Across the world, the Taj Mahal is considered to be the eternal symbol of love that Shah Jahan built in the memory of Mumtaz Mahal, his favourite wife.
363 years later, and 140 kms away, yet another man set out on the same path as the Mughal emperor, to immortalise his love for his deceased wife.
In 2011, a retired postman, Faizul Hasan Qadri used all his life savings and the gold jewellery belonging to his wife, Tajamulli Begum, to construct a replica of the Taj next to his house in Kaser Kalan village in the Bulandshahr district of Western Uttar Pradesh.
His wife, to whom he was married for 58 years, had passed away from throat cancer the same year.
“The structure is built on my own land and I have tried to plant some trees around it and have a small water body at its rear side. However, work has mostly been held up due to finances, as marble costs are high. A number of people have offered me money, but I have refused to accept any 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,” Qadri had told Hindustan Times in 2015.
Qadri, sadly, is no more. He was hit by an unidentified vehicle outside his house on late Thursday night, and despite being rushed to a private hospital in Aligarh, he succumbed to his injuries and breathed his last on Friday morning.
His Taj, on the other hand, stands fully constructed and only the final marble sheathing is pending. The construction had to be temporarily suspended in 2014 when he ran out of funds, but he refused to accept charity—even from former UP CM Akhilesh Yadav, who had offered him financial aid to complete his lifelong dream.
Instead, he requested Yadav to construct a government-run girls’ inter-college next to his house, for which he even donated four bighas (an acre) of land.
Speaking to HT, Mohammad Aslam, Qadri’s nephew, said, “The school is now completed. He had saved nearly ₹2 lakh and was about to go with me to Jaipur for purchasing marble stone which he wanted to be studded to his mini Taj Mahal to make it look like the original one in Agra.”
It was Aslam who rushed a severely injured Qadri to the hospital on Thursday night, after finding him lying outside his house. He has now shouldered the responsibility of fulfilling his uncle’s wishes—one of which included being buried next to his wife inside their Taj.
“The structure is still waiting for the marble. We will now bury him beside his wife’s grave inside the same structure. I will try to get the structure completed since he is no more now,” Aslam concluded.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)