildings erected under the influence of the Mahometans, and adopts, to a certain extent some of more prominent forms of their architecture [Note : From now on Fergusson is possessed by this mysterious influence of the Mahometans.]
" When the Mahometans first conquered India they imitated in their earlier mosques not only the details, but even the forms of the Hindu architects..." [This in itself implies that there were no Muslim architects] " .....In process of time a complete reaction took place and in their secular buildings at least, though scarcely ever in their temples, the Hindus began to adopt the arcades and vaults of their antagonist." [Fine. But where were the Muslim architects who would have taught the Hindu architects, how to construct arches and vaults ? There were none.] ".....In the south of India one of the most pleasing specimens of this style is a portion of the palace of Madura." [This happens to be the area which was not ruled by Muslims except for a very short period]
- p 107 " In Northern India, with few exceptions to be shortly noticed, there are no genuine Hindu buildings at all earlier than the time of the Mahometan conquest." [Note: Fergusson is shamelessly suggesting that Hindus started building after the Mahometan conquests. The buildings were there. But they were either destroyed in successive Muslim raids, or when the invaders decided to stay in India, they converted Hindu temples into tombs and mosques, Fergusson could not stomach this truth...Mahmud of Gazni has recorded in 1020 A.D. that he destroyed more than 1000 temples in Mathura, the greater number of them in marble. Alberuni who accompanied Mahmud of Gazni has praised Hindu Ghats, which needed knowledge of underwater construction.]
" Many of the Jains [monuments were] converted for the most part into mosques, though perfectly easy to be recognised."
- " During the existence of the earlier Pathan dynasties of India, the bigotry of the Mahometans did not admit of the Hindu erecting temples of any pretension in the great cities over which they had obtained the dominion...with the beneficent and tolerant reign of the Great Akbar (1556-1605), a new era dawned for his oppressed subjects .... while his own buildings show a strong tendency to the Hindu style, the Hindus, under his encouragement, erected edifices which display an even greater admixture of the Mahometan forms of architecture."
[But where were the Muslim Architects and what are the Mahometan forms of architecture ?]
- CHAPTER IV - INDIA : SARACENIC ARCHITECTURE
- p 418 Fergusson reiterates his fantastic theory of Muslims taking down Hindu temples piece by piece and re-erecting the same. He says : ".....all show the same system of taking down and rearranging the materials on a different plan.....The same is true of the domes, all which, being honestly and firmly fitted, would suffer no damage from the process of removal......"
pp 420-1 " Besides this, a roof is by no means an essential part of a mosque; a wall facing Mecca is all that is required, and frequently in India is all that is built, though sometimes an enclosure is added in front of it to protect the worshippers from interruption. Roofed colonnades are of course not only convenient but ornamental accomplishments, yet far from being indispensable."
" The history of this mosque ( near Qutb Minar ), as told in its construction, is as curious as anything about it. It seems the Afghan conquerors had a tolerably distinct idea that pointed arches were the true form of architectural openings; " [and yet on page 414 Fergusson also says... Afghanistan was a Buddhist country for so long !" So, where did they get the idea that pointed arches were the true form of architectural openings ?] " but being without science sufficient to construct them, they left the Hindu architects and builders to follow their own devices." [in other words there were no Muslim Architects.]
"...The date of all these buildings is known with sufficient exactness from the inscriptions that cover them." [This was the beginning of the great blunder. All such dates show the time of capture, conversion and beginning of misuse and not of construction.]
- p 432 " the great architectural peculiarity of the Tartar or Mongolian races is their tomb-building propensity, ....Nowhere is this more forcibly illustrated than in India." [Why in India ?]
" The tombs of the Turks or Pathans [Pathans were not Turks] are less splendid than those of the Moguls; but nevertheless the whole series is singularly interesting, the tombs being far more numerous than the mosques. Generally speaking, also, they are more artistic in design, and frequently not only larger but more splendidly decorated than the buildings exclusively devoted to prayer......"
" The usual process for the erection of these structures is for the king or noble who intends to provide himself a tomb [but history tells us of no such persons !] to enclose a garden outside the city walls, generally with high crenellated walls [ Why does a tomb need high crenellated walls ?] and with one or more splendid gateways; and in the centre of this he erects a square or octagonal building, crowned by a dome, and in the more splendid examples with smaller and dome-roofed apartments on four of the sides or angles, the four being devoted to entrances..........During the lifetime of the founder the central building is called a Barrah Durrie, or festal hall, and is so used as place of recreation and feasting by him and his friends."
" At his death its destination is changed - the founder's remains are interred beneath the central dome. Sometimes his favourite wife lies beside him; but more generally his family and relations are buried beneath the collateral domes. When once used as a place of burial, its vaults never again resound with festive mirth... ...Perfect silence now takes the place of festivity and mirth."
