Shah Jahanís palace was national monument till 1961!
This is a discussion on Shah Jahanís palace was national monument till 1961! within the RTI News & Discussion forums, part of the RTI News, Circulars and Decisions category; Reported by Paul John in Timesofindia.indiatimes.com on Jul 30, 2012 Shah Jahan&rsquo;s palace was national monument till 1961! - The Times of India AHMEDABAD: The caretakers of Shah Jahan's palace ...
- 07-30-2012, 05:39 AM #1
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Shah Jahanís palace was national monument till 1961!
Reported by Paul John in Timesofindia.indiatimes.com on Jul 30, 2012
Shah Jahan’s palace was national monument till 1961! - The Times of India
AHMEDABAD: The caretakers of Shah Jahan's palace in Shahibaug may believe they have the right to make additions to this historical monument because it is not a listed heritage building. But information received under RTI shows that until April 11, 1961, the palace was listed with the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) as a monument of national importance, just like the Mughal emperor's other masterpieces - the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort.
Importantly, the present caretakers have not given details about who gave them permission to make additions to the palace to the RTI applicant.
The nearly 400-year-old structure was stripped of the protected status only because the governor of the newly formed Gujarat state did not have a grand residence in 1960. Today, its occupiers are taking the liberty of the destroying parts of the monument in the name of renovation.
"There are some critical questions that the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Memorial Society, taking care of the palace, has refused to answer under RTI," says Usha Chandna, a writer by profession, who filed the application in November 2010.
The questions she asked include who owns the palace and the area around it, on what basis is the present Mughal structure being redone and who gave the society the authority to make changes. The society also did not give details of its agreement with the state government.
"The central government has sanctioned Rs 17 crore for the renovation of the building but the society fails to answer how the funds are being utilized," says Chandna.
The palace was the official residence of the governor from 1960 to 1978. After this, it was decided to turn it into a memorial, which was founded on March 7, 1980. The importance of the palace can be gauged from the fact that it was one of the first structures Shah Jahan built for himself. The Taj Mahal came later. P 2
Moti Shahi Palace's Mughal Identity Has Been Erased
Moti Shahi Palace in Shahibaugh, better known as Sardar Patel National Memorial, is just a skeletal remain of what the grand palace used to be till the late 1920s.
Even the British understood the importance of the building, especially because there was no other significant building that Shah Jahan had built for himself before the Shahibaugh Palace.
Agra's Taj Mahal, Red Fort in Delhi, large sections of Agra Fort, Jama Masjid, Shalimar Gardens and the Jahangir mausoleum came much later than the one he built for himself in this part of the city.
In just four decades, the building underwent a series of demolition activities. First, the connecting passage on the first floor of the building between the two bastion structures went missing.
The second to go were the buildings that formed the flanks of the palace that gave its vastness. In its place came the new office wings built in sand stone.
The Mughal gardens which were present at the entrance of the monument were nowhere to be seen. The two-storied structure has a grand darbar hall, styled after all Mughal palaces.
Adjacent to it were octagonal rooms on each side. Today, these very rooms have been re-done and re-plastered with cement and concrete with false ceilings ó completely incongruent to the Mughal architecture and style.
Many do not realize that that it was from this administrative building that Shah Jahan - while he was the governor of Gujarat in September 1618 AD - had opposed his father's proposal of allowing the British ambassador Sir Thomas Roe to built a permanent residence in Gujarat.
This was the British's first attempt to establish trade with India.
On emperor Jahangir's advice, Shah Jahan had extended the British ambassador Sir Thomas Roe a 'farman (decree)' allowing the British to trade with the state but understood the cunning ways of Sir Thomas Roe, and did not allow the British to build a permanent base in Gujarat.
"Its sad to know that despite the palace being one of the earliest buildings of Shah Jahan's structures in the country, nobody gave it due importance. Nobody understood its significance," says historian Makrand Mehta.
"Today, most of Shah Jahan's structures are national monuments and represent our country's pride and are protected by the Archeological Society of India (ASI) , but not this palace in Shahibaugh. This is because of sheer lack of knowledge. The building represents the essence of Mughal architecture and should be preserved. The government should intervene to stop this demolition," says Mehta. The palace was the official residence of the governors of Gujarat after the state of Gujarat was formed in the year 1960.
"Even till a decade ago, some portions of the building made by the Mughals were intact and there was some scope of restoration. But today none of it remains. One must ask whether the architect employed by the memorial holds a credible degree in conservation," says a senior official of the Sardar Patel memorial.