Social Viral

No, Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan didn’t chop off hands of workers who built Taj Mahal

Written by Facto News Desk

On December 13, 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated Kashi Vishwanath Corridor in Varanasi. Before inaugurating phase 1 of the Kashi Vishwanath temple corridor project, he honoured its construction workers by showering flowers and later had lunch with them.

Referring to Prime Minister Modi’s gesture towards construction workers, TV News Anchor, Amish Devgan during his Prime Time show-Aar Paar, praised PM Modi for his humility and criticised Mughal ruler Shah Jahan. He said that Shah Jahan chopped the hands of all the construction workers who built the Taj Mahal.

He also tweeted a video clip of the show with a caption that reads, “मुग़ल बादशाह शाहजहाँ ने ताजमहल को बनाने वाले मज़दूरों के हाथ कटवाए थे, और भव्य काशी धाम बनाने वाले मज़दूरों पर PM मोदी ने फूल बरसाए हैं ।” (English translation, “Mughal emperor Shah Jahan had the hands of the workers who built the Taj Mahal chopped, and PM Modi showered flowers on the workers who built the grand Kashi Dham.” Archive of the tweet can be found here.

Many Twitterartis also shared the same post on Twitter.

The link to the post can be seen here.

The link to the post can be seen here.

The post is also viral on Facebook.

FactO check:

With the keyword search, “shah jahan cut the hands of workers”, we found a report published by a website The Taj Tour.  The report suggested the following reasons to prove that Shah Jahan did not amputate the hands of 20,000 construction workers of Taj Mahal:

1. There was no archaeological evidence like hands to suggest mass amputation was done.
2. Neither contemporary books nor foreign visitors ever mentioned it.
3. During Shah Jahan’s period construction never stopped. He also founded the city Shahjahanabad. If the story was true, no worker would have supported the construction.
4. Shah Jahan constructed pucca houses near Taj Mahal (now called Taj Ganj) for all the workers.

The report also said that the myth came from reality according to which says Shah Jahan imposed a moral foundation on his workers that they cannot work for any emperor. In modern times, we call it a contract between the emperor and his workers. So, the saying “hands of the workers were amputated” came into being as these workers could not seek new work from any other emperor. had also earlier busted the viral claim. According to scroll, “Had an outrage of the kind Sharma describes actually occurred in Shah Jahan’s time, we would have heard about it from European chroniclers, who were always on the lookout for salacious gossip, and not above manufacturing myths.” The report also said that the historical records reveal that artisans working for the Mughals were paid reasonably well.

The Times of India also reported that the story is popular among the local guides in Agra. The report also debunked the viral myth saying that ‘After finishing the Taj, Shah Jahan’s workers built for him a whole new imperial city called Shahjahanabad in Delhi. It would have been well nigh impossible to maim thousands of expert artisan and find replacements to work on another equally grand project in such a short time.”

Thus we can ascertain that the viral claim that Shah Jahaan chopped off the hands of the workers who built the Taj Mahal is fake.

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Facto News Desk

FACTO™ is a registered trademark of FACTO Digital Media (OPC) Private Limited, Trademark registered with the trademark registry of India under the Trademark act 1999. FactO News of FACTO Digital Media (OPC) Private Limited is an independent fact-checking platform committed to fighting misinformation/disinformation, false and fake news that we come across social media and mainstream media. We provide our readers with verified facts and educate them on issues that focus on but not limited to political, communal, and social aspects.

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