Bahadur Shah Zafar: who still rules the hearts
(Exactly 184 years ago today, on September 28, 1837, the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar was crowned. This report on the living conditions of Bahadur Shah Zafar was first published in November 2017, which was republished today on this occasion. is going.)
For more than a century, the tomb of the last Mughal emperor of India, Bahadur Shah Zafar, was unmarked, but now its accidental discovery has revived the memory of this Sufi saint, great Urdu poet and one of the unfortunate kings of history. Has done
When Bahadur Shah Zafar breathed his last on November 7, 1862, in a dilapidated wooden house in Rangoon, Myanmar (now Yangon), only a select few of his family were present.
On the same day, British officials buried him in an unmarked grave near the famous Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon.
It was the bitter, discouraging and embarrassing end of an emperor whose progenitors ruled the vast areas of present-day India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan for centuries.
It is true that Bahadur Shah Zafar did not have the empire that his father Akbar Azam or Aurangzeb Alamgir had, but there is no doubt that at his call in the War of Independence of 1857, the dimensions of India People had risen up against the British.
After the defeat in this war, the Mughal emperor was tried for treason, and he was imprisoned and deported to Burma.
He died on November 7, 1882, at the age of 87, marking the end of one of the world’s great royal families. But his name and the Urdu poetry he wrote survived.
When Zafar came to power in 1837, the Great Mughal Empire had shrunk to the outskirts of Delhi. But in spite of this, he was always the emperor for his subjects.
His grave was unmarked by the British in view of the danger of his followers rising up. Even the news of his death took two weeks to reach India.
For a hundred years after that, no one knew his grave. People began to forget his name, but then gradually he began to be mentioned again. Roads in Delhi and Karachi were named after him and a park in Dhaka was named after him.
William Delerampel, author of The Last Mughal and a well-known historian, told the BBC:
“He was not a hero or a revolutionary leader, but like his great-grandfather Akbar the Great, he is a symbol of tolerance and multinationalism in Muslim Indian civilization.”
One of the reasons for Zafar’s inclination towards the unity of India’s two major religions was his own family. His father Akbar Shah Sani was a Muslim while his mother Lal Bai was a Hindu Rajput princess.
The tomb of Bahadur Shah Zafar, located in a quiet area of Rangoon, is reminiscent of an emotional and turbulent period in Indian history.
The people of Rangoon knew that the last Mughal emperor was buried somewhere inside the cantonment in their city, but no one knew the exact location.
Finally, in 1991, workers dug a drain and found a brick platform. It was later found out that it was actually the tomb of Bahadur Shah Zafar. The mausoleum was later built with donations.
This tomb is very small compared to the magnificent tombs of other Mughal kings in India. His name and address on an iron altar is money. Downstairs is the tomb of his queen Zeenat Mahal and granddaughter Ronak Zamani.
The tomb of Bahadur Shah Zafar is covered with rose petals. A tall lantern hangs over it, and pictures hang on the walls. There is also a mosque.
This mausoleum has become a shrine and is attended by Muslims from Rangoon.
Alhaj U Ain Lun is the treasurer of the management committee of Bahadur Shah’s tomb. He says: ‘People from all walks of life come here because people consider them Sufi saints. People come here to meditate and offer prayers near his grave. When people’s wishes are fulfilled, they offer sacrifices here.
At present, the greatest legacy of Bahadur Shah Zafar is his Urdu poetry. His lyrics about love and life are sung and heard all over the subcontinent as well as in Burma.
The British had stopped Bahadur Shah Zafar from using paper and pen. It was said that in the last days he used to write poems on coal on the walls. Some of the lyrics attributed to him are also money on the walls of this tomb.
As king, Bahadur Shah Zafar had no army of his own, but he emerged as a symbolic leader during the War of Independence, behind whom both Hindus and Muslims stood. History records that during this time thousands of Muslim and Hindu soldiers sacrificed their lives to restore their empire.
2017 marks the 160th anniversary of the War of Independence of 1857, but no ceremonies have been held to commemorate it.
In today’s age when nationalism and fundamentalism are gaining momentum, according to historians, the religious tolerance of Bahadur Shah Zafar is as relevant today as it was in his time.
As emperor, he was deprived of his throne and empire, but as a poet and elder, he still rules the hearts of countless people.
Excluding Mughal history in the Indian state
School books in Maharashtra are erasing mention of the Mughal Empire, which ruled over much of India for three centuries.
The purpose of removing the history of the Mughal Empire from the curriculum is to draw attention to the empire established by a Hindu ruler and that Hindu ruler is Chhatrapati Shivaji.
But these changes in the books have sparked debate.
Most of India’s monuments were built during the Mughal period. The Mughals, who ruled for almost 300 years, are an important part of Indian history. But they are of no importance to the children in many schools in Maharashtra.
In many schools in Maharashtra, the history of the Mughals has been completely removed from the curriculum and instead the curriculum has been completely focused on Chhatrapati Shivaji.
In the 17th century, Shivaji defeated the Mughals and founded the Maratha Empire. He ruled over many parts of India, including Maharashtra.
Chhatrapati Shivaji was a Hindu, while the Mughals were Muslims.
‘Maratha history must be taught’
The History Textbook Committee, which took the step, said the decision was not based on religion or politics.
“Our children are from Maharashtra,” says committee chairman Sadanand More. Therefore, their connection with Maratha history comes first. The practical problem is that the number of pages in a book is limited. Therefore, we cannot remove Maratha history from books to cover Mughal history.
Right-wing political parties call the Mughals ‘Muslim invaders’. He says that the Mughals had persecuted the Hindus.
Ever since the BJP came to power, this voice has grown louder.
Experts say that while some Mughal rulers tried to spread Islam, many rulers ruled most of the Hindu states peacefully.
He said that the rule of Mughal rulers should be analyzed on the basis of their governing ability and not on the basis of religion.
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