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
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.
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
Chandigarh, October 20: Joining the league of those making controversial statements on the Taj Mahal, senior Haryana Minister Anil Vij on Friday termed the marble monument as a “beautiful cemetery”.
“Taj Mahal ek khoobsurat kabristan hai,” Vij tweeted on Friday.
Vij, who is the cabinet Minister for Health and Sports in the BJP government in Haryana, is known for making controversial tweets and statements.
BJP leader Sangeet Som triggered a controversy last week by saying that the Taj Mahal was a blot on Indian culture. The Taj, a Unesco World Heritage Site and one of the seven wonders of the world, is visited by lakhs of people from across the world.
In a damage control exercise, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Tuesday said the famed monument in Agra was a part of Indian heritage and he is to visit it on October 26.
The 17th-century marble monument was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for his wife Mumtaz Mahal. Both were buried at the Taj Mahal.
Adityanath, whose BJP government in Uttar Pradesh has been accused of ignoring Taj Mahal in the tourism booklet of the state, said that the monument was constructed “by the blood and sweat of Indian laborers”.(IANS)
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.
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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Xochimilco in Mexico is known as ‘Mexican Venice’ and is home the popular floating gardens
The capital is conferred by the UNESCO as World Heritage Site
The floating gardens’ Chinampa farming and its cultivation techniques dates back to the pre-Columbian era hundreds of years ago
MEXICO CITY, July 31, 2017: At dawn in Xochimilco, home to Mexico City’s famed floating gardens, farmers in muddied rain boots squat among rows of beets as a group of chefs arrive to sample sweet fennel and the pungent herb known as epazote.
By dinner time some of those greens will be on plates at an elegant bistro 12 miles (20 kilometers) to the north, stewed with black beans in a $60 prix-fixe menu for well-heeled diners.
Call it floating-farm-to-table: A growing number of the capital’s most in-demand restaurants are incorporating produce grown at the gardens, or chinampas, using ancient cultivation techniques pioneered hundreds of years ago in the pre-Columbian era.
While sourcing local ingredients has become fashionable for many top chefs around the globe, it takes on additional significance in Xochimilco, where a project linking chinampa farmers with high-end eateries aims to breathe life and a bit of modernity into a fading and threatened tradition.
“People sometimes think [farm-to-table] is a trend,” said Eduardo Garcia, owner and head chef of Maximo Bistrot in the stylish Roma Norte district. “It’s not a trend. It’s something that we humans have always done and we need to keep doing it, we need to return to it.”
Xochimilco, on the far southern edge of Mexico City, is best-known as the “Mexican Venice” for its canals and brightly colored boats where locals and tourists can while away a weekend day listening to mariachi music and sipping cold beers.
It has also been a breadbasket for the Valley of Mexico since before the Aztec Empire, when farmers first created the “floating” islands bound to the shallow canal beds through layers of sediment and willow roots.
There’s nothing quite like it anywhere else in the world, and Xochimilco is designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage site.
But that World Heritage status and Xochimilco itself are threatened by the pollution and encroaching urbanization that plague the rest of the sprawling metropolis.
Enter Yolcan, a business that specializes in placing traditionally farmed Xochimilco produce in Mexico City’s most acclaimed restaurants Those include places like Gabriela Camara’s seafood joint Contramar and Enrique Olvera’s Pujol, which is perhaps the country’s most famous restaurant and regularly makes lists of the world’s best.
Yolcan has been around since 2011, but it’s only in the last year that business has really taken off with the number of restaurant partners increasing by a third during that period to 22. Last month five of them teamed up with Yolcan for dinner to benefit chinampa preservation.
The company directly manages its own farmland and also partners with local families to help distribute their goods, lending a much-needed hand as an intermediary.
“The thing about the chinampa farmer is that he does not have the time to track down a market or a person to promote his product,” said David Jimenez, who works a plot in the San Gregorio area of Xochimilco. “Working the chinampas is very demanding.”
All told Yolcan’s operation covers about 15 acres (6 hectares) and churns out some 2.5 tons of produce per month. Due to the high salinity of the soil drawn from canal beds, the straw-covered chinampa plots are particularly fertile ground for root vegetables and hearty greens like kale and chard.
Diners reserve weeks in advance for a coveted table at Maximo Bistrot, one of three restaurants Garcia runs. Meticulously prepared plates of chinampa-grown roasted yellow carrots with asparagus puree arrive at the table, accompanied by sea bass with green mole sauce and wine pairings in tall glasses.
Garcia estimated he gets about two-thirds of his ingredients from Yolcan or other organic farms nearby. He was born in a rural part of Guanajuato state where his family raised corn and largely ate what they grew, so sourcing local is second-nature.
“I think all of the world’s restaurants should make it a goal to use these alternative ingredients,” Garcia said, stirring a pot of beans flavored with the aromatic epazote herb. “Even though it’s a little more expensive, a little more difficult to find.”
Chinampa produce generally sells for 15 to 100 percent more than comparable goods at the enormous Central de Abasto, the go-to wholesale market for nearly all of Mexico City’s chefs that is so monolithic its competition sets prices across the country.
But chefs who buy from Yolcan are happy to pay a premium knowing they’re getting vegetables free of chemical fertilizers or pesticides and also supporting a centuries-old tradition.
Diners at Maximo Bistrot also said they enjoyed their meal, especially the burrata with chinampa-grown heirloom tomatoes. One couple said they are willing to pay the prices of these high-end eateries in order to have the best produce.
“We’ve eaten in 26 countries around the world, and for the price and quality, this was awesome,” said Kristin Kearin, a 35-year-old masseuse from United States. “I honestly think that using small producers is going to come back.” (VOA)