The Taj Mahal is an ode to love. It was built in Agra by Moghul Emperor Shah Jahan to entomb his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal in 1653.

The Taj Mahal is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Hundreds of thousands of tourists from the world-over visit India every year. The holiday is incomplete without a visit to the Taj. Indians from various parts of the country make it a point to travel to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. It is one of India’s iconic buildings.

But in a decision that belies rationale, the Taj Mahal was removed from the state of Uttar Pradesh’s (UP) booklet on tourism. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, had earlier said Taj Mahal replicas must not be given to foreign dignitaries because the structure does not reflect Indian culture.

Sangeet Som, a BJP lawmaker in UP, while addressing supporters in Meerut, said the Taj Mahal is a “blot on Indian culture” built by “traitors”. Other BJP leaders claimed that it was built on a temple. These comments by senior BJP leaders have angered the majority of India. To Indians, the Taj Mahal is not only a memorial but an iconic historical structure. Sensing anger spreading across the country, Adityanath made a sudden turnaround and said the Taj Mahal was built by the blood and sweat of Indians. It has been put back in the booklet on UP tourism.

The BJP leadership must rein in its politicians because comments such as these are devoid of basic intelligence and reek of ignorance, showing them in a poor light. The Taj Mahal is an ode to India’s treasured syncretic culture.