The second Taj Mahal might lack all the splendour and opulence Shah Jahan’s Taj Mahal stands for but, built by an Indian postman, it stands taller than the tallest of minarets or the biggest of durbars. In the once shared lovers’ abode of the run-down hovel, Faizul Hasan Qadri mentions, ‘’This is neither a palace nor a Taj Mahal, It’s a testament of my love for you (wife)".
The world identifies India with the proud Taj Mahal that stands majestically at the banks of Yamuna, but little is known about the monument in the quiet village of western Uttar Pradesh, Bulandshahr that stands an incomplete ‘monument of love', the mini Taj Mahal. Speaking to a cameraman, the 79-year-old opens a withered old poster of his wife filled with flowers that appeared out of the shadows. “Love is enough,” the poster says.
Faizul and his wife, Tajammuli, were married for 58 years. And when his begum left him a little too soon due to throat cancer, the retired postman took a vow to build his own Taj Mahal. Built very much like the Mughal’s past architectural glory, this Taj Mahal in Tajammuli’s memory has a central building with a rounded ceiling and archways and four towers are installed on the building’s perimeter.
“We were just a normal couple,” said Mr Qadri. It was an arranged marriage, a practice that remains widespread across India, and near-universal when he was a young man.“Whenever we had a fight and I was angry, she would keep quiet and vice versa.”Although coming from a more reserved cultural background, the duo never had any children. One day, Tajammuli asked who would remember them once they were gone to which he replied, “I will build a tomb that everybody will remember,”. It was for her, he said. And true to his words, after her death, he accumulated what he can to fulfil his promise.
Tajammuli lies buried inside the main building in a small tomb. Three years later, the project still remained unfinished as he had no money to hire workers. When offered for help, he would always say no, saying, “It is a proof of love. I have to do it on my own,” Lacking in resource but abounding in love and self-sacrifice, the mini Taj Mahal was left unfinished. Faizul Hasan Qadri, died in a road accident in Bulandshahr this November. Qadri, an ordinary man built the mini Taj Mahal in 2012 in memory of Tajamulli Bibi. Before his death, he had also donated his land for a government girl’s school, which is now fully constructed and is adjacent to the structure.
Also Read | Meghan Markle shows off baby-bump in this gorgeous, sequin black dress
During the construction of the tomb, Qadri had kept a certain space along the grave of his wife as he wished to be buried alongside his wife. The lesser-known lovers today lies buried next to each other.