Wah Taj!

Last month my email inbox and the cell phone inbox persuaded me to take similar actions. The news channels were not behind after all. The so called patriotism had swept all over us and we stood as a nation for the inclusion of ‘Tajmahal’ into the list of seven wonders. On the D-day we all rejoiced at the announcement. Our very own lady Bipasha Basu was present at the grand ceremony where Tajmahal was declared at the topmost seat for the new seven wonders. Great! We got the first place.

Now a few questions which we need to analyse and understand.

Whose selection was it? What was the medium of such a declaration? Who authorised this new-seven-wonders list? What did we derive out of it?

Answer. A private venture sets on to decide the new-seven –wonders of the world on the basis of a global poll. Swiss filmmaker and museum curator Bernar Webber was the man behind this project. On the other hand UNESCO rejected the polls and all its declaration as they thought it gave ‘a negative message to the countries whose sites have not been retained’. Now here comes the catch. The company received some 90 million votes. I need not tell how much did our cellular companies or the television channels and other big brands ‘gained’ out of it. There was this new wave where game shows and news channels and advertisements everyone tried to bring in us that feeling of patriotism. The goal was achieved but no real result came out of it. This saddens me but there is a flip side to it too. It was not all loss after all. The selection will give a great boost to our already booming tourism industry. Also the money made by the grand ceremony is to be used for the rebuilding of massive sculptures.

Around this time another event of greater importance happened. UNESCO listed Red Fort in its World Heritage sites. This news of great importance did not last even a day on our television sets or the newspapers. The duty towards our heritage should not be directed by media. I have nothing against Taj Mahal but by secluding other heritage sites we are definitely shutting doors for their improvement. I cross the ‘Tirpollia gates’ near (Gurmandi-Nala, North Delhi) every day. They are more than a century old and presently declared by the archaeological department as heritage site. It is in a devastated condition, a shelter for pigs, cows and reduced to a public toilet. So, after 60 years of independence, I suppose, we should realize the responsibility we have towards what we call our ‘Heritage’. We need to preserve the places which are lost in the annals of history.

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