Can We Save Our Icon From Crumbling?

Posted on October 24, 2011 in Specials

By Rigya Singh:

India’s pride, its landmark and its identity- the Taj Mahal might not be left standing in around five years. The 358 year old marble tomb, generally applauded as the symbol of eternal love, one of the Seven Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage site will come crumbling down if its rotting wooden foundations are not reinforced.


The beauty of Agra is the main tourist attraction for the city as well as for our country. Millions of tourists flock Agra every year to see this wonder. Already the marble has been yellowing courtesy of air pollution spread by the Mathura Oil Refinery in its vicinity. The dying river Yamuna is also one of the reasons why we might see a ground zero esque site because it feeds the wells which support the mahogany foundations of this iconic building.

Taj Mahal was built by Emperor Shah Jahan for his third and favourite wife Mumtaz Mahal to commemorate their love. It has stood the test of time but sadly it seems that we Indians are doing nothing to protect it. Some cracks have been noticed that started appearing last year and the minarets show some tilt in them. Deforestation and pollution have caused the river Yamuna to dry up, a problem which had not been anticipated by its builders.

MP Ramshankar Katheria, who is leading a campaign to save Taj Mahal for many years now, says, “If the crisis is not tackled on a war-footing, the Taj Mahal will collapse in between two and five years. The architectural wonder of the world is losing its shine. If this persists, the minarets may also collapse.”

Historian Ram Nath added “The river is a constituent of its architectural design and if the river dies, the Taj cannot survive”. Some experts, however, have denied these reports.

It has now come under the watch of World Monuments Fund which considers Taj Mahal to be at a risk. World Monuments Fund aims to preserve and protect iconic structures around the world. It is shameful that we as Indians appear to be unconcerned and indifferent about the looming danger. Imagine our country without Taj Mahal! We will lose an important part of ourselves if we do not do something at this very moment to protect this ‘jewel of Muslim architecture in India’.

The writer is a Sub-Editor of Youth Ki Awaaz.