The crowning jewel of Indo-Islamic architecture, the Taj Mahal is one of the world’s most beautiful and beloved structures. The monument was built in Agra, India, for Mumtaz Mahal, the favorite wife of Mughal emperor Shah Jahan. Construction of the tomb began in 1632 and employed more than 20,000 laborers for 20 years. During the reign of Shah Jahan, the structure was known simply as the rauza, the tomb. Later, the mausoleum would be called the Taj Mahal, a derivative of the name Mumtaz Mahal.

According to the French jeweler Tavernier, who claimed to had seen the construction of the Taj Mahal from beginning to end, the white marble monument was erected at a time when the resources of the Mughal Empire were such that only the finest materials were utilized for the structure and its embellishment and when the quality of the craftsmanship available in northern India was probably superior to that of any previous period.

The Taj Mahal represents one of the jewels in the imperial crown of Shah Jahan, the emperor still must be credited with having made of the death of a spouse a symbol of lasting beauty. He bequeathed to India and the world its most beautiful mausoleum



Shuhada Ahmed
Derek Risse
English 1020
22 April, 2010
Cultural Analysis

Anyone could agree that having a special building built for them would be awesome so imagine the bonus in having it dedicated to you by someone whom loved you to death. That has to be one of the most romantic things anyone could ever think of. Well the Taj Mahal is a monument that was specially built by a ruler for his queen. The person that ordered for the monument to be built was Shah Jahan, the great monument that is now considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The Taj Mahal is a Mughal architecture that is surrounded by so many different great cultures. The structure has a very big history behind why it was built and what it means today. The magnificent Taj Mahal is the monument that the emperor Shah Jahan built for his beloved Queen, Mumtaz Mahal. The monument stands for undying love and it means that still today. It was built by the Mughals and is a great piece of art work the Mughals left behind for the whole world to admire. The Taj Mahal is resides in Agra, India and it is the center of attention but it can distract many tourist away from the fact there is so many other things going around in India. For example India is a third world country but has been moving really fast in to becoming a growing country in the business industry. As a result of that because of all the industry booms that is happening there now more pollution is being dispersed into the atmosphere. The Taj Mahal is a very special monument that was built strictly for love.

The monument of the Taj Mahal is built in Agra, India; it is located near the Yamuna River. It was built by Shah Jahan for his favorite wife, Momtaz Mahal. He was so devastated when she died after giving birth to their fourteenth child. The construction of the monument began in 1632 and went on for about twenty years. The estimated amount of workers were 20,000, it took about that many people to bring to life what the emperor wanted to remember his wife by. Only the finest white marble from all over Asia was only being allowed to be put into the making of the tomb. This was made sure of because the emperor personally would stroll around and watch as the work progressed daily. Many different types of fine detailed artwork can be found on the surface of the Taj Mahal. Many artists from all over the world were called into work on the structure. People came from all over the world like from Turkey, India, Persia, Bagdad and many other Islamic cultural backgrounds. This is the reason why the art work is so unique and no other structure can ever compete with the great monument the Mughals built and left behind. That is why the monument is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

The Mughals Dynasty dates back to the 1500s before there was even a Mughul emperor. It went through the family which led up to Shah Jahan being the ruler in 1628 around that time he built the Taj Mahal the monument that is still standing now in is India’s center of attention. Most of the artwork styles are from mostly Middle Eastern countries but it was built in India, so there is a debate on what the monument is for now. Many people say that the monument is not the resting place for the Momtaz Mahal but a Hindu temple. India is dominated with Hindus and Muslims so there is a major conflict between both parties and it includes the Taj Mahal too. There are many views of other people out there but in the end with all the great research the true story is that the Taj Mahal is a symbol of love not a Hindu temple. It was not a place built for religious purposes even though Muslims built it, it would not be a Hindu temple but a mosque for Muslims to go and pray there. It is a very famous place that attracts many people because of the story behind it and people just like to go and see the Taj Mahal and see what the fuss is about over the beauty of it.

