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SC asks UP govt to encourage electric cremation at the burning ground near Taj Mahal

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Uttar Pradesh government to encourage the people to opt for electric cremation instead of going for the traditional method to cremate their dead ones at a cremation ground in the vicinity of the Taj Mahal.

Asking the Uttar Pradesh government to make electric cremation free from January 1, a bench of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice C. Nagappan said that people should be made aware of the importance of opting for the electric crematorium in order to save the Taj Mahal from the smoke emitting from the traditional method of cremation.

Its suggestion came as the state government expressed its difficulty in stopping the traditional method of cremation at the cremation ground near Taj Mahal as it involved the beliefs and sentiments of the people.

The court said that the Central Pollution Control Board would suggest the methods that could be adopted so that the emission of smoke from burning pyres could be minimized.

Asking the Uttar Pradesh government to make a comprehensive plan for the development and beautification of the entire area, including the cremation ground, the court said that people needed to be made aware of the hazards that smokes from traditional methods of cremation is causing to historic monuments.

The court order came in the course of the hearing in the wake of a letter from Justice Kurian Joseph – a sitting judge of the apex court – pointing out the danger to the Taj Mahal from the smoke and ash flying from the cremation ground located about 500 meters from the historic monument.

Justice Joseph noticed this during his recent visit to Taj Mahal. (IANS)

(Picture Courtesy:www.news18.com)

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Was Taj Mahal Once a Shiva Temple? The Debate over the Tomb Continues

According to some historians, Taj Mahal was incipiently a Shiva Temple offered to the Mughals as a form of the gift by a Rajput king

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Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal. Wikimedia Commons

New Delhi, August 16, 2017: The famous monument from the Mughal era, Taj Mahal is once more in contention as the Central Information Commission (CIC) has requested the Central government to clear up unequivocally whether it is a tomb or a Shiva Temple. An RTI came to the CIC regarding the same, in response to which the quasi-constitutional body solicited answers from the culture minister.

But where did this question come from and what is the source?

According to some historians, Taj Mahal was incipiently a Shiva Temple offered to the Mughals as a form of the gift by a Rajput king. The hypothesis says that the temple was later formed into the monument that dwells graves of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and his adored wife Mumtaz Mahal, mentioned IndiaNews.

Also Read: Firozabad Glass Industry is Declining: Is Taj Mahal to be Blamed? 

In 2015, a case was recorded in Agra by six lawyers, requesting that the tomb ought to be given over to Hindus for worship. The litigation solicited to forbid Islamic religious actions performed in the monument and remove the graves.

PN Oak, a revisionist historian also made the claim in his 1989  book “Taj Mahal” that the name Taj Mahal was procured from a Sanskrit word “Tejo Mahalay’ meaning a Shiva Temple.

The Cultural Minister Mahesh Sharma denied the claims in response to the question put forward to him that the Seventh wonder of the world was a Shiva Temple.


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Firozabad Glass Industry is Declining: Is Taj Mahal to be Blamed?

The age old industry which used to provide employment to many Indian artisans was forced to have a major shift when the artisans were banned from burning coal and forced to use costly natural gas to fuel their furnaces

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Glass Industry
Glass industry in Firozabad is declining. Wikimedia
  • Firozabad Glass Industry, an ancient industry and an integral part of Indian culture is facing a danger of closure
  • The decline has rendered many artisans unemployed

Agra, June 27, 2017– The glass industry in the city has received a huge blow and the workers are not blaming GST or rocketing fuel prices but the symbol of love and beauty, Taj Mahal.

The age old industry which used to provide employment to many Indian artisans was forced to have a major shift when the artisans were banned from burning coal and forced to use costly natural gas to fuel their furnaces.

The decision was taken by the authorities in order to preserve World Heritage Site Taj Mahal’s white marble which was yellowing from the smoke coming from the furnaces from the industry. The Firozabad glass industry is roughly 35 Km. away from the monument.

According to the reports by to Phys.org, Hanuman Prasad Garg, the President of glass industry association in Firozpur says, “because of the Taj Mahal, the entire industry is suffering.” Despite the efforts made, the Taj is still losing its lustre.

Many of us adore the beauty of the Taj but the same has become a curse for a huge no. of craftsmen who toil over furnaces to make colorful glistening bangles, an important part of Indian culture.

ALSO READ: An Unscientific Approach to Treating Asthma Naturally

The industry is believed to be as old as the Taj itself and dates back to Mughal-era.
As a result of the new regulations, many factories have closed or downsized considerably due to failure in coping up with the rising prices of natural gas, rendering the glass artisans unemployed.

“I have been making glass items since I was 10 years old. This is the only thing I know. My entire household is involved in this work.” Said Zafar Ahmad (an artisan) to AFP. He added, “But still it is so difficult to survive. I can’t even afford sending my four children to decent schools. I can’t imagine what will happen to them if God forbid I am out of work.”

Despite working in harsh conditions ( working in almost darkness in little flame has rendered many artisans blind and the smoke from furnaces has led to fatal respiratory diseases), the artisans earn a mere Rs.300 a day.

Authorities are now considering to close the district for good and the artisans are feeling that their days in the industry are numbered. The National Green Tribunal has taken samples from the furnaces for a test of pollutants. It is considering shifting the entire industry elsewhere.

Shahbaz Ali, chairman of the National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation told Hindustan Times, “No one can take away their talent. They have a rich traditional knowledge, we are just polishing it.”

– prepared by Nikita Tayal of NewsGram. Twitter: @NikitaTayal6 

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Thirsty six-feet-long snake leads to panic among tourists at Taj Mahal

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Taj Mahal, Pixabay

Agra, May 16, 2017: An unexpected visitor slithering through the shrubs in the gardens around the Taj Mahal, in search of a water and a cool place, led to panic among tourists at the 17th-century monument on Tuesday, officials said. The snake was later captured by wildlife experts.

As soon as tourists saw the six-foot-long reptile, there were shrieks and shouts for help.

The snake was found hiding under a water cooler in the water filtration plant and Archaeological Survey of India officials immediately contacted Wildlife SOS.

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ASI Senior Conservation Assistant Munazzar Ali said: “There are four RO plants inside Taj Mahal to ensure proper water supply for public water taps. As soon as the snake was spotted inside the plant, considering safety of tourists and workers, we immediately contacted Wildlife SOS for their assistance.”

The team from Wildlife SOS, which reached the spot, identified it a harmless rat snake, feeding mostly on birds and rodents.

The plant was stopped, workers and curious tourists moved to a safe distance before Wildlife SOS activists started the rescue process. After an hour long operation, the team managed to successfully extricated the reptile and moved it safely in to a transport container.

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“The severe heat must have driven this snake in search for water and a cool place. We thank ASI and the officials of the Taj Mahal for considering the safety of the tourists and the snake and contacting Wildlife SOS.

“Such sensitive rescue operations require expert staff to address these situations as well as patience and a high degree of skill. The rescued snake was kept in observation for some time after which it was released back in to its natural habitat,” said Wildlife SOS’ Director, Conservation Projects, Baiju Raj M.V. (IANS)

NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt.