Why another Taj Mahal ?


What was the reason? The Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan who built the world’s most beautiful building of that time, did not want his workers to go and build another one, for anyone, anywhere else.

Now, I wonder what Shah Jahan would have done if he heard this week’s news that a replica of Taj Mahal will be built in Dubai.

Dubbed Taj Arabia, this billion-dollar replica will be four times larger than the original, and is being touted as a wedding

UAE’s emirate of Dubai is hoping that those couples wanting lavish weddings, rich in grandeur and opulence, will have their once-in-a-lifetime event at this venue. It is expected to be very memorable for couples because Taj Mahal, built by Shah Jahan to keep the promise made to his deceased wife Mumtaz Mahal, has come to symbolize the ‘Labour of Love’.

I am, however, unable to understand why this emirate which has the world’s tallest building Burj Khalifa, and one of the world’s largest indoor ski resorts Ski Dubai, wants to suddenly show that it lacks
originality, here. Why is it copying a major tourist attraction of another country?

Agreed, Shah Jahan never patented the design of Taj Mahal. Agreed, that his descendants will not come running to sue Dubai for copyright violations. But, was this project really necessary?

This project, I feel, shows Dubai as a copy-cat wanting to cash-in on the popularity of a foreign monument. It shows that it is lacking in creativity and originality. By wanting to make Taj Mahal four times bigger, it shows us its brash and primitive mindset; that size does matter.

Maybe it does. But, the idea just sounds crasser.

The US Business magnate Donald Trump may have just stolen the name Taj Mahal for his casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. But the city of Dubai seems to be stealing the entire monument’s design itself. And isn’t stealing wrong? Isn’t plagiarism wrong?

Maybe it won’t be called stealing. Maybe it will just be called artistic licence. But somehow, deep down, I feel it is cheap to steal
a country’s nationally recognizable symbol and try to commercialise on

Strangely, many people do not know that this ‘Labour of Love’, of building Taj Mahal – by moving enormous amounts of marble stone across large distances, and by hiring highly-skilled artisans and engineers
from way beyond his national borders – proved very costly to the Mughal Emperor.

Not only did it cost him a huge portion of his Treasury, but it also cost him, his throne.

The third son of Shah Jahan, Prince Aurangazeb, accused his father of squandering away the wealth of the nation’s treasury on his dream projects. And soon, Aurangazeb overpowered his two elder brothers,
called his father incompetent to rule, and put him under house arrest and snatched the throne from his father. And, that was the beginning of the decline of the great Mughal Empire.

Irrespective of what  Dubai spends  on this planned  billion dollar project, there can only be one real Taj Mahal, a wonder of those times when  there was no sophisticated technology  that we see in these