[dropcap]M[/dropcap]ughal emperor Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal to house the tomb of his favourite wife Mumtaz Mahal. And more than three-and-a-half centuries later, an 80-year-old man from Bulandshahr is building another one in memory of his late ‘Begum’.
Faizul Hasan Qadri, a retired postmaster from Kaser Kalan village (around 50km from Bulandshahr in western Uttar Pradesh), married Tajamulli in 1953.
Fifty-eight years later when Tajamulli Begum died due to throat cancer in 2011, Qadri devoted all his finances in setting up a ‘mini Taj Mahal‘ , a structure to embody his love for her. But time is slowly ticking away for the retired postmaster.
Qadri started the construction of the mini Taj right after wife Tajamulli death.
Three years later, the construction came to a halt as the grieving man had no finances left to complete the most treasured gift for his late wife.
“Initially, I sold a piece of land for Rs 6 lakh and my wife’s gold and silver jewellery for Rs 1.5 lakh and got the ‘makbara’ (mausoleum) constructed with the help of a local mason named Asgar. A total of Rs 11 lakh was spent, but now I have 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 Rs 6-7 lakh,” Qadri said.
After his wife’s death, Qadri buried her on his agricultural land, and then later began the construction.
Qadri has a little space reserved right next to his wife’s grave in the mausoleum where he wishes to be buried after his death.
“Asgar prepared the dome and constructed the four ‘minars’ around the central building, which is a little more than 27-feet in height. 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. However, work has mostly been held up due to finances as 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 added.
The old man was recently called for a meeting with Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav in Lucknow which he very eagerly is looking forward to.
“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 additional district magistrate Vishal Singh. Qadri, however, said he was planning his finances on his own and would not like to take any help from the CM.