The Taj Controversy: Not Right to Disown CultureThe omission of Taj Mahal from the booklet listing tourist attractions in UP, brought out on the occasion of completion of 6 months of the Yogi government, cannot be a miscommunication, as explained by state minister Sidharth Nath Singh. It is a deliberate attempt to exclude a World Heritage site and one of the Seven Wonders of the World. A clue to this was available when Yogi Adityanath had said sometime back that Taj Mahal did not reflect Indian culture. His government has also stopped giving replicas of the Taj to foreign dignitaries.
By Sunil Garodia
What is Indian culture? Is it not an amalgam of the cultures of all communities living in the country? Or is it limited to temple architecture? Is not India enriched by having such diversity? In any case, Yogi Adityanath is not an authority on Indian culture. His government is using the perks of office to impose its views. Obviously, this is just a passing phase.
But segregating heritage sites and monuments according to who built them is a dangerous trend. Going by this, the iconic Howrah Bridge in Kolkata or the Gateway of India should also vanish from lists of attractions in their respective states. Thankfully, not many people in the country think like Adityanath.
It is a disgraceful thing to compartmentalize culture. There is no Muslim architecture or Hindu architecture. All architecture is a reflection of the region from where people come. If people from Central Asia and Middle-East and Europe came and made India their home, they infused their own identity on Indian architecture and culture. Apart from typical minarets on Muslim architecture, India boasts of English, French, Portuguese and Dutch influence in places like Chandannagore, Pondicherry, Goa and Kerala, apart from cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai. This bond has resulted in a uniqueness that is totally Indian, an amalgam of the cultures of all people who are Indians or had once ruled over the country.
Hence, the UP government and other BJP governments thinking along these lines would be well advised not to become the authority on deciding what comprises Indian culture. Indian culture is not limited to only Hindu culture. Let us celebrate the diversity of our culture and our people. Let us allow a million flowers to bloom instead of working towards spoiling the garden.