Chinese State Media: Hindu Extremists Like PM Modi See Taj Mahal as ‘Stain on Indian History’

TOPSHOT - Visitors take a photo in front of the Taj Mahal in Agra on January 3, 2018. India is to restrict the number of daily visitors to the Taj Mahal in an effort to preserve the iconic 17th-century monument to love, its biggest tourist draw. Millions of mostly Indian …
DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images

China’s state-run Global Times argued in an editorial Thursday that some “Hindu extremists” affiliated with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in India consider the Taj Mahal a “stain on Indian history” given the temple’s Muslim roots.

The Chinese newspaper states:

[S]ome Hindu extremists think that the Taj Mahal should not be considered part of Indian culture. Some people even called the Taj Mahal “a stain on Indian culture” and remarked that it “should not have any place in Indian history.”

Indian scholar Shashi Tharoor wrote in his article “The Siege of the Taj Mahal” that “India’s Hindu extremists have long considered it humiliating that a monument built by a Muslim emperor could be Hindu-majority India’s most recognizable site. The difference now is that this is no longer a fringe group; its members are now in power in Uttar Pradesh, with enablers leading the government in Delhi.”

The Global Times goes on to claim that “the government” Tharoor alludes to in his report refers to the BJP, noting that the party is popular in Uttar Pradesh, home to the Taj Mahal.

Predominantly Islamic countries like Pakistan, India’s neighbor, and some NGOs have accused Hindu extremists of persecuting Christians and Muslims and forcing them to convert to their religion.

Pro-Hindu nationalism “President Modi only wants one religion,” recently proclaimed David Curry, the head of Open Doors, an organization that tracks the persecution of Christians.

Curry added that the mistreatment of Christians in India is on the rise under Modi.

The Global Times notes:

Although the Taj Mahal combined the architectural styles of Persia, Central Asia, the Hindus, and Rajputs, in its entirety, the building has been constructed in keeping with Islamic architecture. All important parts of the pattern and text show that its spiritual world belongs to Islam.

In honor of his “favorite” deceased wife, commonly known as Mumtaz Mahal, the 5th Mughal emperor of India Shah Jahan completed the construction of the temple between 1631 and 1648, reports UNESCO, which considers the revered structure a World Heritage site.

China and its ally Pakistan consider their neighbor India to be an economic and military rival.

Angered that a component of China’s ambitious One Belt One Road (OBOR) project would run through the Pakistan-occupied portion of Kashmir, India has refused to support the effort, also known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

China, Pakistan, and Indian all have competing claims to Muslim-majority Kashmir.

Last year, China and India de-escalated a standoff at the Doklam region that sits along their border.

The tensions in Doklam stem from China’s decision to deploy troops to accompany workers seeking to extend a road into the Doklam region.

Months after the nearly 70-day standoff between the two rivals, Indian reportedly thwarted a repeated attempt by Chinese workers to build a road on the Indian side of the China-India international boundary.

.