Many people visit the Taj Mahal from all over the world. They all want to go and get a glimpse of the artwork that is detailed into the marbled walls. They are drawn towards to the structure because of the love story they hear about behind it, but are some writers over exaggerating it? Maybe so many people take the love story and explode it like it is gossiping item. It draws attention to couples who are very much in love because the monument is the sign that people out there in the world are really and madly in love with their significant other and this monument is great evidence to that.
There is a lot of love in the air surrounding the Taj Mahal but that is not the only thing in the air because there is also a great deal of pollution as well. The pollution has had an enormous impact on the Taj Mahal. In the last decade or so the industries in India have grown very greatly. As a result of the growth more factories have been opened and more vehicles are being used. All of those things are major contributors to the pollution surrounding the Taj Mahal. As the days go by and the pollution increases in India, the more damage it will cause the great monument. In the blog there are many websites that have been linked off to show the pictures of the Taj Mahal and there a few that show a close up of the building and show the discolorations. It is very clear that pollution is really in the air.

The Taj Mahal has taken a great deal of damage like some of the artwork have become discolored greatly and a person can tell from looking at a previous picture that the marble walls are being damaged. The marbles are white so it will look really bad if the whole thing were to become even more discolored as the years go by. The walls on the Taj Mahal are clear evidence that pollution is in the air and is affecting itself. Many people who do not believe in pollution or Global Warming will believe it after they compare the old pictures to the more recent ones of the Taj Mahal these days. Many people of India are trying to do a lot of things like they have recently reduced the amount of cars that are able to go around the Taj Mahal. This one little thing is making a great difference. If people can see what pollution is doing to the monument and that is just a small thing compared to the whole entire world then it would make a difference in saving the Taj Mahal as well as saving the world at the same time.

India is home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World and more needs to be done to help save the monument before it is destroyed. If the Taj Mahal does continue to discolor then the work the Mughals left behind would be nothing in the upcoming years. If nothing is done soon then the whole Mughal artwork/masterpiece will have gone to waste. People are trying to help save the Taj Mahal but it is not enough in saving just one thing because pollution is everywhere and has been for a long time. It is evidently clear that pollution from all the factories is actually destroying the atmosphere. The Taj Mahal is one of the many proofs that people must take action in stopping this horrible damage being brought on some of the most valuable pieces on earth.

Baker, Deja. “The Perception of Taj Mahal.” Taj Mahal 1020. Web. 22 April 2010.>.

Choudhury, Rezwana. “Mughal Dynasty’s Taj Mahal.” Taj Mahal1020. Web. 20 April 2010. <;.

The Perception of Taj Mahal

By : Deja Baker

The Taj Mahal is one of the world’s most beautiful destinations and one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Built by the Myshal Empire, India’s most beautiful building is by the banks of the Yamuna River and people from all over the world desire to see this wonder. For many of these visitors, the story behind the Taj Mahal is very interesting to them, since it is seen as a story of lovers. The Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan built the Taj Muhal in memory of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. But like many love stories, the story of Shah Jahan and his wife can be one that reveals the exaggerations that exist for many when it comes to love. An article on “Window2India” serves as an excellent example with the way it describes the story of the Taj Mahal. The writer of the article says, “Today, there are few lovers like Shah Jahan and fewer like Mumtaz Mahal,” (Window2India) but does she give a satisfying reason? The Taj Mahal is an example of love, but not in the way this writer expects.

The writer says that if Shah Jahan were alive today he, “would definitely buy Mumtaz Mahal a garden of red roses, a store full of Swiss chocolates, personalized jewelry from Tanishq and have composers from across the world create music and write lyrics dedicated to her.” But is this really what defines love? Or is this just what a society focused on money makes her believe? Most people will never be able to make a monument as great as the Taj Mahal for the one they love, but is their love somehow less? Shah Jahan was one of the greatest Mughal leaders. He was an incredible military commander and responsible for creating the golden age of Mughal Architecture. As such a spectacular leader, it is to be expected that if he wanted to, Shah Jahan could use his great power to create an even greater expression of love. But only gazing at the Taj Mahal without knowing the entire story of Shah Jahan is like seeing the picture of a wedding cake without going to the wedding, the nice picture is only superficial and does not have the depth only history can provide.

