A day after BJP MLA Sangeet Som called the Taj Mahal a “blot” on the country’s history, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said no country can develop without taking pride in its heritage.
Speaking on the occasion of 2nd Ayurveda Day in the national capital, Modi said: “No matter how much a country strived to develop, it will never succeed till the time it takes pride in its heritage.”
“A country that forgets its history and heritage is destined to be doomed,” he added.
Som had said that the Taj Mahal – one of India’s top tourist destinations and a world heritage site — was built by “invaders” and was a “blot” on Indian culture and history.
Som, known for his inflammatory speeches and accused of instigating the deadly Muzzafarnagar riots in 2013, triggered a fresh row by his remarks on the Taj Mahal.
The controversial BJP lawmaker from Sardhana in Meerut also misquoted history by saying that Shah Jahan, who built the 17th century marble mausoleum in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, had jailed his father and wanted to wipe out the existence of Hindus from the country.
His remarks at a rally in Meerut on Sunday came days after the Uttar Pradesh government removed the Taj Mahal — one of the Seven Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage site — from the list of attractions in its tourism booklet.
(With inputs from agencies)