They Sure Loved Their Wives

 They loved their wives. They had that in common. Their beloved wives died and they spent twenty-two years working on projects to honor her memory. They had that in common. They both lived in India. They had that in common.

  Other than those things, they could hardly have been more different. Dasrath Manjhi was from the lowest caste, a poor laborer in a remote village. Shah Jahan was a Mughal emperor, with vast resources at his fingertips.

  Dashrath’s wife fell from a mountain ridge and by the time she was taken around the mountain to the nearest hospital, she died. He spent the next twenty-two years, equipped with a hammer and chisel, creating a path to the next village so people could get to the schools and medical care. He died at age 78 with his life’s work completed. He was honored for this herculean task with a state funeral and his face on a stamp.

  Shah Jahan’s wife died giving birth to their fourteenth child. He had met her when he was a prince of sixteen and she was fifteen. But being a Muslim prince he married “acceptable’ princesses before he finally married her, the one he really loved. Shahs don’t work with hammers and chisels, but he was very involved in designing her monument, which is now considered one of the most beautiful buildings in the world, the Taj Mahal. They are both buried there, side by side, forever.

  They both loved their wives, they sure had that in common.

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