An Indian postmaster has built a mini Taj Mahal in memory of his late wife, three-and-a-half centuries after Mughal emperor Shah Jahan built the grand structure, one of the wonders of the world, for wife Mumtaz Mahal, Hindustan Times reported.
Faizul Hasan Qadri, 80, married Tajamulli Begum in 1953. After 58 years of marriage, she passed away from throat cancer in 2011.
Following the death of his wife, the retired postmaster put all his finances into erecting the monument in India’s Uttar Pradesh.
However, construction came to a halt owing to financial constraints.
Qadri says he initially sold a piece of land for INR600,000 and his wife’s gold and silver jewelry for INR150,000 and got the ‘makbara’ (mausoleum) constructed with the help of a local mason.
“A total of INR1.1 million was spent, but I still need to get marble studded on the monument and also to build a lush green park around it, both of which is likely to cost me another INR600,000 to 700,000,” Qadri said.
Nevertheless, he was proud of his creation and doesn’t need charity for it. “The structure is built on my own land and I have also tried to plant some trees around it and have a small water body at the back side of the building.”
“While the marble costs are high, a number of people have offered me money that I have refused to accept so far. This is my personal endeavour for my late wife and embodies my love for her. So, I should do this on my own,” he maintained.
However, am upcoming meeting with Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow seems promising.
“The chief minister wants to meet Qadri to appreciate his efforts and to offer some financial help so that he can complete his unfinished building,” said an additional district magistrate.
Qadri, on the other hand, has other plans for the meeting. “I will go to meet him and request him to get my village school recognised by the education board instead,” he said.
His monument may not be as grand or popular as the original but it has caught the attention of villagers and nearby residents who flock to the site to get a glimpse of the ‘Taj Mahal’.
“I travelled almost 25 km with my friends just to get a glimpse of this structure. The efforts put in by him is really commendable,” said Zakir Ali, a resident of Pahasu.
“My wife and I once wondered if anyone would ever remember each other if one of us dies,” he recalled, adding that he asked his brother to bury him in the mausoleum by his wife’s side.
“My wife is dead. I will also die someday. The monument too might not stand forever. I just wish to see it complete before I die.”
The article first appeared on Hindustan Times