Adityanath’s government in Uttar Pradesh has drawn criticism for not including the Taj Mahal in the state Budget’s plans to “maintain of places of cultural and historical importance to promote tourism”, the Hindustan Times reported on Wednesday.
The new Uttar Pradesh government’s first Budget, presented by state Finance Minister Rajesh Agarwal on Tuesday, does not mention the Taj Mahal – a Unesco World Heritage Site – in the section titled “Hamari Sanskritik Virasat” (Our Cultural Heritage).
The structure from the Mughal era has been left out from a number of other schemes launched to develop infrastructure in Ayodhya, Varanasi and Mathura, which has prompted critics to call the Budget a Hindutva one.
“The identification of heritage with Hindu identity is in complete contradiction with UP’s ‘sanjhi virasat’ [shared heritage),” Athar Siddiqui of the Centre For Objective Research And Development told the Hindustan Times.
Although criticised, the government’s move did not surprise many as Chief Minister Adiyanath had made it clear in June that he did not believe that the Taj Mahal “reflected Indian culture”. On June 16, he had said that foreign dignitaries visiting India are now gifted epics like the Bhagvad Gita and the Ramayan instead of replicas of the Taj Mahal and other minarets.
Lucknow University Professor Rajesh Mishra has advised the Uttar Pradesh government to not link religious places with the state’s work and to try not to “appease the people of one religion and complete disregard others”.
Others believe that neglecting the Taj Mahal will harm the state’s tourism. “Agra has three world Heritage sites and deserved a better deal in budget,” said Secretary for Tourism Guild of Agra Rajeev Saxena.