[Note : All wild fantasy. But as Fergusson was the pioneer in the field of History of Architecture all such blunders went unquestioned. History does not support any of Fergusson's assumptions. Most of the tombs bear no names. Later day chauvinistic descendants have put up some plates. But even these simply say " Tomb of so and so." Almost all the tombs have cenotaphs and so called real grave chambers. Shiva temples are built in two stories and when these were converted into tombs there had to be two tombs. Fergusson fails to notice them.]
- p 436 " The typical example of the tombs of this race is the celebrated Taje Mahal - the tomb which Shah Jehan erected at Agra, to contain the remains of his favourite wife Moomtaza Mehal, meaning to erect a more splendid mausoleum for himself on the opposite side of the river.
The North-South cross section through the central edifice is produced on page 437, but it does not show the river Yamuna [Jumna]. In the footnote we are told, " The section has been engraved to a small scale of rather more than 100 ft to 1 inch in order to bring it into the page." The section shows quite clearly that there are several chambers around the [so called] real graves [but they have been sealed up] and that there is at least one storey 17 ft deep below the [so called] real graves and extending right across the 300 ft width [but also sealed up] It is amazing that no Architect or Historian has ever wondered about this, nor asked to see what is there in those chambers.
Fergusson does not say how he obtained the cross-section. It seems that he did open up the sealed chambers, found something there which would rock the boat of the usual legend and prove the falsity of Indo-Saracenic Architecture, sealed up the chambers again and vowed never to say a word about it. But he confesses on page 438 "...When used as a Barrah Durrie, or pleasure palace, it must always have been the coolest and the loveliest of garden retreats......."
[Santhal revolt against the rule of the East India Company]
- Oudh ( Ayodhya ) state was annexed by Lord Dalhousie.
Lokamanya Tilak was born. Sixty years later, the British quite rightly called him " Father of the Indian Unrest "
Universities were established at Bombay, Madras and Calcutta.
India in the 15th Century by Major Richard Henry was published by the Hakluyt Society, London.
Lt Col Alexander Cunningham was posted to Burma to set up a public works department.
- The Indian War of Independence against the rule of the East India Company.
- Queen Victoria's proclamation. British Crown takes over the administration of India from the much hated East India Company.
- A Visit to India, China and Japan by Bayard Taylor was revised and edited by G.F.Pardon. Mr Taylor describes Taje Mahal on pages 66- 74. He tells us in CHAPTER VI.
THE TAJE MAHAL
- p 68 " The Taaje Mahal is esteemed the finest work of art in Hindostan. The name which signifies a mausoleum and a palace,......The Taaje Mahal was erected in the year 1719 by the Emperor Shah Jehan " King of the world " a title conferred on him by his father [Shah Jahan died in 1666!] At this period, the commencement of his reign, he had the misfortune to lose a beautiful and favourite wife. On her death-bed, he promised to perpetuate her memory by the finest tomb in the world..."
".......It is a work inspired by love and consecrated to beauty. Shah Jehan ... erected it as a mausoleum over his queen Noor Jehan - The light of the World - whom the same poet calls Noor Mahal, " The Light of the Harem " or more properly " Palace "
p 69 "....ruins of ancient palaces....The entrance is a superb gateway of sandstone, inlaid with ornaments and inscriptions from the Koran in white marble. Outside of this grand portal, however, is a spacious quadrangle of solid masonry, with an elegant structure intended as a caravansarai, on the opposite side.... Down such a vista ....rises the Taaje."
" It is an octagonal building, or rather, a square with the corners truncated, and each side precisely similar. It stands upon a lofty platform, or pedestal, with a minaret at each corner, and again, is lifted on a vast terrace of solid masonry..."
"....The Taaje is approached by a handsome road, cut through the mounds left by the ruins of ancient palaces ... The height of the building from its base to the top of the dome is 262 ft, and of the minarets about 200 ft." [Mr.Taylor does not tell how he got these dimensions. The correct dimensions are 243 1/2 ft and 162 1/4 ft respectively.] "......Bishop Heber truly said, " The Pathans designed like Titans and finished like jewellers" [This is absurd ! Shahjahan was a Mughal. Mughals and Pathans were bitter enemies of each other. The French physician, Bernier confirms this.]
p 70 " I descended to the vault where the beautiful Noor Jahan is buried. Shah-Jehan whose ashes are covered by a simple cenotaph....I have even heard it stated that the Taaje was designed by an Italian architect. One look at the Taaje ought to assure any intelligent man that this is false nay impossible, from the very nature of the thing. The Taaje is the pure Saracenic in form, proportions, and ornamental designs. If that were not sufficient, we have still the name of the Muslim architect [who ?] sculptured upon the building." [where ?]
"....In the weekly account of the expenditures for the building of the Taaje, there is a certain sum mentioned as paid to " the foreign stone-cutters." who may either have been Italian, Turkish or Persian."
"...Around all the arches of the portals and the windows around the cornice and the domes, on the walls and in the passages, are inlaid chapters of the Koran, the letters being exquisitely formed of black marble. It is asserted that the whole of the Koran is thus inlaid in the Taaje."
