The Other Taj Mahal

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Not this Taj Mahal

Received from Jo Vassie at Higher Ground Meadow, written by Times journalist Francis Elliot.  To see photojournalist Simon de Trey-White’s full blog post with excellent and touching photos go here

Villagers made fun of former postmaster Faisal Quadri when he first began building a Taj Mahal replica on the land next to his house but no more, now he commands respect in the sleepy village in rural Uttar Pradesh.  He refers to the monument as ‘yaadgaar’ meaning ‘in memory of’ and he built it to honour the wife he loved for 60 years, Begum Tajmulli, who died on the 23rd September 2011 aged 73. Quadri, a retired postal clerk began work on the tomb resembling a miniature Taj Mahal, 5 months after Begum died, in February 2012

Armed only with a dog-eared brochure from a visit to the Taj Mahal many decades earlier and a few rough sketches, Mr Qadri began working on his own scaled-down version in the field to the rear of his modest home four hours drive from Delhi. Though made of concrete and unfinished (he says it will cost a further 600,000 rupees to clad the structure in marble) the place has real presence and is remarkably reminiscent of Shah Jahan’s monument in an affectionate thumbnail sketch kind of way.

“He was a king,” he says of Shah Jahan, who built the Taj in memory of his wife Mumtaz Mahal.

“I have to build according to my capacity. Also he used government money to build it — I have taken money from no one.”

The final stone will bear the inscription. “This is not the Taj Mahal but it is the memory of love.”

See Simon de Trey-White’s blog post here


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