Mainly Hindu religious places find mention in the UP government’s 2018 calendar, with token presence of Muslim, Buddhist, Jain and Sikh monuments
Biswajeet Banerjee, National Herald.
In a quest to promote Hindu religious places as tourism hubs of Uttar Pradesh, the Yogi Adityanath government has neglected Muslim shrines and even historical sites of Lucknow, raising a big question on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government’s much touted philosophy of `Sabka saath, sabka vikas’ (When everyone is together, everyone benefit).
This ugly face of the UP government came to the fore when it released the calendar of 2018 and the same was distributed among masses during Diwali. Of the 12 months in this calendar, seven have pictures of Hindu religious places including Prayag in Allahabad, Vidhyavasinbi temple in Mirzapur, Kashi Vishwanath in Varanasi, Holi of Barsana in Mathura, Ayodhya’s Ram ki Paidi, Krishna Janmasthali in Mathura and Gorakhnath Temple in Gorakhpur of which Yogi Adityanath is himself a Mahant.
The calendar also has pictures of Stupa of Sarnath (Buddhism), Nanakmata Sahib in Pilibhit (Sikhism) and Devgarh Jain Temple in Lalitpur. Two historical monuments – Taj Mahal in Agra and Jhansi Ka Quila in Jhansi – also find mention in the calendar. TourismMinister Dr Rita Bahuguna Joshi said that this calendar reflects the priority of the government and has identified places which need to be projected as tourism hubs.
“The religious places were neglected during the previous regime. Now, we have decided to promote them in a big way,” Dr Joshi said.
The said calendar is printed by the Department of Information and Publicity of Uttar Pradesh government and carries the pictures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath with the slogan – “Sabka saath, sabka vikas – Uttar Pradesh Government ka satat prayas.” (Everyone together, everyone’s progress is the mission of the U.P. government)
The said calendar has raised many eyebrows. Nawab of Lucknow Mir Jaffar said that the Yogi government might have a priority to promote Ayodhya, Kashi and Mathura but it cannot neglect monuments like the Imambaras of Lucknow. Both Chota and Bada Imambara are historic monuments and people from far-flung areas come to see them. The Bhul Bhulaiya of Lucknow is architectural beauty which has mesmerized people across the globe, he said.
“As the Yogi government wants to promote religious tourism, it cannot ignore imambaras as they have religious significance too as it is a shrine built by Shia Muslims for the purpose of Azadari,” he said.
Scholars also question as to why Yogi has missed out on Dewa Sharif – a mofussil town in Barabanki, neighbouring Lucknow, famous for the shrine of Haji Waris Ali Shah, a Sufi saint, who has followers across the world.
Samajwadi Party spokesman Rajendra Chaudhry said that Yogi government’s slogan of Sabka saath, sabka vikas was a farce. The mantra of this government is only to go for `apna vikas’ (our own progress) “Can you ever think of a government which identifies places that need to be developed as tourism hubs on the basis of religion? This is the Yogi Government.”he said. You can’t compare it with the Akhilesh Yadav government which had promoted all religious places, he added.
He has a point. When Akhilesh Yadav was Chief Minister, he had passed an order where eight prominent religious places in Uttar Pradesh received uninterrupted power supply, “Our government had provided 24-hour power supply at Dargah Kichaucha Sharif (in Ambedkar Nagar), Dargah Naseemabad ( Hastinapur), Panch Pyare, Dewa Shareef, Shravasti, Mathura and Vrindavan,” he said adding: “This is Sabka saath (everyone together) and sabka vikas (everyone’s benefit) in the true sense”.
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