Last Wednesday, a 32-page booklet entitled “Uttar Pradesh Tourism – Unlimited Possibilities” was unveiled. It highlights the key attractions in UP but Taj Mahal, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World was not mentioned in the booklet. Earlier this year, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said: “Foreign dignitaries visiting the country used to be gifted replicas of the Taj Mahal and other minarets which did not reflect Indian culture.”
On Tuesday, many international channels including Washington Post, BBC reported the news,
“Is India neglecting its iconic Taj Mahal because it was built by Muslims?”
Abhishek Manu Singhvi who is a spokesperson from Congress party said: “How can you imagine tourism in Uttar Pradesh or India without (the) Taj Mahal. If it is indeed a booklet on tourism and excludes the Taj, it shows a clear religious bias which is completely misplaced. At one level it is a joke and at another level it is tragic. Such pettiness diminishes India.”
Famous writer and historian William Dalrymple wrote: “Crazy fundo monk Yogi Adityanath government removes Taj Mahal from Uttar Pradesh’s tourism list”.
On the other hand, Awanish Awasthi, Yogi Adityanath’s principal secretary told the media that, “The Taj Mahal is the seventh wonder of the world. It has always been a priority not only for Uttar Pradesh but for the entire country of India. It will always be central to all our tourism policy but there were some other new projects we wanted to feature.”
Earlier, Golden State Warriors player Kevin Durant who came to India on an official National Basketball Association tour told the Athletic website, “As I was driving up to the Taj Mahal-like I said, I thought that this would be holy ground, super protected, very very clean. And as I’m driving up, it’s like, (expletive), this used to remind me of some neighbourhoods I would ride through as a kid.”