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‘Mughal museum’ to now hold Braj artifacts

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AGRA: The museum in

Agra

originally planned to showcase the city’s Mughal culture, now renamed after Maratha warrior-king

Shivaji

, will also undergo a “conceptual change”.

Additional chief secretary, UP, Awanish Awasthi told TOI on Tuesday “the museum will be dedicated to what is Indian, the Braj culture, tradition and heritage”. This comes a day after CM

Yogi Adityanath

said the original name, Mughal Museum, was a display of “servility” because Mughals “can’t be our heroes.” So, the CM had said, the museum would instead be named after 17th-century Maratha ruler

Chhatrapati Shivaji

, who had engaged for 27 years in wars against the Mughals.

Work on the museum, coming up near the eastern gate of the

Taj Mahal

, had started in 2016 with a 2017 completion target. “The idea was to introduce tourists to the grand Mughal era of the city. In a creatively crafted space, Mughal history and architecture would be on display … Historians and scholars were to be brought on the committee to ensure accuracy,” Alok Ranjan, former chief secretary who was part of the project when its foundation was laid by then chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, told TOI.

The decision to change what the museum will showcase has surprised historians. “Mughals were in Hindustan 150 years before Taj was built. All monuments in Agra were built by them. The history of the city is the history of Mughals,” historian and professor emeritus at Aligarh Muslim University

Irfan Habib

told TOI. “I don’t have an opinion on what the museum should be called but this is wrong.”

Other academics said they were shocked. “It’s shocking to learn that a museum in a Mughal city will be named after Shivaji. There is no connection except that he was imprisoned in 1666 in the haveli of Ram Singh, son of Mirza Raja Jai Singh, who had defeated Shivaji and forced him to surrender. Later, he escaped from Agra,” said Prof M Pundhir from AMU’s history department.

Former chairperson of the department, Prof Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi, added, “Braj is a region devoted to the cult of Krishna and Chaitanya, it has no link with Shivaji … It is general consensus that museums near monuments reflect the culture of the latter. They could build another museum away from Mughal monuments for Braj culture. Tourists come to Agra to see Mughal architecture. When they want to soak in Braj culture, they go to Mathura. A city’s history cannot be kept aside.”

For now, though, work on the structure is stalled. “About 75% of the project is complete…the exhibition design plan has been initiated,” a representative of Noida-based architectural firm Studio Archohm said. The firm is collaborating with UK-based architect David Chipperfield’s Berlin office for the project.

The Times of India is an Indian English-language daily newspaper owned by The Times Group. It is the third-largest newspaper in India by circulation and largest selling English-language daily in the world. according to Audit Bureau of Circulations.

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INDIA

No intention of joining hands with Shiv Sena: Devendra Fadnavis

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MUMBAI: Former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday asserted that the BJP has no intention of joining hands with the Shiv Sena or to bring down the Uddhav Thackeray-led state government.

Talking to reporters here, Fadnavis claimed people of the state are “unhappy” with the performance of the Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government and it “would collapse due to its own inactions”.

The senior BJP leader also said his meeting with Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Saturday, which prompted speculation in political circles, was regarding an interview for the Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana‘.

The Shiv Sena snapped ties with the BJP last year after the Maharashtra assembly polls over the issue of sharing the chief ministerial post.

The Uddhav Thackeray-led party then joined hands with the NCP and the Congress to form MVA government in the state.

“We have no intention of joining hands with the Shiv Sena or to bring down the government. When it falls on its own, we will see,” said Fadnavis, who is the leader of opposition in the state Assembly.

“My meeting with Raut had no political connotations. He asked me for an interview to ‘Saamana’, to which I agreed. But, I had put my conditions- like the interview should be unedited and I should get to put my own camera during the interview. So we met to discuss its nitty-gritties,” he said.

Meanwhile, Raut, who also spoke to reporters here separately, said he and Fadnavis are not enemies and chief minister Uddhav Thackeray was aware of the meeting which was pre-planned to discuss the interview schedule.

However, Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam criticised Raut, alleging that he was in a hurry to grab headlines.

“When that happens, political careers end. This is not my ill-wish for Raut, but a reality,” the former Mumbai Congress chief told PTI.

Nirupam, who has been sulking since his removal from the post of Mumbai Congress chief ahead of the Lok Sabha polls last year, said if the party is serious about opposing the new farm bills passed by Parliament, it should first ask the ruling Shiv Sena in Maharashtra to spell out its stand.

The Congress and the NCP say they will not allow implementation of the new laws in Maharashtra, while chief minister Thackeray hasn’t uttered a word on it, he said.