The Taj Mahal was not a “store full of Swiss chocolates.” It was the tomb for his life constructed over the 22 years following her death. The Window2India article mentions that the Taj Mahal was built for the memory of Shah Jahan’s wife, but its metaphor to modern times is very flawed. The writer explains that while the Taj Mahal was made in his wife’s memory today people spend money on chocolates, heart-shaped balloons and momentos and then says, “If he had to create a memory for his wife today, he would probably build a mall!” This is based off the common thinking today that money is an instant way of showing love. But the Taj Mahal is not just some memento, it is the clear result of a lifetime of love that Shah Jahan had for his wife and the most beautiful of all the Mughal Leader’s architecture. Perhaps not so many can be the lover Shah Jahan was, but not in the way the writer decides. Shah Jahan was an excellent husband because of the deep and long lasting relationship he shared with Mumtaz Mahal, and like the wedding picture, the Taj Mahal means much less without the true story behind it.

At the end of the article, the writer attempts to switch views and tell her audience, “Today, people seem to think love cannot be expressed with an empty wallet.” This is true, but our culture is centered around this belief in much part because of articles like this one that choose to make the Taj Mahal seem like the large scale version of a Valentine’s Day card, and not the monument to a sad ruler mourning the death of his dearest loved one. There are more lovers like Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal than the writer thinks, because two people do not need to be defined by the Taj Mahal, since they probably could never afford to make it. Instead, they are defined by how they live with each other.

Works Cited

“Window2india.” India’s Greatest Love Stories: Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal. Web. 19 Apr. 2010. <>.

Pollution and the Taj Mahal
By: Shuhada Ahmed

Pollution is everywhere and it is caused by the fumes that go up into the skies. There has been an increase of pollution in the environment due to the growth of factories and an increase of the manufacturing and use of automobiles. Pollution and global warming both go hand in hand together because they are the same things except global warming is the overall cause and pollution is one of the factors of global warming. They seem like terms that science geeks came up with out of the blue to scare people into changing their ways of living in the world. Nevertheless pollution and global warming are not made up they are actually real and are greatly affecting the environments we live in. There are many things that are occurring in this present time, to be exact now! There are many clear evidences out there and one that really catches everyone’s attention for its beauty. That place is none other than the Taj Mahal. It is a very beautiful monument that stands for undying love. But over the year as a result of pollution around the surrounding areas near the Taj Mahal in Agra, India the whole monument is degrading due to the growth in India. If all the pollution in India and all over the world continues we will not have any more beautiful structures or monuments to be proud of, because pollution is destroying every single detail that men have put into over the years making those places unique and the center of attention to the whole world.

The Taj Mahal is a monument that was specially built by a ruler for his queen. The person that ordered for the monument to be built was Shah Jahan. That great monument is now considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The whole monument is covered with very detailed artwork. The art work comes from all over the world but mostly focusing on Islamic art work. Lately due to the pollution in the air around that part of India the designs and inscriptions have all began to discolor from the beauty it once was. All the inscriptions and the designs make the whole monument, Taj Mahal very unique; but all of the beautiful detailed masterpieces’ are slowing being destroyed due to the pollution in the air around it.

The Taj Mahal’s construction began around in 1632, and the structure was completed in about 1648 or later, it took twenty-two years to finish. It was built by a Muslim emperor, Shah Jahan, for his beloved wife, Momtaz Mahal, after she died giving birth to their fourteenth child. The monument is located in Agra, India on the near the Yamuna River, and Moghul architecture. The structure was made to show the world how much he loved his wife and it shows the world how much she meant to him and how he felt after she died. The monument is made out of pure white marble, and is so beautiful no other structure in the world can compare to it or ever beat it. Before it was built many architects came by with many ideas but he refused them all because they were not what he wanted but then he settled for Ustad Isa’s design who was the person that came up with the idea of the structure. Shah Jahan wanted the monument to be perfect so he personally watched the work being completed. Shah Jahan and his beloved wife both rest in the chambers below in the monument. Her tomb was already ready for her but his was made afterward so they are both next to each other in their final resting place.

