Bangladesh millionaire builds copy of Taj Mahal--but does India have copyright?





The construction of an exact copy of the Taj Mahal has sparked a diplomatic fracas between India and Bangladesh - raising the vexing issue of whether or not it is possible to claim copyright on a building.

The row began after Ahsanullah Moni, a wealthy Bangladeshi film director, gave the first glimpse of his copy of the Taj Mahal this week.

The project has cost about £40 million and is being built about 20 miles northeast of Dhaka, the Bangladeshi capital. But the Indians are upset. “You can't just go and copy historical monuments,” an official at the Indian High Commission in Dhaka told a reporter this week.

“Someone will go out there and have a look. This [the original Taj Mahal] is a protected site we are talking about, so we need to find out if it really is the exact size.”

Deepak Mittal, a spokesman for the High Commission, confirmed to The Times that the matter was being investigated. “We have heard about this new Taj. We are checking the details,” he said.

For their part, Bangladeshi officials are incensed by suggestions that the Taj Mahal - which was built by the Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, and completed in 1653 - is protected by some sort of copyright.


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