There appears to be a method in the madness to the revival of the assault on the Taj Mahal. While Yogi Adityanath may have backed off, realising that one of the world’s most-visited tourist attractions was a money-spinner for his financially mismanaged state, the likes of Sangeet Som, Vinay Katiyar and Subramanian Swamy bash-on regardless.

There is a clear link to their utterances ~ they have little positive with which to “sell” themselves, so Taj-bashing is a sure-shot to getting some publicity. Few politicians are sensitive enough to discern the subtle difference between fame and notoriety, anything that helps hit the headlines is par for their curious course. Otherwise nondescript, they believe that pampering to Hindutva sentiments will retain some “space” for themselves.

Not that the BJP minds too much, the “senior” leaders can always disassociate themselves when there is a backlash. Or get their officials to mount a damage containment exercise on the diplomatic/economic front. After all if Mother Teresa could be assailed why not a Mughal monarch ~ even if we are now being told that Hindu artisans built the marble masterpiece.

In reality, however, the more the Taj is trashed the greater does its glory allure ~ and its detractors actually seek to revel in that reflected glory, it guarantees their name in bold print.

Clearly lost to the BJP today are the consummate, delicate skills of Atal Bihari Vajpyee. There was artistic symbolism to his selecting Agra as the venue of his potentially game-changing summit with Pervez Musharraf, and the latter’s visit to the Taj was no accident.

Alas, the “buzz” is that television channels’ streaming pictures of the General and his Begum getting mushy and lovey-dovey at the Taj is what alerted the powerful Corps Commanders back home to the possibility of Vajpayee’s charm-offensive making a mouse of the politicallynaïve General so they swung into action ~ the story took a different turn when Musharraf returned to his hotel, And the rest, as they say, is history.

Yet it was an exercise mounted with great finesse. The “point” is that history must be exploited to advantage not sought to be re-written to spread divisive poison. After all, the Prime Minister on Independence Day still addresses the nation from the Red Fort, which like the Taj Mahal was constructed by Shahjehan: and the first BJP leader elevated to the office of President of India has not opted out of Rashtrapati Bhawan, raised in colonial times.

Belittling the Taj Mahal is in fact a manifestation of an inferiority complex that afflicts some saffron entities ~ they seek to demolish what they are incapable of creating. The universallyacclaimed monument to love will weather many a hate-laced storm.