Monday, July 09, 2007

Wonder of the world? Does exploitation really provoke wonder in anyone?

Memories, Too, Can Desecrate - Does the Taj Mahal Deserve to be a Wonder of the World? by Farzana Versey

Sahir Ludhyanvi's "Taaj Mahal"
(translated from the Urdu by Annie Zaidi)

The Taaj might be, to you, a monument to Love
And you might be enamoured of this lovely place
But let us meet elsewhere, my love.

This is no place for the poor - this court of royalty
where marks of royal grandeur are etched into each lane;
This is no place for loving souls to walk.

My love, veiled by a curtain of exhibitionist loyalty (faithfulness),
this is but a display of grandeur - you should have noticed.
You, who are so pleased by the tombs of dead kings,
there is darkness in your own house! - You should have noticed.

Countless people, in this world, have fallen in love.
Do you think their feelings were worth less?

But they lacked the means to make an exhibition of love,
because they were poor - just like us.

These monuments, these tombs, this vast space, these forts -
They are but symbols of greatness, employed by arrogant kings.
They are but flowers embroidered on the face of the world,
in which mingles the colour of our ancestors' blood.

My love, those people too must have been in love,
whose skill gave to this place it's beautiful form.
But their beloved's graves lie nameless, unmarked,
where no one has ever lit any candles...

This garden, the Yamuna's riverbanks, this palace,
these beautiful carvings on walls and doors, these arches and niches -

A king has used his wealth to mock the loves of poor folk like us.
My love, let us meet elsewhere!

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