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PM Modi’s Gifts For Foreign Dignitaries Will Surprise Adityanath

Be it a replica of a mosque or a Holy Quran manuscript, Modi’s gift list is far from being narrow-minded. 

Updated
India
4 min read
PM Modi’s Gifts For Foreign Dignitaries Will Surprise Adityanath
i

Yogi Adityanath, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, recently made a statement about Taj Mahal and other minarets having no connection with India’s culture or heritage at a function in Darbhanga, Bihar.

Speaking in context of gifts given to foreign dignitaries, he said:

This is the first time this has happened when India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi goes abroad, or any foreign President visits India, he is gifted the Shrimad Bhagavad Gita or Ramayan.
Yogi Adityanath

Here’s the video where Yogi Adityanath speaks about Taj Mahal having no connection with India’s culture.

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Yogi Adityanath is right that Prime Minister Modi has gifted copies of Bhagavad Gita on a few occasions. It was in the news when he gifted one to former US President Barack Obama. Also when he visited Japan, he carried them for Emperor Akihito and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

But Yogi is in for a shock if he sees the full list of gifts presented by Modi in the last three years.

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

When it comes to gifts, one size doesn’t fit all. Gifts for Prime Minister’s foreign trips seem to be carefully picked keeping the recipient in mind. They not only represent India’s diversity and rich cultural heritage, but also the relationship between the two countries.

On his visit to Saudi Arabia, Modi’s gift for King Salman represented an important part of Indian cultural heritage and India-Saudi trade ties. It was a gold plated replica of the first mosque in India, the Cheraman Juma Masjid built in 629 AD.

When Modi visited Iran, he carried a special gift. A rare 7th century manuscript of the Holy Quran written in Kufic script.

For the President of Uzbekistan, he carried a specially commissioned replica of Khamsa-i-Khusrau by the 13th century Sufi poet, Amir Khusrau, who was born in Uttar Pradesh.

For Prime Minister Enda Kenny of Ireland, he carried a reproduction of historic manuscripts and papers of two Irish officials who made important contribution to India during the British rule.

Thomas Oldham was appointed the geological surveyor in 1850s. His joining day is marked as foundation day of Geological Survey of India. Sir George A Grierson conducted the first linguistic survey of India, which was published over several years between 1903 to 1928. It provided the first scientifically-based taxonomy of Indo-Aryan languages.

To former UK PM David Cameron, Modi presented a pair of bookends with inscriptions from the Bhagavad Gita.

For the Queen, among other gifts, he had Darjeeling tea from Bengal and organic honey from Jammu and Kashmir

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To former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Joseph Harper, Modi presented a traditional Indian miniature painting showing Guru Nanak Dev with his disciples Bhai Bala and Bhai Mardana.

Former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was presented with a painting of Mahatma Gandhi.

Here is a partial list of gifts given by Modi during his foreign trips as compiled from the information shared by him and Ministry of External Affairs through their tweets:

A list of gifts given by Modi during his foreign trips.
(Photo Courtesy: AltNews)
A list of gifts given by Modi during his foreign trips
(Photo Courtesy: AltNews)

Capturing The Cultural Diversity And Rich Traditions of India

The above list may not meet Adityanath’s approval, but it captures the cultural diversity and rich traditions of India.

Be it a replica of the first Indian mosque or miniature painting of Guru Nanak Dev, be it a manuscript of the Holy Quran, a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, or a book on Indian religions, the list is far from a narrow-minded interpretation of the idea of India.

It showcases art and traditions from different states of India. It is well-researched and has a personal touch.

For example, German Chancellor Angela Merkel who is a doctorate in Chemistry was presented papers of Nobel Laureate CV Raman.

The list doesn’t grudge history, it accepts it, as in the case of historic manuscripts acknowledging contributions of famous Irishmen during the British rule.

When we compiled the list, we were pleasantly surprised by the amount of thought and preparation that seems to have gone into it. Yogi Adityanath may disagree, but the list is a fairly balanced representation of Indian culture, history and traditions. Kudos to those who came up with it.

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(The views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same. The original article was published on Alt News.)

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