".....From the resemblance of this screen and the workmanship of the tomb to Florentine mosaic, it is supposed by some to have been executed by an Italian artist; and I have even heard it stated that...."
p 71 " As for the flowers, represented in bas-relief on the marble panels, it has been said that they are not to be found in India. Now these flowers, as near as they can be identified, are the tulip, the iris ( both natives of Persia ), and the lotus... Bishop Heber has declared that he recognised Italian art in the ornaments of the Taaje....he fell .. into many other glaring errors... which I have no time to point out."
" On one side of the Taaje is a mosque with three domes, of red sandstone, covered with mosaic of white marble. Now on the opposite side, there is a building precisely similar, but of no use whatever, except as a balance to the mosque, lest the perfect symmetry of the whole design should be spoiled. This building is called the Jawab, or "answer"......"
p 72 " In comparing these master pieces of architecture with the Moorish remains in Spain, which resemble them most nearly, I have been struck with the singular fact, that while, at the central seats of the Moslem empire, art reached but a comparative degree of development, here, in India and there, on the opposite and most distant frontiers, it attained rapid and splendid culmination. [surprise ! surprise !!] The capitals of Caliphs and Sultans - Bagdad, Cairo, Damascus and Constantinople, - stand far below Agra and Delhi, Granada and Seville, in point of architecture.....It is not improbable that the Moorish architects, after the fall of Granada, gradually made their way to the eastward, and that their art was thus brought to India - or, at least, modified and improved the art then existing. The conquest of India by Babur ( grandson of Tamerlane and grandfather of Akbar ), is almost coeval with the expulsion of the Moors from Granada." [Typical mentality of Westerners!]
"......On the opposite bank of the Jumna there is an immense foundation-terrace whereon it is said, Shah Jehan intended to erect a tomb for himself, of equal magnificence but the rebellion of his sons, and his own death, prevented it...A shekh who takes care of the Taaje, told me, that had the emperor carried out his design the tombs were to have been joined by a bridge, with a silver railing on each side. He told me that the Taaje, with its gateways, mosque and other buildings attached, had cost =9C5,000,000. This however, seems quite impossible, when we consider the cheapness of labour in those days and I believe the real cost is estimated at =9C3,000,000 which does not seem exaggerated." [ Note : Taylor does not tell us where he got his figure of 3 million from]
- - Matriculation examination of Bombay University takes place for the first time.
- " Among the many lessons the Indian mutiny conveys to the historian, none is of great importance than the warning that it is possible to have a revolution in which Brahmins and Sudras, Hindus and Mahomedans, could be united against us and that it is not safe to suppose that the peace and stability of our dominions, in any great measure, depends on the continent being inhabited by different religious systems for they mutually understand and respect and take part in each others modes and ways and doings. The mutiny reminds us that our dominions rests on a thin crust ever likely to be rent by titanic fires and social changes and religious revolutions."
( Ref : Central India During the Rebellion of 1857-58 by Thomas Lowe, MRCS, Medical Officer to the Corps of Madras Sappers and Miners. )
" ....Our endeavour should be to uphold in full force the separation which ( for us fortunate ) exists between the different religions and races, not to endeavour to amalgamate them. Divide et impera should be the principle of Indian Government...." Remarks of Lt.Colonel Coke, Commandant of Moradabad 1860. [Ref : Pakistan - Military Rule or People's Power by Tariq Ali, Jonathan Cape, London 1970 page 25]
[Note : Aligarh, where Muslim separatism started and flourished, is only 30 miles from Moradabad.]
- - Viceroy Lord Canning visits Agra.
- An Account of the Loyal Mahomedans of India by Syed Ahmad Khan was published.
- After the death of Prof Wilson, Max Muller stands for election to Sanskrit chair at Oxford University, but fails.
- Alexander Cunningham now aged 47 retires from the army with the rank of Major General. Following his correspondence with Lord Canning, the first Viceroy, Archaeological Survey of India ( A.S.I. ) was started. Cunningham was appointed as an Archaeological Surveyor in December.
- - Indian Penal Code comes into operation.
- - Motilal Nehru and Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya were born. Motilal Nehru became a successful lawyer and a moderate political leader. Malaviya founded the Benares Hindu University.
- History of India by Henry Beveridge ( Advocate ) was published. On page 289 of Volume I he says, "...In (Agra) the latter stands conspicuous above all the Taje Mahal, the mausoleum of his queen Mumtaz Mahal..." On the same page, we find a picture of the interior of Taje Mahal at Agra reproduced from Oriental Drawing, East India House. In the footnote, Beveridge refers to and quotes from Fergusson's Handbook of Architecture ( 1855 ), but does not produce the cross-section and deletes the vital sentence " when used as a Barrah-dari or pleasure palace. ...." In the footnote on pages 289, 290 Beveridge says, "...Tavernier saw this building begun and finished and tells us that it occupied 20,000 men for twenty two years. The mausoleum and all the buildings that appertain to it cost Rs 3,17,48,026 or 3,174,802 sterling.
