NEW DELHI: 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. “I have saved Rs 55,000 and I am trying to get marble studded to the building,” he added.
In 2015, Qadri 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,” he reiterated.
Five months ago, Qadri met with an accident. He was on his way home with a bag of flour when his bicycle overturned, injuring him and leaving him bed ridden. The incident eroded his savings further. It is 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,” 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. I told him that the school will be for children from all communities,” 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 sahib 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 school will hold classes from sixth standard to class twelve for girls,” said Veena Yadav, district inspector of schools, Bulandshahr.
Qadri’s Taj, meanwhile, remains 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.’ He often visits school and keeps asking about the progress of the work,” said Deepak Kumar, the school building contractor.
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. He now lives in a small house where his ‘Taj’ and the new school building are visible from the window.