Akbar's Agra in need of a caring hand

Akbar's Agra in need of a caring hand

While the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) perhaps forgot all about it, the Braj Mandal Heritage Conservation Society made it a point to mark the occasion. After all, it was in Agra that Akbar had spent many years of his life.
Conservation Society president Surendra Sharma, claiming to speak on behalf of Akbar, read out a decree listing what all needed to be done to restore the Taj city’s lost glory and historical importance.

Had Akbar been alive, we “would not have been helpless spectators to the torturous killing of the city’s lifeline Yamuna,” Surendra Sharma said.
Historian Ramesh Chandra Sharma said,  “Akbar’s experiments in governance, his ideas relating to coexistence and mutual tolerance of each other’s faith and recognition of talents like the nine jewels, have to be seen as part of a rich legacy he left behind.”

Akbar’s commitment to freedom of expression and respect for contrary views should be taken note of by the fundamentalists, Sharma added.
Akbar, a popular ruler of his time, was known for his intellectual contribution and advocacy of a composite culture through his Din-e-Ilahi, a concept that is of relevance in the present context of terrorism and religious intolerance, said retired wing commander HS Sisodia.

Other rulers like Shah Jahan were famed more for their architectural ideas whereas Akbar is widely considered the greatest of the Mughal emperors and has been christened ‘Akbar the Great’, Sisodia said.

Talking about the sad state of urban planning in Agra, speakers accused government agencies of destroying the ethos of this Mughal city.
VP Singh said politicians of all hues were hell bent on rampaging the grand Mughal city with Quixotic ideas that had resulted in haphazard planning.
Eco-activist Ravi Singh said the historical monuments in Agra city were in a bad shape.

“The conservational efforts were poor. While developing new areas, no care was taken to ensure that the new structures were compatible with the Mughal ethos of this city,” Singh said.

Others said Akbar’s tomb in Sikandra and the Agra Fort needed urgent conservational efforts.

They also suggested that the city be made home to a Mughal museum and special arrangements be made for tourists to experience authentic Mughlai cuisine.
A 10-point charter of demands relating to infrastructure development and improvement in civic amenities was presented as a firman or decree from Akbar for implementation by the district authorities.