( Ref : Sleeman's Rambles and Recollections by an Indian Official)"
Indian Empire by R.M.Martin was published. Volume 3 contains copy of a painting of Taj Mahal by Captain R.Elliot. It shows several basement rooms in the so called mosque and the so called Jawab. These were blocked by British authorities at some later date. Why ? And why is there no record ? The painting also shows palaces upstream and downstream of Taj Mahal. As the remains of these palaces were destroyed during the famine works of 1837 the painting must have been made before 1837.
- - Alexander Cunningham becomes the Director of A.S.I.
- History of Modern Styles of Architecture, being a sequel to the Handbook of Architecture by James Fergusson, was published. [Editions 1873 and 1891 ]- 9 December...James Fergusson delivers a lecture on Architecture at the Royal Engineers Establishment, Chatham, England.
- - First batch of graduates of Bombay University come out. Among them we find Justice M G Ranade, R G Bhandarkar and V A Modak.
- Viceroy Lord Elgin visits Agra.
- - Bombay Government decides to give grants even to institutions that made attendance at the Bible classes compulsory.
- Rock Cut Temples of India ( with 74 photographs ) by J.Fergusson was published. His address is given as 20 Langham Place, London.
- Archaeological Survey of India was closed.
Telegraphic connection between India and Britain was completed.
Lala Lajpat Rai, a militant political leader from Punjab and famous historian G.S.Sardesai were born.
J.Fergusson becomes a Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects ( FRIBA )
- Max Muller writes to his wife on 9 December, " ...I hope I shall finish that work, and I feel convinced, though I shall not live to see it, yet this edition of mine and the translation of the Veda will hereafter tell to a great extent on the fate of India, and on the growth of millions of souls in that country. It is the root of their religion, and to show them what that root is, is, I feel sure, the only way of uprooting all that sprung from it during the last 3000 years...."
( Ref : The life and letters of F Max Muller edited by his wife, Longman Green and co, London 1902. p 328 )
18 December. J.Fergusson delivers a lecture on " the Study of Indian Architecture " at a meeting of the Society of Arts, London.
- - Viceroy Lord Lawrence holds a grand Durbar at Agra and also presents a gold medal to Syed Ahmed Khan for good services and efforts in the cause of education.
- Architecture at Bijapur by Col.M.Taylor ( Notes by J.Fergusson )
Architecture at Ahmedabad by Sir T.C.Hope, ICS ( Photographs by Col.Briggs. Architectural notes by J.Fergusson )
Architecture in Dharwar and Mysore by Col.M.Taylor ( Architectural notes by J.Fergusson )
- Gopal Krishna Gokhale, a moderate leader, was born
- History of Architecture of All Countries by J.Fergusson was published. All the information on Taje Mahal given in his Handbook of Architecture ( 1855 ) is repeated. The cross-section through central edifice is repeated on page 693 of volume II. He now tells us that it has been drawn to a scale of 110 ft to 1 inch. Apart from this, there is no change.
Asiatic Society of Bengal published the Persian text of Lahori's Badshahnama, volume I. It was edited by two Muslims: Mawalawis Kabir AL-Din Ahmad and Abd Al Rahim, under the superintendence of Major.W.N.Lees. Volume II was published in 1868.
- - Elliot and Dowson's History of India as told by its own Historians, The Muhammadan Period Vol I, was published in London by Trubner and Co. Other seven volumes were published over next ten years. In his preface Sir Henry M Elliot states that he is dealing with the history of only the Mohammedan rule in India. He gives some examples of how in the 18th and 19th century, Muslims had fabricated various chronicles. He also concludes that the true picture of Muslim rule was far from what was generally believed.
[Prof John Dowson, M R A S, of Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, in his preface thanks General Cunningham for his important notes, and placing at his disposal his Archaeological Survey of India reports.]
- - The History of India from the Earliest days by James Talboys Wheeler was published. ( Taj Mahal on page 156 )
- On 16 December Maxmuller writes to the Duke of Argyll, Secretary of State for India, "...India has been conquered once, but India must be conquered again and that second conquest should be a conquest by education .....The missionaries have done far more than they themselves seem to be aware of, nay, much of the work which is theirs they would disclaim. The Christianity of our nineteenth century will hardly be the Christianity of India. But the ancient religion of India is doomed - and if Christianity does not step in, whose fault will it be ? "
[Ref : The Life and Letters of F.Max Muller, edited by his wife, 1902 volume I pages 357-8]
- Dr Forbes Watson's Report on the Illustration of the Architecture of India, etc with Appendices by Fergusson, Cunningham and Colonel Meadows Taylor, was published.
History of India written by Marshman at the request of the University of Calcutta was published.
In Volume I page 146 he tells us, "..To him ( Shahjahan ) the country was indebted for the immaculate Taj Mahal, the mausoleum of his queen [Who? the pride of India and the admiration of the world..."
- - Syed Ahmed Khan and his two sons leave Bombay for England on 6th August. At London he is received by Mr [later Sir] John Kaye - Secretary to the Duke of Argyll, Secretary of State for India.
