History & Culture

Badaun’s forgotten little Taj

BAREILLY

Taj Mahal, on the banks of the Yamuna in Agra, stands as a memory of the love Mughal emperor Shahjahan felt for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, who died in 1631. Few know that there is another monument in Badaun district, a miniature replica of the Taj, erected by the wife of Nawab Ikhlas Khan, governor of Bengal while Aurangzeb ruled the Mughal empire.

Historians say Nawab Ikhlas Khan alias Allahdiya, Mughal hakim (governor) of Bengal, died in 1660-61, reports The Times of India.

Shadab Zaki, a writer who also holds a PhD on Badaun’s local history, said, “After the death of Ikhlas Khan in 1071 hizri (1660-1661 AD), his wife had got the monument constructed in memory of her husband. Khan’s wife was a distant relative of Shahjahan.”

Zaki added that Khan’s grandfather, Qutubuddin, was a cousin of Jahanagir, fourth Mughal emperor who ruled from 1605 until his death in 1627.

Tanvir Qadri, who teaches in a government school in Badaun and is author of more than 20 books on local Islamic history, said, “There are numerous historical books that mention that Khan’s wife commissioned the tomb in Badaun, inspired by the Taj Mahal. However, the name of Khan’s wife is not mentioned in any historical book, including the one by the famous cleric Tasleem Ahmed Khan.”

Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has declared the tomb of Ikhlas Khan a protected monument.

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