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Marketing Taj, a wonder-ful money spinner

Jul 01, 2007 01:22 PM IST India India

New Delhi: It’s an invitation that’s hard to resist especially when it comes with a strong suggestion of judging you on how patriotic you are. Also thrown in is a chance for you to participate in making history. So, no wonder then that everyone wants to contribute to helping the Taj Mahal make it to the Seven Wonders of the World list. And the countdown for the new Seven Wonders list has begun with five days to go for the announcement. “Type TAJ and SMS it to 4567. People please vote,” says a student, Vipul Malhotra. While another student and Taj enthusiast, Ipsanah Rashid Khan appeals, “I request everyone to please vote for the Taj Mahal.” The euphoria perhaps is well deserved. After all, it’s only now that the new Seven Wonders list will be drawn but the inclusion itself may not translate into actual results for the Taj. “The Seven Wonders list is a completely unofficial and meaningless one. However, it has been very exciting to see the euphoria but the real achievement will be if this great mass movement gets more people involved with heritage sites,” Conservation Architect Ratish Nanda says. Taj itself gains little from this list, as it has no relief from stinking riverfront or addition to funds for its upkeep or even a sudden spurt of tourists. But the foundation behind the campaign has its commerce worked out – there are coffee mugs, T-shirts, bags, official new Seven Wonder pins that can be bought on the website. Also on offer are tours, screensavers and an official song. “It is a marketing ploy to generate revenues through the Internet. So, the question is are all these ways of making personal gains?” Nanda asks. Inclusion or no inclusion, Shah Jehan's white wonder will always remain an architectural marvel – an ode to romance and historic splendour.