- - Suez Canal was completed and opened to traffic.
- Mahatma Gandhi was born.
- Travels of Fah Hien and Sung Yum was translated by Samuel Beal.
- Duke of Edinburgh, 2nd son of Queen Victoria visits India : Dec 1869 to March 1870. He did visit Agra.
- Archaeological Survey of India was restarted. Duke of Argyll, Secretary of State for India sanctioned Cunningham's appointment, after consultation with Lord Mayo, Viceroy of India. Cunningham resumes charge, promoted to Director General of that department, next year.
12 inch to 1 mile map of Agra Cantonment, city and Environs was published by the Government of India. It shows the main walls of the Taj Mahal, continuous beyond the Taj Ganj gate at South and enclosing a large market.
- - Bombay-Jubblepoor-Calcutta railway connection was completed.
- Historian Yadunath Sarkar and Chittaranjan Das a political leader from Bengal, were born.
- J.Fergusson was awarded Royal Gold Medal by the RIBA.
Vincent Smith joins the Indian Civil Service.
The Indian Musalmans : Are They Bound in conscience to Rebel Against the Queen ? by Sir.W.W.Hunter was published.
- Syed Ahmed Khan replies to Hunter's book.
Tilak passes the Matriculation examination.
- Archaeological Survey of India Report for the Year 1871-72 was prepared by M/s Beglar ( on Delhi ) and Carllyle (on Agra ) In volume II Mr Carlleyle tells us :
p 4 " ... Again as bearing on the other side of the argument I have now to mention that, on the right bank of the river about three miles above the fort, there is the site of an ancient garden palace called the garden and palace of Raja Bhoj! Certain intelligent educated Hindus in Agra say that it is traditionally held to have been a palace of Raja Bhoj of Malwa of the fifth to sixth century; but at any rate all agree as to the fact that this garden palace of Raja Bhoj was in existence previous to the Muhammadan conquest of this part of the country. I am, however, inclined to think that the Raja Bhoj who built this garden palace at Agra may have been the Bhoja, the successor of Guhila or Sri Gohadit of Gelhote dynasty of Mewar......"
On page 67 we find :
- MUMTAZ MAHAL, COMMONLY CALLED THE " TAJ MAHAL "
" It will be unnecessary for me to give either the measurements or a description of this well known and beautiful white marble mausoleum, so famous for its exquisite mosaics, and noble dome, and lofty graceful minars, as General Cunningham informed me that he had in his possession a complete ground plan and sections and all measurements of this building....."
Carllyle describes Taj Mahal in 18 lines and says " I cannot presume to say more on this subject, when I know that General Cunningham has both the materials at hand, amd the ability, coupled with the experience of a practised archaeologist, to do it so much more justice than it would ever be possible for me to do."
[Note : General Cunningham became Director General of ASI in 1870 and remained in charge for further 14 years but he never said anything about these sections and particulars. ASI never produced the said sections. Why ? Why ?? Why ??? What were they hiding ?]
Carllyle tells us about some mysterious pillars in Taj Mahal. On pages 124-125 he says, " Before concluding this report, it may be well that I should offer a few remarks in connection with the great square black basaltic pillar which, with the base and capital of another similar pillar, and a long ponderous block of similar stone, which probably formed part of the entablature over the pillars, are now in the grounds of the museum at Agra. "
" The pillar above referred to, it is well known, once stood in the garden of Taj Mahal; and while there, for some reason or other now unknown, the shaft of the pillar used to rock on its base, with a slight touch of the hand, like one of the "logan" or rocking stones. Besides the remains of another pillar, and the large block of similar stone, before mentioned, which are in the grounds of the museum, there are also the remains of a third pillar now placed as gate posts at the gate of a European residence in the cantonments at Agra."
" Now, it is said that these block pillars, when in a perfect state, along with several others originally stood in a line outside the water-gate of the fort of Agra, between the fort and the river, but that some of them had fallen down before the most perfect and complete one of was removed from thence and placed in the Taj garden."
" The pillars were, most certainly, the work of Hindus and they may be either Jain or Brahmanical, although I myself am inclined to think that they are Jain, as their shape and style are Jain in character, and I believe that they resemble the pillars of several ancient Jain colonnades still existing in India."
" The only conclusion therefore that I can come to is that these pillars formed the colonnade to the entrance from the river of some ancient Hindu building which was probably pulled down and destroyed when the Fort was built; and, moreover, I believe that.a very massive and elaborately sculptured black marble Jain image ( of Munisuvratha judging by the tortoise symbol ), which is now at the Agra Museum must .originally have belonged to the same locality, as I have heard that it was dug up somewhere near the fort and the river."
- A Handbook for visitors to Agra by H G Keene was published. It was enlarged, rectified and illustrated and founded on Agra Guide by the same author. The Taj Mahal is described on pages 23 to 36.
The causes of the Indian Revolt [in Urdu] by Syed Ahmed Khan was translated by Sir Auckland Colvin and Colonel Graham. Sir Colvin, later became the Governor of U.P and condemned the Indian National Congress as a seditious organisation, in 1888.
