Is it a symbol of genuine love or male dominance?
By Margaret Matthews, Contributor
Standing in front of the Taj Mahal in India, tourists are awestruck by its magnificent structural architecture with its intricate lines and curves. As one gazes at the colossal monument, one ponders the thought: does this symbolize genuine love?
The surrounding elaborate gardens, water fountains, and pools add to its stunning beauty. The entire monumental edifice, which is a mausoleum to entomb the remains of Mumtaz Mahal, is made of pure white marble, and took 20,000 workers roughly 22 years at a total cost of 32-million rupees to construct. Legend has it that the inside is decorated with designs of flowers and calligraphy, which are encrusted with precious stones. The Taj Mahal is considered to be one of the eight wonders of the world.
The Taj Mahal was built by the then-emperor of India, Mughal Shah Jahan, as a monument to his thirdwife, Mumtaz, whom he married when she was at the age of 19. Together, the two had a total of 14 children, and Mumtaz died at the age of 40. Unfortunately Mumtaz did not see the beautiful work of art constructed in her honour.
Did the emperor really need to have 14 children with Mumtaz? Granted there was neither birth control nor Planned Parenthood in that era. It was a male dominated culture; women submitted to their husbands out of duty and had no say in the matter whatsoever.
Which brings me to the question of what true love is?
In my opinion, many people do not know the true meaning of love, but are more interested in gratifying their insatiable sexual needs, regardless of their partners’ needs. True love is caring for the health, well-being, and happiness of others; taking into consideration that their wishes be honoured, and that their health, happiness, and well-being be paramount in their relationship.
After Mumtaz’s death, the emperor most likely missed her companionship, her smiles, her laughter, and her presence in the palace. He probably missed her as a mother to care for his 14 children. He could have enjoyed many more years of happily married life, if he didn’t indirectly send her to an early grave by making excessive sexual demands. It seems to me that she was a “baby machine” to produce a child almost every year of their marriage. It was the case of killing the goose that laid the golden egg.
Mumtaz was entombed in the Taj Mahal, and when the emperor himself passed away, his remains were also buried in the mausoleum somewhere near her.
The Taj Mahal has remained as a tourist attraction throughout centuries, and has been well-maintained. However, when one learns the history behind the Taj Mahal, one wonders whether it was genuine love, or the emperor’s desire to prove his sexual prowess and virility at the expense of his wife’s health, well-being, and happiness.