Sunday, June 26, 2005

Indian Pauper Inherits Taj Mahal

From The Times of India:

Mera Taj!


And you always thought the Taj Mahal was a national monument maintained by the ASI? Think again. Prince Yakub Habeebuddin Tucy says he is the last direct descendant of Bahadur Shah Zafar and, consequently, the rightful owner of the Taj. Delhi Times on monumental claims...

His story sounds as bi-zarre as Rani and Abhishek leasing out the Taj Mahal in Bunty Aur Babli. However, Prince Yakub Habeebuddin Tucy's story isn't a movie script.

Tucy claims he is the last of the living Moguls. His truth is simple: "Taj Mahal mera hai!" Why? "I'm the great-great grandson of the last Mogul ruler Bahadur Shah Zafar. I'm staking my claim to the ownership of the Taj. When I'm alive, why should anyone else be allowed to take care of my inheritance?"

Why didn't Tucy stake such a claim earlier? "The ASI takes care of the Taj and I was happy with that. But then, when a person called Irfan Bedar of Agra, who has nothing to do with my royal lineage, laid claim to the Taj, I felt annoyed. If ownership of the Taj has to be transferred to anyone, that person must be a direct descendant of Shah Jahan, the emperor who erected the monument."

For now, Tucy lives "in extreme poverty in Hyderabad" and introduces himself as "The second son Yaqub Arifuddin Tucy, who in turn is the son of Laila Ummani, "a great-granddaughter of Bahadur Shah Zafar, who had 49 sons and daughters. Thereby, I'm the great-great grandson of Bahadur Shah Zafar."

Tucy has a genealogy chart to prove his claim. In the chart, there are pictures of Babar, Akbar... and Tucy himself, ‘the last living descendant of the Moguls'. "It's ironic that, today, I have to buy a ticket to see the Taj," says Tucy.

[Read the whole story]
And we all know a genealogy chart can't possibly be faked. . .

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