East India Company Nearly Dismantled Taj Mahal

When it comes to Taj Mahal, seems like not a year passes without a controversy of some sort. There was the Taj Corridor Project that most likely did some permanent damage to the monument. And now there is the Waqf Board trying to claim it as theirs. Of course, there are the descendants of Shahjahan (the Mughal Emperor generally accepted to be responsible for the construction of the Taj Mahal) himself who claim to have superior right over the monument than either the Waqf Board or the ASI. Thankfully, the court threw out the latter petitions while ASI is challenging Waqf Board’s order.

The latest that I’ve heard (based on a report in The Times of India) is that back in 1835, the East India Company nearly sold it off for its marble!

… the company had decided to dismantle the monument and auction its marble in 1835, under the rule of Lord William Bentinck.

(Aside: A little history primer for those of you who’re not aware. British came to India as traders of the East India Company and slowly took over the country. The first 100 years of British rule on India was actually the rule of this company. It was only after the 1857 War of Independence that lasted about a year that the British Crown took over the country’s governance).

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