It was built thanks to the passion of a great emperor for his beautiful wife. But today, the Taj is generating passions of another kind. On learning that a Bangladeshi film director is building a replica of the Taj in Dhaka, the Indian embassy has decreed that India's right to the monument is cast in stone. “Someone will have to go out there and have a look,” a spokesman said rather darkly on hearing the news. The director says he wants Bangladeshis to enjoy the sight of the eternal monument if they can’t afford to hike it to India.
Okay, now that we have claimed our inalienable right to the Taj, why stop at that? Let’s take on Donald Trump, he of the toupee gone mad, who has replicated the Taj in one of his cheesy casinos in the cultural capital that is Las Vegas. And can we expect homeland security to wash up here and inspect the replicas of the White House, Eiffel Tower and the Pyramids of Giza that spring up every Durga puja? Clearly, for us, imitation is not the best form of flattery when we’re not doing the flattery.
And what of the numerous eateries called Taj? Far be it from us to allow some charlatan to wolf down pakoras in establishments bearing that hallowed name. Or we could make the most of it and offer to build ‘authentic replicas’ all over the world for a price. If it cost the Bangladeshi gent $58 million to put up the replica, why shouldn't we, holders of the ‘copyright’, get our sticky little hands on some of the loot?