“The Shiv Sena supported the farm bills in the Lok Sabha, while it staged a walkout from the Rajya Sabha when other opposition parties were demanding a vote on it,” Nirupam said, adding that farmers in Maharashtra are confused (over the state government’s stand).

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Bengaluru has become epicentre of terror activities: BJP MP Tejasvi Surya

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NEW DELHI: Bengaluru has become an epicentre of terror activities, BJP MP Tejasvi Surya claimed on Sunday and said he had requested Union home minister Amit Shah to set up a permanent division of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the city.

A day after becoming the president of the BJP’s youth wing, Surya said many terror modules have been busted in Bengaluru, the Silicon Valley of India, in the recent past. The terrorist groups want to use the city as an “incubation centre” for terror activities.

Surya said he had met Shah at the latter’s residence two days ago and emphasised the need to have a well-equipped and sufficiently staffed NIA office to mitigate terror-related activities in Karnataka.

“The Home Minister has assured that he will direct officials to establish a permanent station house manned by an officer of the rank of the SP at the earliest,” Surya said.

“In last few years, Bengaluru, the Silicon Valley of India, has become epicentre of terror activities. It has been proved through many arrests and sleeper terror cells busted by the investigative agency in the city,” Surya, who represents Bengaluru South in Lok Sabha, told reporters here.

“It is a matter of grave concern that NIA investigations into the DJ Halli and KG Halli mob violence in August have indicated that many terrorist organisations are using Bengaluru as their incubation centre for carrying out anti-India activities,” he said.

Over 3,000 people went on a rampage on August 11 torching the residences of Congress MLA R Akhanda Srinivasa Murthy, his sister Jayanthi and DJ Halli and KG Halli halli police stations in Bengaluru.

The violence broke out over an alleged inflammatory social media post by the nephew of the Congress MLA.

Surya said there are reports that the NIA does not have sufficient infrastructure and human resources for conducting investigations. The NIA is currently operating with skeletal staff and that too from Hyderabad with only a camp office in Bengaluru.

Bengaluru being the financial nerve centre of south India, it is vital to keep the city safe from all terrorist and anti-India organisations and their activity, he added.

On his new responsibility as the head of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), Surya said his first visit will be to poll-bound Bihar to interact and meet the party’s youth wing volunteers.

“Yuva Morcha will nurture more grassroots leadership across the country. A young karyakarta (worker) like me has been given the responsibility of the national youth wing of the world’s largest political party in the world’s biggest democracy and in the world’s youngest country. This is possible only in the BJP,” he said.

Underlining that BJYM will continue to be a platform for all youngsters of the country, Surya said he feels the strongest leaders come from weakest sections of the society. And he wants to ensure that BJYM will be their platform.

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India’s Covid-19 caseload nears 60 lakh; recoveries cross 49 lakh

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NEW DELHI: India’s Covid-19 caseload neared 60 lakh with 88,600 fresh infections being reported on Sunday, while the number of people having recuperated from the disease crossed 49 lakh pushing the national recovery rate to 82.46 per cent, according to the Union health ministry.

The total coronavirus cases mounted to 59,92,532, while the death toll climbed to 94,503 with 1,124 people succumbing to the disease in a span of 24 hours, data updated at 8 am showed.

The total recoveries have surged to 49,41,627, and there are 9,56,402 active cases of coronavirus infection in the country which comprises 15.96 per cent of the total caseload, the data stated.

The Covid-19 case fatality rate was recorded at 1.58 per cent.

India’s Covid-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 30 lakh on August 23, 40 lakh on September 5 and it went past 50 lakh on September 16.

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), a cumulative total of 7,12,57,836 samples have been tested up to September 26 with 9,87,861 samples being tested on Saturday.

The 1,124 new fatalities include 430 from Maharashtra, 86 from Karnataka, 85 from Tamil Nadu, 67 from Uttar Pradesh, 57 from Andhra Pradesh, 56 from West Bengal, 54 from Punjab, 46 from Delhi and 40 from Chhattisgarh.

Total 94,503 deaths reported so far in the country includes 35,191 from Maharashtra, followed by 9,233 from Tamil Nadu, 8,503 from Karnataka, 5,663 from Andhra Pradesh, 5,517 from Uttar Pradesh, 5,193 from Delhi, 4,721 from West Bengal, 3,406 from Gujarat, 3,188 from Punjab and 2,181 from Madhya Pradesh.

The Health Ministry stressed that more than 70 per cent of the deaths occurred due to comorbidities.

“Our figures are being reconciled with the Indian Council of Medical Research,” the ministry said on its website, adding that state-wise distribution of figures is subject to further verification and reconciliation.

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