An 80-year old Fiazul Hasan has done something bizarre. Aretired postman from Uttar Pradesh, he has built a replica of the Taj Mahal inmemory of his wife who passed away in year 2011 because of throat cancer. Lotsof people lauded him as "the real Shahjehan" and the exact epitome of true loveby being what they call "common man's Shahjehan".
Media flashed him as the 'real hero' carrying headlines like'Post Master gives 'Taj Mahal' tribute to his late wife' and 'Meet Today's ShahJahan'. Even the daily Washington Post reported, 'A common man's labor of love:A mini Taj Mahal for his beloved wife'.
Centuries later, taking a leaf out of Shahjehan's famed'epic of love', the old man had been working hard for years to built amausoleum outside his home in his compound. He sold his farmland and his wife'sjewelry, and spent some 11 lakh rupees on the structure. He also planned tostud the monument with marble, costing him another 6-7 lakh rupees, but hisdeath in a road accident draw a sad curtain on all this. Interestingly, he haddecided not to take any financial help any source, and do it on his own.
No doubt, one cannot stop people from owning differentmeanings of different concepts. Every emotion has its own paradigm and peopleare free to manifest its realization or attainment as it suits their frame ofmind. The ambit of emotions cannot be contested as long as it doesn't border onabsurdity or displaces a certain setting of honesty. Emotions can be as sacredand profane as their elemental construction would be.
In case of "today's Shahjehan", the discourse of absurditybecomes unavoidable, especially in the wake of media hype around such 'news'.There is this sense of silliness that emanates out of this story from beginningto end. Instead of draining out so laboriously over the construction of a brickand stone building, Faizul Hasan had an option to donate his money for somephilanthropic cause. The same would have earned solace for his wife's soul andmade her much happier.
Ironically, the old man's tale is not the story of love,it's the travesty of his past and his present. His annals are replete withlegends and fables that have been puffed up to the extent of historical import.The whole claptrap of allegorical history, presented in a way that deludes hissense of reality. A deliberate attempt to glorify the trivial and attachmemoirs to it.
Shahjehan as a "true lover"; his "immortal love"; "Taj, asymbol of love"; and blah blah. The whole cocktail of misrepresentations hasleft some images and meanings erroneously sacrosanct and inspirational.
And then, Taj Mahal remains just a marvelous symbol ofIranian architecture built over several decades by thousands of slaves. Thecolossal expenses incurred in building the structure were actually drained fromthe empire's treasury. Shahjehan increased the land tax in order to fill histreasury for construction of Taj Mahal.
No gain saying that from Red Forte in Delhi to Taj Mahal inAgra, the palatial forts and various other structures built by the mughalemperors of India smack of lavish lifestyle of rulers of the times. Hedonismand lack of vision actually prompted them to empty the coffers of the kingdomrecklessly.
Rather than investing in educational and other sectors thatwould have benefitted the commoners, Shahejehan made an ostentatious display ofan emotion that requires no bricks or bucks for being immortalized. Had moneybeen spend on welfare fortification of public, things would have been differentfor the class of people to which Faizul Hasan belongs. Educationally backwardand historically ignorant, people of this community in India would have beenruling the roost.
Alas! Shahjehan was too happy in creating poignant parodyand leaving behind a wrong legacy of love as well as living. Perhaps, that'swhy he saw Mumtaz dying during her fourteenth child delivery and soon after herdeath, Shahjehan left no time to marry Mumtaz's sister!