Professor Stephen Hawking's wish to see Taj Mahal remained unfulfilled during India visit
March 15, 2018
As the world celebrates the many achievements of Professor Stephen Hawking who passed away on Wednesday, a story about his visit to India is worth recounting.
About 17 years ago, when Professor Hawking had come to India, he expressed a wish to see monuments like the Red Fort, Humayun's Tomb, Jantar Mantar, Qutub Minar and the Taj Mahal. He even wrote to the late Javed Abidi, who was then the Honorary Director, National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP).
Mr Abidi gave the letter to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). Officials there said that not a single change could be made to a historical monument to make it accessible.
Dr Hawking was able to see only the Qutub Minar and Jantar Mantar, where temporary ramps had then been placed. The wish to see the Taj Mahal remained unfulfilled.
Apparently his visit was the reason why many of our historic monuments were later made disabled-friendly. That includes the Taj Mahal.
Dr Hawking's desire to see the monuments had put ASI officials in a spot. They were pushed to make famous structures accessible. This was something that India's disabled community had been demanding for a long time. It got acted upon only after Dr Hawking's visit.
Soon after he left, the then Tourism Minister, Ananth Kumar announced plans to make all world heritage sites in India, including the Taj Mahal, accessible.
However, it was only in 2016, 15 years after Dr Hawking's visit, that a joint initiative by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) and the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) decided to upgrade 50 prominent monuments, and make them accessible to the disabled.
This included plans to build disabled-friendly toilets, Braille signages, tactile floors, or pathways, railings, and ramps.
Watch in Sign Language
- Trending stories on NewzHook this week!
April 20, 2019
- Parenting Corner - Autism and dental health
April 20, 2019
- #AutismPower - Five takeaways from a run with Varun Sawant by Vineet Saraiwala
April 20, 2019
Read more on Newz Hook
- Get-hooked April 16, 2019 Inclusive Bowling event in Pune is the perfect weekend treat
- Headlines April 20, 2019 Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mayawati share dais at Uttar Pradesh
- Accessibility April 15, 2019 Anybody Can Paint helps visually impaired people find the artists within
- Headlines April 15, 2019 World’s largest plane takes off successfully
- Headlines April 14, 2019 Amitabh Bachchan pays 70 crore tax
- Accessibility April 18, 2019 Platforms at Coimbatore railway station will now get lifts
- Events April 15, 2019 NALS Adventure Camp
- Headlines April 17, 2019 Shatrughan Sinha's wife joins Samajwadi Party
- Get-hooked April 15, 2019 World Hemophilia Day 2019 aims for outreach & identification
- Headlines April 18, 2019 Google bans TikTok in India
Want to feature your inspiring story or share an event with the disabled community? Write to:
Newz Hook - Accessible News