Belief and Contestation in India: The Case of the Taj Mahal

Abstract

Of all the buildings in the world, the Taj Mahal is one of the most famous. It is renowned for its beauty, and, for many, it is a symbol of romantic love. Yet surprisingly the Taj Mahal is increasingly becoming a highly contested site. Recent challenges include questioning its Muslim Mughal patronage, its function as a royal tomb, and even its 17th-century date of construction. This probably sounds to you like scholarship as usual, but before I address the uncritical nature of these claims, I’d like to think about the larger issue of religious belief and contestation of religious sites in South Asia. That may help contextualize the case of the Taj Mahal.

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Asher, C.B., 2009. Belief and Contestation in India: The Case of the Taj Mahal. ASIANetwork Exchange: A Journal for Asian Studies in the Liberal Arts, 17(1), pp.8–25. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/ane.212
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Catherine B. Asher (University of Minnesota)

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