Whenever we talk of the epitome of love, Taj Mahal comes to one’s mind immediately. In fact the monument has become the face of Indian tourism on world map. Any foreign tourist coming to visit India has Taj Mahal in his/her visit list without exception. Before we go to much grander souvenirs of love India has in the next blog post, let’s see whether it is justified to call the Taj Mahal, a monument of love.
Taj Mahal was about everything but love. Let’s start with basic wikipedia search. Wikipedia page on Mumtaz Mahal mentions that even though it was a love affair between Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal, during the intervening period of engagement (when she was 14) and marriage (at 19) Shah Jahan had married his first wife, Princess Kandahari Begum in 1609 and in 1617, after marrying Mumtaz, took a third wife, Izz-un-Nissa Begum. Shah Jahan used to follow the insecure Mughal tradition of not leaving their wives alone even during war campaigns. They had fourteen children together (eight sons and six daughters), seven of whom died at birth or at a very young age. Mumtaz Mahal died from while giving birth to her fourteenth child after a 30 hour prolonged labor. Much has been told and heard about the above facts.
Now, coming to the monument, let’s see some of the facts our friend True Indology @TIinExile has for us:
The major take aways from the very detailed above post:
“What was the cost of building Taj Mahal?”- “7.4 million deaths”.
The monetary cost of building Taj Mahal, was 41.8 million (4.18 crore) rupees in 1631. Those days, the average income of a single family of peasants was approximately equal to One Dam per day. A Dam was a copper coin and 40 Dams was equal to a single rupee(1). A single rupee fetched 280 kilograms of rice.
Shah Jahan brought one of the deadliest famine in the world history in 1631 upon the country by invading and completely ravaging Malwa and Deccan to reassert his authority. The soul shuddering details of the famine can be found in the embedded FB post.
So let’s think about it once more.
Is this the kind of love we want to promise to our near and dear ones?