Taj Mahal Part 2

The Taj Mahal, one of the world’s most beautiful and best known architectural wonders was also a favourite haunt for the Indian vulture.

It was a seeming contradiction, even, profanity, the sight of those vultures circling high above that tomb and its high towers, there in that human representation of Paradise with its gardens and waters and its architectural wonders …..a bird of carrion, a scavenger….yet it was richly symbolic of the splendid contrasts and contradictions of India.  

Eight centuries ago, the armies of Mohammed had invaded the subcontinent but failed to convert the majority of the population who remained Hindus and surely the most graphic example of this failure was the Hindus worship of the vulture.

For over two thousand years, the vulture was a sacred bird for the Hindus.

And then a time came when they ceased regarding it as an object of worship and it was a portent of trouble ahead, of dark and pungent clouds gathering over the Taj Mahal….and also the human race….and you and me.….

How did this happen? How did this metaphor of our collective crisis unfold?

In the fate of that holy scavenger, our fate…..

 

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Devastated City

Until May, 1940, Rotterdam was an elegant city of canals and stately historic houses in the Amsterdam style. It was a fine example of the Dutch genius for constructing beautiful cities where once, there were only water and swamps.

Then the Nazi bombers appeared in the skies, like a plague of buzzing wasps and demolished Rotterdam within a few hours.

Only one building survived: the St Laurens church near the city center. Built in the time of Erasmus, the St. Laurens church is portrayed in many fine old sketches and paintings done in the time of Rembrandt (copies of these can be seen today on a touch screen in the restored church). The St. Laurens church with its single, tall tower was badly damaged but it was still standing after the aerial blitz was over. 

The ruins of that church serve as a powerful symbol of the horror of the new era of aerial bombing which began on that day in 1940; the era of The Devastated City…….

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