- - Blochman's translation of Ain-e-Akbari, volume I was published.
- Third edition of Grant Duff's History of the Marathas was published.
- Keene's Handbook to Agra ( revised edition ) was published. On pages 14 and 15 he describes Agra City of 1630 [i.e before the death of Mumtaz] as given in De Laet Joanne's Dutch book Empire of the Great Moghul, published in 1631. He says,
"...everyone has been anxious to have immediate access to the river and all have consequently built their houses on the bank.....On leaving the royal citadel, [i.e Red Fort] one emerges on a large market, where horses, camels, oxen, and all kinds of merchandise are sold....... Then follow the palaces of Mirza Abdulla, Aga Nours, Zehenna Chan, Mirza Chrom, Mahabot Khan, Chan Alem, Radzia Bartzing, Radzia Mantzing." [The last palace is the same as Taj Mahal. See events of 1896 and 1925]
p 24 Opposite this page we find a plan of the Central Edifice. But there are no dimensions.
p 26 " In Bernier's time this part of the strand was lived by the villas of the nobility."
THE TAJ is described on pages 27 to 41.
- p 27 " By the river strand is a road made in the famine relief operations of 1838 by which the visitor reaches the Taj Muhul. On the way he passes the Moghul Court, but now fallen into indistinguishable ruins with the above-named exception."
pp 27/28 There is a reference to Fergusson's History of Architecture but no extract from it. The cross-section of Taj Mahal is also not produced.
p 28 " Urjumund Banoo Begum called Moomtaz-i-Mahal ... married to the prince about 1615, died of childbed of the eighth, about 1629 at Boorhanpoor."
p 29 " Her body was carried like that of our Edward's consort to the metropolis and laid in a spot in the garden still pointed out close by the Mosque until the mausoleum was ready for her reception. The legendary account of the building must here be referred to, authoritative history going no further. It is said and is very likely said with truth that the Emperor resolved to build in his dead wife's garden a mausoleum that should surpass in splendour everything of whose existence he could learn. With this view he sent for plans and models from every quarter, and studied the designs and descriptions of all the most celebrated monuments of the kind. Finally, his choice was influenced by Eesa Mohumud Effendi, an architect sent him by the Sultan of Turkey, and the present model adopted ..."
[There is of course no reference for this fantastic statement. Keene does not tell us of any buildings designed and supervised by this Architect prior to being sent to build Taj Mahal. Keene also does not give us any names of monuments whose designs were studied by Shah Jahan. He admits that all this was just a legend. Later author simply omitted this caution.]
" The collection of the material is said to have occupied the next seventeen years; but it is not necessary to suppose that no building was in progress all this time."
p 30 ".... Much fruitless discussion has been waged on this subject; the following considerations alone are likely to be of use to the general reader. The notion that the Taj was designed by Italians may be dismissed at once. Nothing was ever less Italian than the general conception of the building with its simple and even stiffer contour. ...."
p 31 " The following figures are taken from the Guide to the Taj:- The native account of the cost of the Taj gives 98,55,476 Rupees as having been given by the Rajahs and Nawabs. And out of the Emperor's private treasury 86,09,760 Rupees which would give in =9C1,846,518-6 or nearly two million* There are said to be two silver doors at the entrance of the Taj, which are stated to have cost 1,27,000 Rupees and were studded with 1,100 nails each having a head made of a Sonat Rupee, these gates were taken away and melted down by the Jats when they attacked and sacked Agra. ( * Col Anderson in a recent number of the Calcutta Review states the cost to have been Rs 4,11,43,826. )"
p 32 " The labour was all forced, and very little payment made in cash to the 20,000 workmen who were said to have been employed for 17 years. .... There was great distress and frightful mortality among then.... The poet describes them to have cried out :- Have mercy God on our distress. For we die too, with the Princess."
p 32/35 Here Keene gives some extracts from B.Taylor's book.
pp 35/36 Referring to Bernier, Keene says, " the screen it will be observed is not mentioned."
p 36 Tavernier says " I have seen the commencement and the completion of this great work which employed twenty thousand men daily for twenty two years, a fact from which some idea of its excessive costiness may be formed. The scaffolding is held to have cost more than the building for not having [enough] wood they had to make it of brick, as also the centerings of the vaults. Shah jahan began to make his own sepulchre on the other side of the river, but his war with his sons interrupted the design, and Aurangzeb, the present ruler, has not cared to carry it out."
p 39 " The false Mosque is as fine as the true. It is appropriated to the use of travellers and parties of pleasure, and it is this no doubt that has given rise to the oft-reported story of " wassil and riot " desecrating the place of worship of departed kings."
