Did Shah Jahan amputated the hands of the workers of the Taj Mahal
The Taj Mahal is one of the most exquisite structures ever built by any emperor. It was constructed by the fifth Mughal emperor in the fond memory of his favorite wife Mumtaj Mahal. The Taj Mahal in terms of architecture, is one of the most symmetrical structures in the world, constructed using pure white marble and adorned with precious and semi precious stones. The construction started in 1631 and got completed in 1653 AD; 20,000 workers worked day and night together for 22 years. But after the completion of the Taj, did Shah Jahan ordered to amputate the hands of 20,000 workers?
The answer is NO because of the following reasons:
Firstly, there is no archaeological evidence like skeletons of hands if this mass amputation was done. Secondly, it is not mentioned in any of the contemporary books nor the foreign visitor’s ever mentioned it who visited India during his time. Thirdly, the ruling time of Shah Jahan is called “Golden Period of Mughal Construction”. During his ruling time construction never stopped. He constructed Moti masjid and Taj Mahal in Agra, Red fort and Jama Masjid in Delhi; founded a city called Shahjahanabad. If he had ordered amputation then no worker would have supported his ventures.
What happened in reality and where did this myth came from?
In reality Shah Jahan imposed a moral boundation on his workers that they cannot work for any emperor. In modern time, we call it as a contract between the emperor and his workers. So, the saying “hands of the workers were amputate” came into being as these workers could not seek new work from any other emperor.
Another fact is that Shah Jahan constructed pucca houses near Taj Mahal (now called Taj Ganj) for all the workers. His extravagant expenditure started draining his royal treasury, enraged by this his son and successor Aurangzeb confined him.