Indians are waking up to the ongoing poll for selecting the new seven wonders of the world and gearing up to vote to ensure that Taj gets into the list of modern wonders.
As we all know, the Emperor of Hindustan Shah Jehan had constructed this magnificent mausoleum at an astronomical cost in memory of his wife Mumtaz Begum who had died on the banks of Tapti river in Burhanpur.
It is a different story though that Mumtaz' eldest daughter Jehan Aara was buried at almost the same time in a grave that was covered only with grass.
Jehan Aara felt that ultimately grass outgrows all graves, howsoever magnificent they may be. (She had Sufi leanings and had written a book on Khwaja Moiunddin Chishti.) But Taj proved to be an exception.
Six months after her burial in a temporary grave at the gateway of Deccan, Burhanpur, the body of Mumtaz Mahal was exhumed and rested in a grave in Agra on December 28, 1631 . Again, after two months (Feb 9, 1632) the body was finally buried in the mazaar meant for her in the Taj Mahal.
Ustad Isa Afandi was brought for Iran for construction of this magnificent tomb. The biggest problem for them was to save the monument was erosion of the foundation from the waters of Jamna (Yamuna). Hundreds of deep wells were dug and tonnes of lime, rubble, brick pieces and sand were deposited in these wells so that the water could be soaked. Recently some such wells were found during digging near Taj.
Ustad Isa Afandi was brought for Iran for construction of this magnificent tomb. The biggest problem for them was to save its foundation from the waters of Jamna (Yamuna).
Hundreds of deep wells were dug and tonnes of lime, rubble, brick pieces and sand were deposited in these wells so that the water could be soaked. Recently some such wells were found during digging near Taj.
Taj Mahal has fascinated the world for the last 350 years. In 1927 Himanshu Rai had made a film Shirazi that was based on the Taj. It's sole print is available in a Pune museum which was shown in Australia last year. In the decade of sixties Mahboob Khan had hired famous Hollywood writer Rober Bolt to write a story of Taj Mahal.
Just like Shahjehan had called a Persian architect to build Taj, Mahboob Khan, himself a Mughal, called a European to write the story. The script couldn't be completed but a copy of this incomplete work was in possession of Sunil Dutt. Do we expect that his son, Sanjay Dutt, would be having it with him?
Taj is described as a tear on the cheek of time. It has inspired poets and writers though we have verses like Sahir Ludhianvi's nazm 'Taj Mahal' that says 'an emperor on the strength of wealth has played a cruel joke on the poor'.[ek shahanshah ne daulat ka sahaara le kar/ham gharibon ki mohabbat ka udaaya hai mazaq]
Taaj tere liye ik mazahar-e-ulfat hii sahiiIn 1963 movie Taj Mahal, Pradeep Kumar and Bina Rai played the role of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz. The lyrics of the film were an instant hit. In 2005, Akbar Khan's ambitious project, Taj Mahal, that was a Rs 100 crore project, bombed at the box office.
tum ko is vaadii-e-ra.ngii.n se aqiidat hii sahii
mere mahabuub kahii.n aur milaa kar mujh se!
bazm-e-shaahii me.n Gariibo.n kaa guzar kyaa maanii
sabt jis raah pe ho.n satavat-e-shaahii ke nishaa.N
us pe ulfat bharii ruuho.n kaa safar kyaa maanii....
A symbol of love is Taj for you,
A place of fun, frolic for you.
But my dear, for my sake, Meet me at another place.
Not for poor this palace
Royal grandeur fills this place.
How can young innocent hearts Be at peace in these parts?
main Taj hun
waqt ke chehre par thamaa huaa aansu hun
sangmarmari jism mein qaid awaz hun
main insani hauslon aur iraadon ki bulandi ka parcham hun
main tavarikh ke warqon men insaani jazbaat ka khilaa huaa gulaab hun
main waqt ke darya ke bahar nikle haathon ke zuban hun
main hazaron mehnat kashon ke....
main Taj hun
Isa Afandi aur Shahjehan jo kahin duur dafan hain
voh tarikh ki parton se nikalne ke liye beqarar hain
aur main unki beqarari ka bayaan hun
main Taj hun...
Every person who is passionate and puts in a great effort in his work with utmost integrity and devotion is creating a Taj Mahal.
(Translated from Jai Prakash Chaukse's story published in a Hindi daily on June 4, 2007),