We live in an age of bans – ban this ban that ban everything. Intolerance has gone back to pre-Renaissance levels. And its only going to get worse.
In fact, there is a petition going around (I believe started by the Bourgeois Biggyani) asking the worldwide governments to ban me.
So, its only natural that I jump on the ban bandwagon as well.
Last February I asked for the ban on female genital mutilation.
The British and Nigerian governments paid heed to my demand and banned/enacted new laws against it.
Naturally, India being “secular” there is 0 chance of FGM being banned here. The amount of outrage that the Commies, Congies and intellectuals will bellow if the present government even contemplates such a move will create sound pollution even in Uranus.
So I would rather focus on something that can be banned.
I would urge the whole world to Ban Bangladeshis (hell, they even have the word Ban in their name).
And I would urge India to ban the Taj Mahal.
Why you ask?
Let me explain
For whatever reasons The Taj Mahal has become the symbol of India. It is easily the second most recognizable entity in India [1st being Sunny Leone – there are millions and millions who have never seen Taj Mahal, they have seen Sunny Leone though]
I was watching a BBC series. In that Dan Cruishank roams around the world and visits what he calls 80 treasures, some cultural, some architectural.
He comes to India. His treasures are:
Durga Puja in Kolkata
Meenakshi temple in Madurai
Chinese nets and spice markets of Cochin
Jantar Mantar in Jaipur
and the goddamn Taj Mahal – who he says is the symbol of India.
And its true
Ask foreigners (actual foreign people, not our neighbors) and most of them will say that the images that come to their mind when they hear India are
- Taj Mahal
- Bollywood song and dance
- Ganesha (the fat elephant god)
- All Indian women – all 50 odd crore of them – get raped at least once a day and twice on Sundays
Bollywood is fine, Ganesha is unique in the world, the rape thing can be laid firmly in the hands of the presstitutes.
That leaves the bloody Taj Mahal.
Why exactly is it famous?
Its the most over rated Indian edifice. (And please don’t think its a religious thing – the Taj Mahal has fuck all to do with religion.)
Architecturally, it is absolutely average.
In fact, you can say that its the The Great Khali of Indian architecture – its just huge, that’s it.
I can understand it being considered a wonder during the Mughal or the East Indian company era.
But now that we know what else is out there, The Taj Mahal – barring its size – becomes distinctly average.
(Well, it is white and as we all know, we are all racists and being white somehow makes it beautiful and worthy and better.)
And then there is its symbolism as a testament to love and tragedy.
But here is the thing, where exactly is the tragedy?
Sacrifices are tragic.
Unrequited love is tragic
What in the hell is tragic about dying after a long life? That too while trying to give birth to progeny no 14 or 15?
It indicates a long life full of love and boinking – and that while being the richest couple on the land.
And being in love did not stop Shah Jahan from having 3 other wives and 3000 other women in his harem.
So, please let’s not make Taj Mahal a symbol of tragedy and love.
As for it being a symbol of India, categorically no.
Hell, even if we have to go to a tomb….
And that too a Mughal one, then beauty wise, never mind the whole of India, even in Agra, the tomb of Itimad ud Daullah is miles better.
Miles miles better
Hell, even Akbar’s tomb at Sikandra is better
The Bundela kings’ cenotaphs on the riverbanks in Orchha are fabulous (with added vultures for extra beauty)
Gol Gumbaaz, Bijapur
The structure is composed of a cube, 47.5 metres (156 ft) on each side, capped by a dome 44 m (144 ft) in external diameter. “Eight intersecting arches created by two rotated squares that create interlocking pendentives” support the dome. At each of the four corners of the cube, is a dome-capped octagonal tower seven stories high with a staircase inside. The upper floor of each opens on to a round gallery which surrounds the dome. Inside the mausoleum hall, is a square podium with steps on each side. In the middle of the podium, a cenotaph slab on the ground marks the actual grave below, “the only instance of this practice” in the architecture of the Adil Shahi Dynasty. In the middle of the north side, “a large semi-octagonal bay” protrudes out. With an area of 1,700 m2 (18,000 sq ft), the mausoleum has one of the biggest single chamber spaces in the world.
Running around the inside of the dome is the “Whispering Gallery” where even the softest sound can be heard on the other side of the mausoleum due to the acoustics of the space
Bloody hell, as far as memorials go, even our very own Victoria Memorial is better looking
And the Bara Imambara might possibly the best of the lot. If a tomb/mausoleum/memorial has to be the symbol of India, then let this be it.
Bara Imambara, Lucknow
A wonder of the Nawab of Oudh; a gigantic edifice with one of the most alluring and fun places known to man – the bhoolbhulaiya (maze) – where the nawab frolicked with his wives and courtesans
Construction of Bara Imambara was started in 1785, a year of a devastating famine, and one of Asaf-ud-Daula’s objectives in embarking on this grandiose project was to provide employment for people in the region for almost a decade while the famine lasted. It is said that ordinary people used to work in the day building up the edifice, while noblemen and other elite worked at night to break down anything that was raised that day. It was a project that preceded a Keynesian like intervention for employment generation. Construction of the Imambara was completed in 1791.
The architecture of the complex reflects the maturation of ornamented Mughal design, namely the Badshahi Mosque – it is one of the last major projects not incorporating any European elements or the use of iron. The main imambara consists of a large vaulted central chamber containing the tomb of Asaf-ud-Daula. At 50 by 16 meters and over 15 meters tall, it has no beams supporting the ceiling and is one of the largest such arched constructions in the world. There are eight surrounding chambers built to different roof heights, permitting the space above these to be reconstructed as a three-dimensional labyrinth with passages interconnecting with each other through 489 identical doorways. This part of the building, and often the whole complex, may be referred to as the Bhulbhulaya. Known as a popular attraction, it is possibly the only existing maze in India and came about unintenionally to support the weight of the building which is constructed on marshy land.
