Now a school for girls next to Bulandshahr’s ‘Taj Mahal’, thanks to this retired postmaster
Faizul Hasan Qadri, a retired 81-year-old postmaster, sprung to fame in 2015 for his attempts to build a mini Taj for his wife Tajamulli Begum who died in 2011.
Two years later, next to his incomplete ‘Taj’ in Bulandshahr’s Kaser Kalan, a small village nearly 150km from the National Capital, a government girl’s school is nearing completion.
Reports of Qadri’s attempts to build a mini Taj had moved the then UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav. Yadav had offered to help to Qadri, who instead sought help to build a school. Qadri donated his last piece of land for this school even as his dream project came to a standstill due to lack of funds.
Qadri’s eyesight is now failing and his resources have dried up. He is now saving from his monthly pension of Rs 15,000 to finish his ‘Taj’. “After 2015, I had saved Rs 1 lakh from my pension. But my niece had some emergency and I gave it to her. The amount is yet to be repaid,” Qadri said. “Now I have saved Rs 55,000 and I am trying to get marble studded to the building,” he added.
In 2015, when this reporter spoke to Qadri, he had refused any financial help to build his Taj. That has not changed. “I have to get marble work done and need Rs 6-7 lakh. Still, I will not take any financial help from outside. Who knows the money may have come from unfair means. Taking such money will not be good. I will get the work done out of my own savings,” he reiterated.
Five months ago, Qadri met with an accident. He was on his way home with a bag of wheat flour when his bicycle overturned. Qadri was injured in his leg and left bed ridden. The incident eroded his savings further. It is now hard for him to walk but Qadri says he will not part with the rickety bicycle which he bought five decades ago for Rs 95.
Qadri has also set aside Rs 1,800 for ‘zakat’ to be given to the poor. ‘Zakat’ is a payment made annually under Islamic law for charitable purpose. “I have just managed to give Rs 1,700, another Rs 100 is left. Walking is difficult nowadays,” he says.
His decision to donate land for girl’s school invited objection from many quarters. “A maulvi told me to ask government to come up with a school for Muslims and Allah will shower favours on me. I told him that the school will be for children from all communities and any favour for the act will be in hands of Allah,” he said.
Authorities say the school building will get complete by end of June this year. “The school is part of former CM’s announcement. Qadri saheb donated his land for students. We have also written to higher officials for start of classes so that we can start session by July. The fund for the school was also released. The school will hold classes from sixth standard to class twelve for girls,” said Veena Yadav, district inspector of schools, Bulandshahr
Meanwhile, Qadri’s Taj is still incomplete. It requires plaster and marble work but his kindness has already earned him a reputation. “After he donated the land for the school building, he also allowed us to store material on land of his ‘Taj.’ We were moved. I requested him several times that I will get his ‘Taj’ plastered and finish remaining work, but he declined. He often visits school and keeps asking about the progress of the work,” said Deepak Kumar, the school building contractor.
“He comes with a walker but never takes support or help to take the stairs or walk out. The man has certainly lived his life with his head held high,” Deepak added.
Qadri has left some space for himself inside the ‘Taj’. He wishes to be buried next to his wife’s grave. The two did not have any children.
Four months ago, Qadri lost his brother Mezul Hasan. Mezul’s wife and a 24 year old son, who is mentally unstable, also live with Qadri now. “Earlier, my burial was the responsibility of my brother. But now he is no more. Now, his children will bury me. I wish the marble work is completed before death arrives,” he says.
He now lives in a small house where his ‘Taj’ and the new school building are visible from the window.