"I am not saying this in air but there are documents to prove this," he said.Likewise, the Agra court case was filed by lawyer Hari Shankar Jain, who claims to be a sympathiser of the RSS, a Hindu nationalist organisation with close ideological links to Mr Modi's BJP.A legal case, first brought by six lawyers in Agra in April, claims that the monument famously built by a seventeenth-century Mughal emperor as a tomb for his beloved wife was originally an ancient shrine to the Hindu god Shiva.Questioned in parliament on Monday, Dr Mahesh Sharma, India’s culture minister, said he was aware of the suit, but that “the government has not found any evidence which can suggest that Taj Mahal was a Hindu temple of Shiva”.The case which will be decided at Allahabad High Court today was launched in 1992 and seeks to determine the rightful title owner of the plot, whether the site was the birthplace of Lord Rama, and whether the mosque was built on the site of an ancient Hindu temple. If it finds in favour of Hindus who want to rebuild a Ram Temple on the site, it will alienate India's 140 million muslims, many of whom already feel marginalised in Indian society.It will also cause anxiety over their property rights – most plots and mosque sites in India were once owned by Hindus.Theories over the Taj Mahal’s supposed Hindu heritage have abounded for decades, albeit well outside the historical mainstream.In his 1989 book Taj Mahal: The True Story, revisionist historian PN Oak claimed the monument was built in 1155, decades before the Muslim invasion of India.
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The general, Mir Baqi, named the mosque in his emperor's honour, but it became more commonly known as 'Masjid -i-Janmasthan' – Mosque of the Birthplace – in acknowledgement of Rama's birth there.
Since the first Hindu-Muslim clash was recorded over the issue in 1853, there have been intermittent protests and petitions by each side to establish their claim to the site.
More than the ruling itself, public reaction to it will be another test of how far India has travelled from its dark, communal recent history.
The government is hoping those on either side of the divide now care more about their rising wealth and their stake in India's growth than settling ancient religious scores.