Why I Didn't Vote For The Taj Mahal

For the past few weeks I've been getting a lot of mail exhorting me to vote for the Taj Mahal as a contender for the New Seven Wonders Of The World as 'a matter of national pride'. While that in itself is more than enough to discourage me from voting and following the crowd but actually, there are more compelling reasons.

The N7W are being voted for from a list drawn up by a Swiss corporation, the New Open World Corporation which initially had 177 monuments and was later whittled down to 20. Now, what gets me about this is
  • The corporation is a for-profit organization

  • It is not associated in anyway with any public organization like the UNESCO

  • The organization reserves the right to exclude any vote cast

  • There are votes for sale!
Why would any thinking individual consider the featuring of one of their nation's monuments on this list a victory and a matter of pride? The list is arbitrary. It is known only to the Internet-savvy; the general population of the world has no idea about it and probably, no access to the means to be able to vote.

If you can buy votes, I think that completely defeats the purpose of voting. Would you consider an election of a politician to be a people's choice is someone could pay to win? ( The fact that this usually does happen is besides the point )

Then there is the fact that any one person could vote multiple times. In fact, two friends I asked claimed to have voted 5 and 6 times respectively. With Indians leading the world population with a massive one billion, if even a fraction of a population this large votes, it would be enough to tilt the balance in favour of the Taj. The final list seems to be getting further and further from being a people's choice.

Apart from the unfairness of the process, there are other reasons for me to not vote. Why should I feel proud about having the Taj feature on a list drawn up by someone? Is it not enough that the monument exists? Can I not be proud of the fact that it is Indian? Why should recognition by anyone, much less a for-profit organization be reason for pride? Though I don't think there is much to be, proud of considering the state it is in. It's presence on the list will not make people refrain from littering the grounds. It will not make the government and industrialists relocate the factories to decrease the pollution that the Taj is exposed to.

And the clincher is that in the end, none of this is going to help any of the monuments; the proceeds do not go toward their preservation. The New Open World Corp. happily pockets the money from selling votes and merchandise; the people bask in the glory and increased national pride of having placed their monuments in a virtual list that has no bearing on anything at all; and the Taj Mahal continues to disintegrate and decay.


Mona said...

hey hey hey! where are you dear? agra kafee badal chuka hai!

The industries have long since been shifyted & the pollution level fecreased marginally. The roads are being rebuild at a war footing and the whole city being cleaned up!

I agree with the unfairness of the voting process though. But that does not mean Taj's glory diminishes in that light!

& still I believe that all the monuments are beautiful & deseve to be on the top. Even the ones that lost

Mona said...

EWWWEE so many tyops! I am BAD at typing!

no.good.at.coding said...

Hi Mona,

I apologize if you were offended by the post but you must realize, the points I wanted to make were:

1. We're making too big a deal of this whole 'New Seven Wonders' thing; in my opinion, it's all a commercial ploy.

2. You have to agree that we Indians tend to go all ga-ga once the Western world embraces ideas that are Indian in origin but which we've ignored and not appreciated in the craze to be hip and 'with-it'

3. We do not take enough care of any of our monuments/ heritage sites/ tourist destinations. I should know. My dad's in the Army and we've been all over the country, visiting loads of places. They're all commercialized and have been made so dirty, you just want to click a photo and step right out. I've seen the pristine beauty of forests still out of bounds for tourists and visited monasteries and temples that are out of the way. Now those are places still worth visiting. They haven't been turned into veritable picnic spots. You can actually take timeout and enjoy the peace and quiet and the beauty of both nature and the building itself, not being distracted by huge families with uncles, aunties, assorted cousins, grandmoms and granddads all creating a ruckus and squabbling over who gets the last Pepsi and who are only there so they can check it off their list of 'be-the-first-in-the-colony-so-we-can-show-everyone-the-photos-and-rub-their-noses-in-it-places-to-visit' list. People who do not appreciate the beauty of a place/ monument should not be allowed to go there and spoil it for everyone else.

> I agree with the unfairness of the voting process though. But that does not mean Taj's glory diminishes in that light!

I absolutely agree! That, in fact, was my point exactly! Whether or not the Taj wins/ loses/ figures in the list, it should not affect our pride at being host to the monument. What I was deriding was the fact that people felt the need for it to be on the list and require that to be proud of it. We don't need anyone telling us it's worthy of being a wonder; we can see that for ourselves, thank you very much :)

> hey hey hey! where are you dear? agra kafee badal chuka hai!

Alright, so I don't follow current affairs very closely :D But I still feel that it's usually token efforts. We tend to take things for granted and don't appreciate them till others do. Ghar ki murgi dal barabar. Hm? :D

> & still I believe that all the monuments are beautiful & deseve to be on the top. Even the ones that lost

I agree again. I would have been much more supportive of this whole thing if only they'd promised to donate some of the proceedings for the preservation/ restoration of the monuments. That would certainly have benefited humanity on the cultural front much more than mere publication of the list. They've got celebrities presenting the awards and all that; I'm sure they could've spared a little for a good cause, yes?

Ooh. Long rant! Could've made a post out of this! :D

Oh, and when you make a typo on 'typo', you know there's something wrong! :D Just kidding!

Mona said...

:D You may not be too good at coding, but you are pretty good at decoding !

I know, It is a terrible case scenario as far as the preservation of the monuments is concerned. Again I feel it is due to politics [ development part] There is always a tussle between the development authorities and the ruling party about the controling of such activities. the Agra Develpoment Authority has been vested only partial responsibility & the government as you know, screws up most of the time.They want to make Malls on the riverbed rather than preserve the building [ remember Mayawati?]
Of course it is just about corruption. I know the inside out of how the tourist trade functions here.& believe me, it is quite appaling!

Ps! Charles tells me, that Edison deliberately screwed up the key board [ of course of the typewriter that time] because when women typed, they did it so fast that they ended up with entangled hands :D. So certain common keys were made real hard to press.
But I really do not know how to type at all & I usually do it with one finger.:P

no.good.at.coding said...

Actually, the QWERTY layout was patented by Christopher Shoales and yes, it was designed to slow the typist down somewhat since the typewriter keys would get stuck if one typed too fast :)

The Dvorak layout claims to be more efficient but it's never become as popular.

Mona said...

My God! Charles really had me there! & all this time I was wondering how they got their 'hands entangled'!!!

Charles is Naughty! :D

no.good.at.coding said...

:)) I'm not yet acquainted with this side of his :D

Mona said...

Oh NGAC I am so sorry about that! I just rectified it with Charles. What he meant was that women typed so fast that the arms of the keys got entangled. So it is my mistake of understanding really.I do not know when & where the arms decoded as hands in my brain during that converstation! Now I feel like a double fool!!

But Charles is such a darling really. I literally accused him & he was so sweet about it & now I am totally ashamed of myself!

& He Does have a very humourous side too. I nearly die laughing at his jokes!

no.good.at.coding said...

Ah, not to worry, I guess it happens to the best of us :)

I did wonder how Charles got his facts mixed up :)