One of the world’s most beautiful places is being destroyed! What is causing it? Well it is due to none other than Global Warming, but pollution to be precise. According to Sean Farrell, who is a part of Trade and Environmental Database (TED), the fine white marbles on the Great Taj Mahal are being destroyed due to the pollution from the factories and the automobiles around the monument these days. The Taj Mahal is a very magnificent place but all the beautiful artwork that was put in place to make the place unique is now deteriorating slowly. The city is starting to develop but at the same time it is degrading the historical monuments that have been there for so long. The major factor in destroying the special monument is the pollution around India and the increase of the factories and the growth in using more automobiles. In order to run a factory fossil fuels like diesel and gasoline need to be used and it is the same with the cars and trucks that are needed there too. It is nice that the country is growing in this world that is made up mostly of money but the bad thing is that is destroying the extraordinary Moghul architecture that they left behind. In order to save this incomparable artwork the world needs to come together and try to save them before they are destroyed any further.

There are mane people trying to get people aware of what is going on. So that person is a very well known politician has been to the Taj Mahal and is trying to grab the attention of people to make them aware of the problems that the pollution is causing. Former United States President Bill Clinton is that person. He is trying to get people to realize that pollution is not something that just started happening now but has been going on for a while and there is clear evidence found on the Taj Mahal. Clinton said that pollution has done something to the structure that the wars, natural disasters and invasions could not have done in 350 years, the magnificent walls of the great Taj Mahal have been affected by pollution.

Americian politicians are not the only ones fighting to save the Taj Mahal but in India they are as well. “India has been involved in a “greening” campaign particularly in regards to its national monuments” (Farrell). So the people of India are understating that even though the industry is growing and the economy is becoming better it is not good for all the national monuments there. People understand that since the economy is doing well, but the effect is that the monument is not doing well. Many are launching anti-pollution campaigns to prevent anymore damage to be done one the very famous monument in Agra, India. They have to work to save the structure because it is one of the world’s most magnificent structures. In Agra, India many restrictions have been placed on the industrial activity and on the vehicles that come around it. This is a very great start to start saving the Taj Mahal. It is good to know that people of India have become more aware of the fact that one of the great Moghuls most famous masterpieces is being destroyed due to pollution.

Pollution is found all over the world and has been around since the industrial revolution started long ago. Who knew that the Taj Mahal would be greatly affected by it? But it is sort of expected right because it is made out of pure white marble. Nevertheless many people are out there now trying to decrease the pollution in the air and many are putting a limit on what is around those places. Like for example, for the Taj Mahal there is a limitation on the factories and the automobiles that are around it. It is very nice to know that many people are aware of the fact that the pollution is slowly making its way up and starting to destroy the great architecture of all times. More needs to be done in the world to prevent pollution from destroying anything else because it is not only affecting America but every other country in the world.

Works Citied

Farrell, Sean. “The Taj Mahal: Pollution and Tourism.” TED Case Studies. Web. 18 April 2010.

Ians. “Agra Launches Anti-Pollution Campaign.” Thaindian News. 1 June, 2009. Web. 18, April 2010.

“Taj Mahal Pollution Plea.” BBC News. 23 March, 2000.Web. 18 April 2010.

Mughal Dynasty’s Taj Mahal

By: Rezwana Choudhury

During the 1500s, the Mughal Dynasty had begun to settle in India tracing back from the early Mongol Empires of Genghis Khan and Turkish Empires of Amir Timur. It was a young prince named Babur who was said to begin “a series of emperors of north India called Mughals” ( Following a great line of rulings came the next ruler, Shah Jahan who had begun to rule in 1628 ( For his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, it has been recognized that he had the great, marble, mausoleum tomb built as a token of love for her after her death due to childbirth. The Taj Mahal has been known to many that it is an extraordinary piece of art that was left by the Mughal Dynasty. However, an article reported by BBC reports that there is a different story of the Taj Mahal that began to develop by the argument of an Indian writer P. N. Oak, whom wrote a book stating that the Taj Mahal was actually a Hindu temple rather than a tomb built by the Muslim Emperor.

