Hindutva Urbanism: BJP wants de-recognition of Champaner Word Heritage Site

Image Copyrights: Razi Abidi

Another example of politics trumping common sense and a collective belonging to our past is what is happening in Champaner. Champaner rightly finds itself on the UN World Heritage Sites list.

This site was given the status of World Heritage site by UNESCO in 2004 after 22 years of persistent effort by a Vadodara based NGO, Heritage Trust, led by a noted architect – Karan Grover. [link]

However the local BJP politician finds this a hinderance.

However, a debate is currently raging among the pro-heritage and anti-heritage lobbies, the latter being largely fueled by Niraj Jain, a BJP member from Vadodara. In spite of the obvious advantages to the local people from the world heritage site status of this area, which include strengthening of the local economy due to increased tourist influx and consequent reduction in the labour migration to surrounding cities, the anti-heritage lobby is complaining against the restrictions put on construction of commercial and residential structures in the protected zone, lack of local consultation, and they feel that Muslim monuments are getting more attention than the Kalika Mata temple, the latter complaint has obvious communal overtones.

But wait, that’s not all. In a classic case of the “head not knowing what the tail does” the Gujarat government is…

Ironically while the anti-heritage lobby led by a BJP member is demanding a de-recognition of this place as a World Heritage site, the much touted ‘Vibrant Gujarat’ website of the Gujarat government proudly proclaims that the “Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park” was added to Unesco’s World Heritage List in 2004.

Maybe it would be a smart thing for the tainted BJP chief minister Narendra Modi, to stand up for once and put a stop to this bullshit. Might even get him some votes. Will it happen…..ah ! wishful thinking you might say.

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