The Archaeological Survey of India is doing a great job with the financial constraints they have. But once in a while they do something which makes you want to bang your head on a nearby archaeological structure. One such incident came to light when we found from whom the ASI takes instructions — Emperor Shah Jahan. The fact that the emperor has become fossil fuel hundreds of years back has no effect on the ASI. They dare not violate one of his orders, for what if he comes out of the grave.
The issue is regarding the pay for the Imam who takes care of the mosque in the precints of Taj Mahal. Shah Jahan had fixed it at 15 gold ‘asharfis’ about four hundred years back. Now after adjusting for the new currency and inflation, the ASI has come up with an amount which should provide him with a posh life — Rs. 15. Yes, he gets fifteen rupees which is the amount an auto driver would charge you in Chennai if you looked at his vehicle.
“The salary of the Imam was fixed in accordance with the spirit of the Mughal ‘firman’ (rules), issued by Shah Jahan, who had fixed it at 15 coins,” said an ASI official.
“What else can we do, we are bound by the will of the emperor,” the official told IANS over telephone from Agra.
Ironically, a peon appointed by the government to assist the Imam, receives a monthly salary of more than Rs.5,000.[For ASI, 15 Mughal gold coins and Rs 15 are same]
Someone gotta break the news, gently, to the ASI official that the emperor is not going to strike back.