" Let it be said, once for all, that this is not, never was, never could be, " a place of worship." It would be certainly more in character if no festivities had ever disturbed the repose of a place set aside for solemn memories; but as long as the natives hold constant fairs in the enclosure and throw orange-peel and other debris about the whole place, it is perhaps somewhat hypercritical to object to a few Englishmen refreshing themselves within the limits of becoming mirth,in a remote corner used for no other purpose...... It is in a parterre beneath this mosque that the enclosure is shown where the remains of the empress rested while the Taj was being built. " [But what is the basis for this story or the location of the spot ?]
In a footnote Keene says, "the domes are all of white marble the basements of the building only are of red stone."
[Note :- So, Keene confesses that there are basements below the 1000 ft by 300 ft terrace. Why did he not ask these to be opened up ? Keene does not reproduce the cross- section from Fergusson's book which shows the basements.]
There is no reference to Badshahnama, published in 1867.
- The 9th edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica was published. Now we are told that the name of the lady was Mumtaza Mahal. We find extract from Fergusson's History of Architecture pp 692/694 including the sentence " When used as a pleasure palace, it must have been the coolest and loveliest of garden retreats. "
We also find reference to Tavernier's Travels ( vol iii, p 94 ) and the magic sentence " 20,000 men were incessantly employed on this work during a period of twenty-two years."
- - Sir Syed Ahmad Khan starts a school in Aligarh. 29 April Lord Salisbury, Secretary of State for India states in British Parliament, " We must bleed India, but that bleeding should be done judiciously. The lancet should be directed to those parts where the blood is congested..."
[Ref : India for Indians and for England by William Digby 1885 page IX]
- Edward VII as Prince of Wales visits India [8 Nov 1875 to 13 March 1876], visits Taj Mahal on 25 January 1876.
- Politics and Archaeology
- History of Architecture
- British Attitude
- British official suppression of truth
- Evidence ignored 5.1 Taj Mahal Cross-section
- Blunders of the travellers B Taylor says that Taaje Mahal was created in the year 1719 by Shah Jahan, when in fact he died in 1666!
- Education and Hindu Leaders The first batch of graduates of Bombay University came out in 1862, Justice M G Ranade being one of them. Tilak graduated in 1876, G K Gokhale in 1886, Gandhi in 1889. All these leaders were busy for the rest of their lives with political awakening and struggle for freedom. They had no time for anything else, least of all the History of Indian Architecture.
- How the legend grew 8.1 20,000 men worked for 22 years
- 1.1 Politics
British rulers were taken aback by the Great Indian Revolt of 1857-59. The Crown took over the administration of India from the hated East India Company. But the Company rulers remained the same. They decided to separate Muslims from Hindus. Very soon after the Great Revolt, recruitment to the Indian Army was to be drawn disproportionately from the Muslims of North West Frontier Province and Punjab. [Ref : Pakistan or Partition of India by Dr B R Ambedkar, 1946, pp 54-85]
Persons like Syed Ahmed Khan who would keep Muslims away from the freedom movement, were patronised. It also became imperative for the British to keep secret, the true nature of Taj Mahal and other monuments. It had to be emphasised that they were the works of foreigners. The natives could not have even thought of building such structures.
Against this background, Archaeological Survey of India ( ASI ) was started in 1860. It was closed in 1865, restarted in 1870 and has continued ever since. Major General Sir Alexander Cunningham was in charge of ASI from the beginning till 1884. He was aware of the enormous political importance of Archaeology as early as 1842.
It is important to note that the appointment of Cunningham in 1870 was sanctioned by the Duke of Argyll, the then Secretary of State for India, after consultation with Lord Mayo's Government of India.
It was the unwritten policy of the Survey to neglect all Hindu emblems of heroism and glory and keep intact the historical places of Muslim association or dominion.
- James Fergusson's Handbook of Architecture came out in 1855. It was a formidable work indeed. No one had tried to write the history of architecture of all the countries before. He supplied footnotes for books on architecture of various provinces, by others. The Royal Institute of British Architects elected him as a Fellow of their Institute in 1865, and awarded him the Royal Gold Medal in 1871. Unfortunately, because of all this, his blunders went unquestioned and remained so for more than a century. We list them as follows :
( A ) If a building is used as a mosque or a tomb it must have been built by the Muslims. When that looked silly he proposed that Muslims demolished a Hindu building piece by piece and re-erected a mosque/tomb from it. He was so obsessed with this hypothesis that he even says, "..thus without a single new column or carved stone being required they obtained a mosque which for convenience and beauty was unsurpassed by anything they afterwards erected from their own designs." But he would not accept the simple fact that Muslims forcibly occupied Hindu buildings and misused them as tombs and mosques. In addition, he does not say, exactly when, the Muslims started to build from their own design.
( B ) Hindus did not build arches and domes. And yet he says on p 418," ....all show the same system of taking down and rearranging the materials on a different plan. ... The same is true of the domes, all which being honestly and firmly fitted, would suffer no damage from the process of removal." Where did the domes come from ? Moreover even today, taking down and reerecting buildings requires considerable skill and forethought.
( C ) Fergusson however confesses on p 420, " Besides this, a roof is by no means an essential part of a mosque, a wall facing Mecca is all that is required, and frequently in India is all that is built......."