The article describes that P. N. Oak, author of Taj Mahal: The True Story, claimed that the Taj Mahal is not a tomb for Mumtaz Mahal but an ancient Hindu temple palace of Lord Shiva known as Tejo Mahalaya. Along with this, the article also talks about how P. N. Oak said the love story of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal was not true and also provided other views about how the Taj Mahal structure could have looked more like the structure of a Hindu temple rather than a tomb by the Mughal Dynasty. As a tactic for gaining the audience’s attention, the article tries to show how P. N. Oak used logos and pathos to grab the audiences mind and feelings by discussing these things.

Certainly, the article does bring out an interesting topic, but it will depend on the audience themselves as to whether or not they will believe this other version of the Taj Mahal story. A big view that will play on the role of the audience’s perspective is religion. For one thing, the article is talking about a Hindu writer claiming that a known architecture of a Mughal is said to be false. Right there, one may be able to see how there is a struggle with identity of religion. When it described how Oak tried to show logos by claiming the similar looks of the Taj Mahal looking like a Hindu temple, there was no other evidence whatsoever in the article that stated how something like a Muslim mosque could have looked. If Oak had also mentioned how the structure of a Muslim mosque looked and that if it looked a lot different from that of the Taj Mahal, then a claim could have been made. However, this was not done, and so this claim was weak.

Next, when the article described how Oak tried to establish his ideas of pathos when speaking about the love story of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal being false, he had no evidence to support this. It is merely just an image that he uses to put into the audiences’ mind to create a mood for them to believe in what he is saying. However, many articles and documentaries have been made that do tell about Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal’s love story to be true. Obviously, credible resources such as the History Channel or who have told about the love story will not let out false information to the public. So, this is also a weak claim that has been made by P. N. Oak described in the article.

All in all, people have different views. The history of the Mughal Dynasty has a long story and a lot of it is portrayed by religious identities that surround the culture. However, the story of the Taj Mahal being a Hindu temple as claimed by P. N. Oak described in the BBC article is just not worth believing merely for the fact that Oak was not able to back up the information or claims that he had made. If Oak was able to back up his evidence about the temple shapes vs. mosques, he still would have had to find a way to go against credible resources such as the History Channel or Thus, the claim that the BBC article reports about P. N. Oak’s claim is not very affective and will most likely not persuade a lot of audience.

Works Cited

“BBC h2g2 – The Controversy Surrounding the Origins of the Taj Mahal.” The

Controversy Surrounding the Origins of the Taj Mahal. BBC h2g2, 2010. Web. 17 Apr 2010. .

“Taj Mahal: Memorial to Love.” Treasures of the World: Taj Mahal. Public Broadcasting

Service (PBS), 2010. Web. 17 Apr 2010. <

“World Mysteries – Wonders of the World: Taj Mahal, history, construction, and

controversy.” Taj Mahal: The Hidden Truth., 2009. Web. 17 Apr 2010. <;.

Rezwana Choudhury

Mr. Risse

English 1020

20 February 2010

What is Bullshit?

“That is just bullshit!” This is a phrase that has been told and heard by people numerous times a day for many generations. Some can say that it can be said as a person’s opinion of how they view something. Others may say that it can be told to describe something that is unappreciated. Or, it may even be used to be abusive or misleading in the sense that appeals to emotions. However it may be brought out, a lot of people do not question or give a thought as to what the concept of “bullshit” really is and how it has been revolving around culture and society to this very day. For this reasoning, in the text On Bullshit, the author Harry G. Frankfurt tries to seek the truth behind what “bullshit” is and how it is affecting people everyday as time goes by. In On Bullshit, using a first-person narrative style of writing associating with various resources of context to express personal views, morals, and humor, Frankfurt is able to say that there is so much “bullshit” in our culture, everyone knows it, and contributes to the final outcome (Frankfurt 1). In so to speak, Frankfurt is bringing out the vision that everyone has an input to the massive frenzy of “bullshit” in someway or another leading his audience to become every person in the whole world universally.

Harry G. Frankfurt is a professor emeritus of philosophy at the Princeton University who previously taught at Yale and Rockefeller University ( Using his own knowledge and personal views, Frankfurt also uses credible written works from different authors including those from Wittgenstein, Pound, St. Augustine, and Eric Ambler in On Bullshit, to serve as his resources to uncover the different aspects of ideas that focus on what “bullshit” is. In Frankfurt’s writing, he does not aim to tell his story to a certain person or group of people. He writes as if he is talking to the whole world globally. The audience of his writing in this book is simply intended for just about anyone who may come to find it. In doing so, he gives the reader the sense that what they read about in his text logically begins to make sense in what they may deal with in everyday matter and life.

