The Candidature of the Taj in the New7Wonders Contest may have only brewed a minor controversy, but has become a reflection of the eristic attitude of a segment of our society.
Ask a random individual on the street whether or not he has voted in the n7w contest and one is likely to receive any of 3 common responses.
The first comes from the emotional patriot, who enthusiastically responds in the affirmative and calls upon his fellowmen to iterate the action. Another class of people, characterised by blunt honesty that should only be appreciated, answer in negative attributing it to their lack of interest in the Taj’s prospects in the event. They are not hesitant to elucidate that the event fails to stir any emotion within them, be it curiosity or patriotism.
A third category of people falls exceedingly short of being classified in the first and resists being clubbed with the second. Those belonging to this category are characterised by a clear disinterest in the event but are armed with numerous explanations warranting their non-participation. It would be unsurprising if this third category of people would be congruous with the hypocritical middle class that has for long formed an ugly facade of modern Indian society, known to equivocate when questioned of their involvement in societal affairs such as voting and charity.Astonishingly, the roots of hypocrisy and bigotry that were believed to have been confined to the middle-aged have seemingly penetrated the youth. As revealed by public polls of news channels conducted on the streets of our cities and by discussions on online youth forums, young adults do not hesitate in throwing an accusation without judging its implications on their own attitude.
In the context of the n7w contest, many defend their non-participation not with honest dismissal but with allegations ranging from trivialisation of the issue of conservation of our monuments to the contest’s inadequacies in bringing about any significant boost to its preservation. In short the contest is at the receiving end for not living up to expectations that it had never promised in the first place, because certain individuals wish to defend their lack of initiative in taking a stand while denying any neutrality towards the event.
In this course, an international platform that can only give the Taj further exposure globally and reinforce its glory and magnanimity takes a beating at the hands of our inner turmoil.
Though it is only fair to raise concern over the crumbling tombs of Delhi or the choking River Yamuna, the Taj Mahal’s candidature is in no way a liability to the same.
Those of us who point fingers attribute the deflection of public attention from more solemn issues of preserving our deteriorating heritage to the campaign for promoting the Taj in the contest. A more optimistic lot would have credited this contest for bringing to the public eye this plight of our other monuments, even if in the form of controversy. Though some may claim that voting for the Taj in the n7w contest is ‘not enough’ of an effort to preserve our monuments, none can justify what is ‘enough’ to compensate and how exactly it is an adequate substitute for the vote.
Few can suggest redemptive measures to save our crumbling heritage and none can implement it or get involved. (It took a German tourist’s initiative to clear the Dal lake of pollution due to plastics) Nonetheless it is far too easy for us to throw allegations at governments and other organisations for their inactivity while we are secured in complacency. And thus, we continue to seek scapegoats to justify our actions, or in this case, the paucity of it.
Though the example of the New7Wonders may not be substantial for a verdict, one is inclined to wonder if the hype around an initiative-oriented-youth has any basis, or shall soon become a matter of the past.