( D ) Fergusson agrees that the Architects were Hindu and NOT Muslim.
( E ) Fergusson says on p 432, " The architectural peculiarity of the Tartar or Mongolian races is their tomb-building propensity...Nowhere is this more forcibly illustrated than in India. [But why in India ?]...the tombs being far more numerous than the mosques [why ? Because there were so many temples which could be easily converted into tombs. Muslims are buried in India lying north-south, feet towards the south. The faces are turned towards west. Shiva Lingum is also laid north-south, the water dripping on it flows to the north.]
( F ) Fergusson creates a false impression by using the phrase "Mahomedan conquest of India "
- This is best illustrated by Max Muller. In 1868 he wrote to the Duke of Argyll, Secretary of State for India, " ....the ancient religion of India is doomed - and if Christianity does not step in whose fault will it be ? ....India has been conquered once, but India must be conquered again and that second conquest should be a conquest by education..." Under such conditions, true Indian history just could not be explored.
- Cunningham obtained a complete plan and sections of Taj Mahal in 1871, but these were never published. [Same thing applies to many other so called mosques and tombs.] British scholars do not mention this fact even today. They are also silent about why the British Authorities bricked up several rooms in Taj Mahal, which are seen in the pre-1837 painting of Captain R Elliot.
- Fergusson produced the North-South cross-section through the central edifice in 1855. This shows quite clearly that there are several chambers around the so called real graves [but they have been sealed up] and that there is at least one storey 17 ft deep below the so called real graves and extending right across the 300 ft width [but also sealed up].
Fergusson offers no explanation. We must suspect his motives, especially when we consider his long stay in India and his association with the ASI for 20 years.
Henry Beveridge, Keene and Encyclopaedia Britannica refer to Fergusson but do not reproduce the cross-section.
- In 1874 Keene admits that there are basements under the 1000 ft by 300 ft platform. He neither offers any explanation nor does he try to explore them.
- Despite the attitude of the British to twist the Indian names, Fergusson ( 1855 ), Bayard Taylor ( 1859 ) and Henry Beveridge (1862 ) use the term Taje Mahal when it was lot easier to say Taj Mahal.
- In 1874 Keene referred to De Laet Joanne's book [in Dutch] Empire of the Great Moghul, published in 1631. He says that all the great nobles had built their houses on the river bank and gives a list of owners of palaces, on leaving the Red Fort. Raja Mansingh's palace being the last one, which is now Taj Mahal. Thus the river bank was not barren as successive historians have been telling us.
Ruins of these palaces have been mentioned by Bayard Taylor in 1859.
- Unaware of its significance, Fergusson confessed in 1855, " when used as a Barrah Durrie or pleasure palace, it must have been the coolest and the loveliest of garden retreats.." Henry Beveridge, Keene and Encyclopaedia Britannica refer to Fergusson but do not quote the above sentence.
5.7 Name of the lady
- Bayard Taylor says - her name was Noor Jehan whom a poet calls Noor Mahal.
Marshman ( 1869 ) gives her no name.
Encyclopaedia Britannica ( 1875 ) calls her Mumtaza Mahal.
- Persian text of Badshshnama, Shahjahan's own official chronicle, was published by the Asiatic Society of Bengal in 1867. But nobody studied it let alone mention it.
5.10 Use of Jawab
- B. Taylor says in 1859 that the Jawab was of no use whatever.
Keene says in 1874 that Jawab was used for the use of travellers and parties of pleasure.
5.12 Keene also tells us for the first time that Mumtaz died at Burhanpur and not Agra.
He also says that ashes of Shah Jahan are covered by a simple cenotaph.
- Henry Beveridge repeats this sentence and refers to Tavernier. Keene ( 1874 ) and Encyclopaedia Britannica ( 1875 ) do the same.
- Fergusson said, " Shahjahan...meaning to erect a more splendid mausoleum for himself on the opposite side of the river. But this was not carried into effect. " It is interesting to note that Fergusson does not refer to Tavernier.
Bayard Taylor said, " it is said, Shah Jahan intended to erect a tomb for himself, of equal magnificence...A Shekh who takes care of the Taaje told me, that had the emperor carried out his design the tombs were to have been joined by a bridge, with a silver railing on each side. "
Keene does repeat this story, but quotes from Tavernier's book.
- Bayard Taylor dismisses the story of Italian Architect but fancies that Moorish Architects may have helped in the construction of Taj Mahal. He also says that the name of the architect is engraved in stone, but gives no name or location of engraving, but does not give the location..
- Bayard Taylor thinks that the cost was 3 million.
Henry Beveridge quotes the figure of 3,174,802 and refers to Sleeman for the figure.
- Keene said in 1874, "...two silver doors cost Rs 1,27,000 studded with 1100 nails each having a head of a sonat rupee ( these were looted by the Jats ) "
Referring to Bernier Keene says, " the screen it will be observed is not mentioned. " But the same logic was not applied to silver doors which were alleged to have been looted by the Jats.