Heritage politics in Gujarat makes Minister sulk in Charminar
By Cithara Paul - NEW DELHI
Published: 28th Jul 2013 08:28:57 AM
It is not clear whether the Congress’ new strategy is to invade Narendra Modi’s turf and woo Gujarati asmita. The UPA has decided to nominate Gujarat’s Rani Ki Vav (Queen’s Stepwell) to the Unesco World Heritage Committee (WHC) for world heritage status, rejecting Minister of State for Tourism K Chiranjeevi’s plea for the Qutub Shahi monuments in Hyderabad to be nominated, leaving him sulking.
The Culture Ministry is authorised to make the recommendation. Constructed by Queen Udayamati (1022-1063), Rani Ki Vav, which depicts Dasavataras —the 10 incarnations of Lord Vishnu—is considered a watermark of Solanki architecture.
“Till the last moment, the Qutub Shahi monuments, which include the Charminar was the main contender. Moreover, the tourism minister who hails from the state has been pushing for declaring it a world heritage site saying that so far not a single site in Hyderabad is included in the prestigious Unesco list,’’ said an official with the Tourism Ministry.
Chiranjeevi reportedly met Culture Minister Chandresh Kumari Katoch to push for Hyderabad’s case. He argued that it would give a leg up to tourism in the state, which has been affected by the Telangana struggle. But the government had other plans.
“Rani ki Vav was a surprise. Obviously there was some political pressure from the top,’’ said an official who was part of the nomination process.
He said the Qutub Shahi monuments have been vying for the heritage tag since 2010. According to him, Hyderabad’s plea was rejected on flimsy grounds like encroachments and communal tensions. The official said there was no pressure from Gujarat to nominate Rani Ki Vav and that the Centre itself made the nomination.
- The Sunday Standard