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Agra’s Mughal museum to house Braj artefacts as well: Official

Agra’s under-construction Mughal museum, which will be named after Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji, will house artefacts from Braj region of Uttar Pradesh as well, a senior government official said here on Wednesday.

“The Braj region comes under Agra division. Braj region and Agra division will be included in the museum and work will be done in a speedy manner,” additional chief secretary (home and information) Awanish Awasthi said.

Also read: Taj Mahal’s reopening to give Agra’s marble trade a new lease of life

Braj, also known as Brij or Brijbhoomi, is the region around Mathura-Vrindavan and is considered to be the land of Lord Krishna. The area stretches from Mathura, Jalesar, Agra, Hathras and Aligarh to Etah, Mainpuri and Farrukhabad districts.

On Monday, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath had announced that the museum would be named after Chhatrapati Shivaji.

However, former chief secretary of the state Alok Ranjan claimed that Braj was anyway part of the initial plan conceptualised in 2015. He said the project was conceptualised in 2015 and it was to be completed in 2017-18. “An interpretation centre is built there (in Agra). It consists of videos, books and audios about Taj Mahal and other monuments. It also houses the art and craft of the local area. The local art, culture and heritage is available to the foreign tourists in their language. There were stalls of art and craft of Agra as well as the Braj area. A very good complex had come up,” he said.

Asked if Braj was included in the initial plan itself, Ranjan said, “I think it was.” He said the basic objective behind planning the museum was to earn more revenue for Agra. “Tourists come from Delhi, visit Agra and go back. As a result, the hotel industry, restaurants, shops, craftsmen don’t earn any revenue,” Ranjan, a 1978-batch IAS officer, added.

“More revenue will be generated if people spent a night in Agra. For a night halt, the attractions will have to be increased. How long will people keep watching the Taj Mahal? Certain things were thought of and we developed the entire area around the Taj Mahal…We built an interpretation centre, art and crafts centre on the lines of monuments abroad, cobble-stone pathways, antique lighting. One part of it was also to develop the Mughal museum. The idea was to reflect the Mughal history, their lifestyle and culture of that period, along with art, literature,” he said.

Meanwhile, member of Parliament (MP) from Agra, SP Singh Baghel has expressed gratitude towards Yogi Adityanath for his decision to rename the under-construction Mughal Museum after Shivaji.

He said, “As Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj came to Agra Fort, it is being named after him. As Agra’s MP, I welcome this.” Baghel said Agra’s history was not just Mughal history. “When there is a museum, Mughal emperors will be mentioned, we will not remove them,” he said, adding, “but when foreign tourists come, we cannot tell them that there were only Mughals here.”

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