The design of the Imambara was obtained through a competitive process. The winner was a Delhi architect Kifayatullah, who also lies buried in the main hall of the Imambara. It is another unique aspect of the building that the sponsor and the architect lie buried beside each other. The roof of Imambara is made up from the rice husk which make this Imambara a unique building.
So the Taj Mahal is definitely not the best tomb around.
But a symbol of death cannot be a symbol of India.
India is all about life, its all about survival, its about badoinkadoink.
That is why the Indian culture has survived hundreds of years of foreign occupation. The Indian culture is so strong at the base and vibrant that – barring the white man – all foreign invaders have become Indianised in time.
The Indian culture, art, music, literature, language has survived with some modifications for thousands of years.
All other ancient civilzations have collapsed, India is still going strong.
So, India needs a different symbol, a non death symbol.
So if the Taj Mahal cannot be our nation’s symbol, what can?
Here are my alternatives and I have even broken them down to religious and non-religious structures. I am happy with any of them being chosen.
Kailash Temple, Ellora
The eternal celebration of badoinkadoink
Vittalaswami Temple, Hampi
A building which produces music; a wonder of the world, a stupendous piece of engineering
Brihadeshwara Temple, Tanjore
Intricately curved, gigantic, beautiful, a centre piece of a community
Golden Temple, Amritsar
A building made of gold
Moreover, a building where millions are volunteers, millions get free food and respect
Unique in this fucked up world
Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh
Tawang Monastery, in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, is the largest monastery in India and second largest in the world after the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. It is situated in the valley of the Tawang River, near the small town of the same name in the northwestern part of Arunachal Pradesh, in close proximity to the Tibetan and Bhutanese border. Tawang Monastery is known in Tibetan as Galden Namgey Lhatse, which translates to “celestial paradise in a clear night.” It was founded by Merak Lama Lodre Gyatso in 1680-1681 in accordance with the wishes of the 5th Dalai Lama, Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso.
Three legends are narrated to the establishment of the monastery.
In the first legend it is said that location of the present Monastery was selected by a horse which belonged to Merag Lama Lodre Gyatso who was on a mission assigned to him by the 5th Dalai Lama to establish a Monastery. After an intense search, when he failed to locate a suitable place, he retired into a cave to offer prayers seeking divine intervention to choose the site. When he came out of the cave, he found his horse missing. He then went in search of the horse and finally found it grazing at the top of a mountain called Tana Mandekhang, which in the past was the palace of King Kala Wangpo. He took this as a divine and auspicious guidance and decided to establish the monastery at that location. Seeking the help of the local people, Mera Lama established the monastery at that location in the latter part of 1681.
The second legend of the derivation of the name Tawang is linked to Terton Pemalingpa, diviner of treasures. At this location, he is stated to have given “initiations” of Tamdin and Kagyad, which resulted in the name “Tawang”. ‘Ta’ is an abbreviated form for “Tamdin” and ‘Wang’ means “initiation”.
According to the third legend, a white horse of the Prince of Lhasa had wandered into Monpa region. People, who went in search of the horse, found the horse grazing at the present location of the monastery. The people of the area then worshipped the horse and the location where it was found and venerated it every year. Eventually, to honour the sacred site, the Tawang Monastery was built at the site.
One more legend narrated is about the goddess painted on a thangka in the monastery which is of Palden Lhamo. This female deity is compared to the Hindu Goddess Kali. Like Kali, Palden Lhamo’s thangka is drawn in black colour, with flaming eyes, dressed in skirt made of tiger skin, and a garland of skulls around her neck. A moon disc adorns her hair, similar to the one seen on Shiva. She is also associated with Goddess Saraswati and Ma Tara. Legend also states that in the past she had lived in Sri Lanka as the consort of a demon king who practiced human sacrifice. As she was not supportive of this practice she fled from the kingdom. As she was running away, the king shot her shot with an arrow, which struck the backside of the mule that she was riding. When she drew out the arrow, it left a gaping hole in the mule’s back, and through this gap Palden Lhamo could watch the teachings of Lord Buddha
Karni Mata, Deshnoke, Bikaner
Its a temple that celebrates rats
Show me one other place in this whole world that does that
You can even consider the beautiful Jain temples at Palitana or Mount Abu or Ranakpur
Or you can consider Non Religious sites like
Majestic paintings and murals
Rani ki Bhav
Spectacularly gargantuan step-well with majestic decorations; a wonder of the world
Sabarmati Gandhi Ashram
Do we really need an explanation?
Medieval world’s biggest astronomical observatory
Of course, the symbol of India does not have to be any structure
It can be our food or our arts or festivals
Kathakali, Odissi, Kuchipudi, or Bharatnatyam
Diwali or Holi
Biriyani (with potato), Rosogolla or Dosa
or it can even be our spectacular forts
I will write a separate post about them
- Mehrangarh Fort
- Golconda Fort
- Amber Fort
- Chittaurgarh Fort
- Daulatabad Fort
- Kumbalgarh Fort
- Junagarh Fort
- Bidar Fort
- Chitradurga Fort
- Jaisalmer Fort
- Gwalior Fort
- Agra Fort
So you seem we have a plethora of candidates, a veritable whose who of great architecture.
And we are stuck with that gaudy monstrosity, a pimple on the face of the earth.
Ban the Taj.