>> Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Big Ben (L) and the Mecca Clock Tower (R) are now in competition to be recognised as the centre of time
|The Mecca Clock Royal Tower hotel overlooks the Grand Mosque in the holy Muslim Saudi city of Mecca|
The Saudis have unveiled a plan to define Mecca as the center of the world by building a giant clock tower in Mecca. The Bin Laden group’s Royal Mecca Clock Tower aims to replace GMT time, with “Mecca Time”.
For the past 125 years, the international community has accepted that the start of each day should be measured from the prime meridian, representing 0 degrees longitude, which passes through the Greenwich Observatory.
But now the supremacy of Greenwich Mean Time ( GMT) is being challenged by a gargantuan new clock being built in Mecca, by which the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims could soon be setting their watches. Islamic scholars hope the clock’s influence will stretch far further than the sands of Saudi Arabia, as part of a plan for Mecca to eclipse the Greenwich Observatory as the “true centre of the earth”.
Bearing a striking resemblance to both St Stephen’s Tower, which houses the bell of Big Ben, and the Empire State Building, the Saudi upstart aims to outdo its revered British rival in every way. The clock’s four faces are 151ft in diameter and will be illuminated by 2million LED lights along with huge Arabic script reading: “In the name of Allah”. The clock will run on Arabia Standard Time which is three hours ahead of GMT. When a glittering spire is added, topped with a crescent to symbolize Islam, the edifice will stand at nearly 2,000 ft, making it the world's second tallest building. The clock of Big Ben, by comparison, is just 23ft in diameter, while its tower stands at a mere 316ft.
The clock started ticking from the first day of Ramadan.
Arab countries have been building in frenzy the biggest objects in the world. Biggest sandwich, largest cake, largest manmade island, tallest building and so on. Everything has to be big or tall. Where Western skyscrapers were the natural product of expanding economic and technological frontiers, Arab skyscrapers are desperate attempts to buy superiority. Does building a tall tower glorify a country? Will they stand the sands of time?
It is tragic that everything is linked to religion these days. More than political power, the fight is going on for religious supremacy. If every religion is going to build clocks all over the world, and make times of their own, what would be the outcome? Probably India would end up building the largest number of towers, because we harbor every religion in the world.
It is becoming a crazy world.