Throughout the book, Frankfurt narrates the story in first-person narration giving away his own personal views. In doing so, he is able to creatively catch the reader’s attention by directly speaking to them. This does not only get a hold of the reader’s attention of being aware and alert but also builds the feelings of actually thinking about what he is saying to be realistic and making sense. In using the style of first-person narrative, Frankfurt is also able to add in his own personal thoughts and questions that carry on throughout the text. For example, in the beginning of the text, he talks about how “bullshit” is not just a word, but it has a wide variety of meanings and ideas associated with it. He talked about how it may be a word to abuse something or how it also may be used to describe about how something is. This sets the tone to provoke the reader’s mind to think deeply. This can be said because when a person really thinks about what Frankfurt is saying, they can begin to wonder that what Frankfurt is saying is actually believable and could be true. Also, Frankfurt addresses out questions and thoughts from his own mind by doing this.

Frankfurt uses his resources of different context to also stir up some emotional appeals to the reader. For example, to prove the point that “bullshit” is not only used as a word of abuse, Frankfurt says that it is also used for “trivial, insincere, or untruthful talk or writing nonsense” (Frankfurt 41). To establish his findings to be true in this statement, Frankfurt talked about lying and how a person’s feelings of guilt may cause them to talk “bullshit.” When a person in this case may be talking “bullshit” everything that they say may not even be true at all according to Frankfurt. Telling the truth and being dishonest are ideas of moral aspects of what the reader may feel to be right or wrong. The matter of truthfulness and falseness is something that has also been in existence from the past in the reader’s world and will be present for many generations to come. Thus, the emotional appeals are being met with the audience about the idea of “bullshit” because Frankfurt tries to have the reader emotionally imagine and wonder if “bullshit” things being said, are morally truthful or not. In other words, it relates to the readers’ ethical judgments of whether or not something said “bullshit” may be as serious as lying or not.

In another resource that Frankfurt uses, he brings out humor in his writing to validate a point of how “bullshit” may be used without someone even acknowledging that they are using it. It is expressed to the reader when Frankfurt talked about an anecdote in Wittgenstein: a Personal Memoir. The anecdote was about a woman at a hospital who had her tonsils out and said she was in so much pain that she felt like she was a dog who had been ran over (Frankfurt 24). Obviously, Frankfurt knows that the reader will be able to figure out that no human being will know how it feels like to be a dog that has been ran over. In such manner, the statement made by the women is said to have been a “bullshit” statement because it is just humorous and has no real justification of being true. However, since the woman was in such pain, she did not even realize that she had made a “bullshit” statement which is what Frankfurt wanted to express. Using this reference, Frankfurt talks about how the writer of this statement tries to differentiate the views of how a person in such pain may say that they are feeling like a run over dog, but actually may not know how the feeling of a run over dog may really feel. This captures the reader to actually feel what is being said is actually true to the fact that they may have also encountered such anecdote or matter themselves in their life at some point or another.

The concept of “bullshit” is seemingly found to be everywhere just as Frankfurt wanted to prove in On Bullshit. Frankfurt’s arguments are strongly affective to the audience because he is really able to capture the reader’s essence through his use of various sources letting him reveal personal opinions, ethical values, and humor to guide the reader to understand what “bullshit” really is. This really appeals to the audience’s mind of clarity and logic. It makes the reader realize what he is saying is believable and definitely indeed a part of human nature to be part of it. “Bullshit” is something that may or may not be seen as something serious as lying, yet it has been hidden and considered less blameful of dishonesty to truth because of lack of recognition and clear understanding to what it really is. Thus, “bullshit” is a major part of culture and society because it is seen and taken action of everyday in the world even if someone may not know they are part of it.

Works Cited

Frankfurt, Harry G. On Bullshit. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005. Print.

Unknown, . “Harry Frankfurt.” Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 27 Jan 2010.

Wikimedia Foundation, Inc, Web. 20 Feb 2010. <;.