Mughal ‘prince’ claims Taj Mahal

Himalayan News Service

Lucknow, June 25:

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), the waqf board, an Agra resident... and now one more claimant pledging to be the true Mughal descendant has emerged from Hyderabad for “custodianship” of India’s prized Taj Mahal. ‘Prince’ Yaqub Habeebuddin Tucy , who says he is the great great grandson of Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar, arrived here on Thursday to stake his claim for the famed 17th century monument in Agra as a “true descendent of the Mughal lineage”. He has filed a formal petition before the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board, which is already in the process of finalising its decision on a similar application moved by Agra resident Irfan Bedar and is expected to give its verdict tomorrow. Bedar had gone to court seeking muttawaliship (trusteeship) of the Taj Mahal on the basis of the Sunni board’s claim the monument was a Muslim waqf (trust). In doing so, he had contested the exclusive right of ASI over Taj Mahal.

Under Islamic law, every waqf must have a trustee. The primary question to be determined by the board tomorrow is on the status of the Taj. Does it merit to be registered as a waqf or should it be allowed to remain as a property of the federal government?

But Tucy says only he can be the legitimate “custodian” of the monument. “I never thought of coming forward so far because the Taj was being looked after by the ASI. But I got concerned

when I learnt a state government run body and another individual were staking claim to the monument. After all, I am a true descendent of the Mughal lineage,” Tucy said. “What I am interested in is this — if at all the custodianship of the Taj Mahal has to be transferred, it must go only to the rightful descendent of Shah Jahan,” he added. He said Bedar had no connection with the dynasty. Tucy has attached a detailed account of the Mughal family tree from the time of Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Mughal emperor who was dethroned by the British in the 19th century.