HindustanTimes Fri,24 Oct 2014

Miss Universe Olivia Culpo’s Taj incident stirs a big debate

Hindustan Times  New Delhi, October 08, 2013
First Published: 16:27 IST(8/10/2013) | Last Updated: 18:43 IST(8/10/2013)

Most foreign celebrity visits to the Taj Mahal are splashed big and hailed proudly, but Miss Universe Olivia Culpo’s recent visit to the monument of love didn’t turn out so lovely. For its guardians, that is. The American beauty pageant winner, accompanied by her entourage, made a trip to Agra on Sunday for a full-fledged shoot of designer shoes.

These were brought out one after the other and also placed on the legendary ‘Diana Seat’, and photographed repeatedly with the Taj in the background. While the security officials did not stop them on the spot, the Archeological Survey of India is probing the matter.

The event, which was in violation of Supreme Court guidelines against commercial activity at the heritage site, has left archaeologists, historians and sociologists livid. “Everyone is equal before the law, so why was she given such a privilege in the first place? That, in itself, is reason enough to hurt the sentiments of a common Indian,” says Prof Vivek Kumar, senior sociologist, JNU.

Others say the matter should be brought to book. “Quite often, we see celebs violating rules and regulations at public places. They should realise that they can’t get away with it. Miss Universe should’ve respected the sanctity of the historical monument. A trial is fair enough,” says Mala Kapur Shankardass, sociologist.

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