Fate Of Bahadur Shah Zafar’s Descendants

I had recently posted a few verses from the last Mughal Emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar. Read this story by Indscribe that spells a heart wrenching denouement to the dazzling Mughal Empire.

The story of middle-aged Sultana Begum brings tears to one’s eyes. She runs a tea-stall in Howrah to earn a living for her family. Twenty-five years ago her husband Mirza Bedar Bakht, the great grandson of last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar, died in penury.

Bedar Bakht sharpened knives to eke out living. After his death, the West Bengal government was approached by several organisations to provide an accommodation for the family. Sultana Begum ultimately got an accommodation but it was near the Red Light District. The goons occupied the house.

She continued to live in the slum. The anti-social elements preyed upon her daughters and she ran hither and thither to get protection for her daughters. Eminent writer Firoz Bakht Ahmad recounts that when he visited the house he stunned at the condition the family was living in. “There was absolutely nothing in the room in the name of household goods”.

The pension ended with her husband’s death long ago. The poignant story of the descendants of the last Mughal who had to see the sight of his own sons’ eyes gouged out and brought to him by the British and was exiled to Burma, proves the failure of the state and more so, the people to acknowledge the contribution of the heroes of our freedom struggle.

Published on May 7, 2007 at 11:43 am  Comments (7)  

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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Help the heir of heros who ruled our country.

  2. Its shocking to know the state of the decendants of the Last Mughal Emperor. Also, its shows the apathy of the Indian Government. Red Fort need not be restored to them, still they can be taken care of. At least a decent pension to the family whose ancestors ruled the Great Indian Subcontiment for more than 300 years. One has to realize that after the great mauryas and the guptas, the subcontinent was fragmented between kingdoms, till the great Mughals unified it under its flag. As far as the rules of Arcot, more than 2000 kilometers south of Agra and Delhi paid homage to the Mughal rulers, which tells us about the unity Mughals brought India under.

    Lets not be ungrateful, lets show respect, and some compassion.

  3. i don,t think tamoori blad need any one help but the matter of red light distric, center goverment has to look after immedaitely. and provide the proper protection to the familly.about the monetry help if they ask Goverment has to full fill this,there are many sahanai tamoor , bakshanai(baksh)tamoor and sultanai tamoor in india they just hide them self after 1857 revolt, due to the revenge of birtish goverment, in uttranchal province near kedaar nath (holy place )there are bakshanai tamoori people even this modern time its hard to reached that place,just immage wat was there in 1857 but they find there safty, water for wadu and fish and jungle (forest)for animals can be used for food very faar from the hand of birtish.

  4. i am really anguished to know the fate of the mughal decendants . Govt should come forward immediately to address their grievences let the NGOs and social organisations take this opportunity and come forward to provide the necessary help

  5. Written word restores glory to lives lost in oblivion

    Stiching words together to restore glory to the lives lost in oblivion may not be an easy task.

    But eminent journalist Shivnath Jha and wife Neena have successfully launched the ‘Andolan Ek Pustak Se’ movement in 2007 to help those who did the country proud in the past.

    ”We wanted to publish a book each year to honour and help those who brought laurels to the country,” said Shivnath Jha while addressing a press conference here yesterday.

    ”Our sole aim is to rehabilitate Sultana Begum, the great grand daughter-in law of last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar and her family. The proceeds from the sale of ‘Prime Ministers of India: Bharat Bhagya Vidhata,’ a coffee table book will go to rehabilitate Sultana Begum, who currently ekes out a living by selling tea in neigbouring Howrah district,” Mr Jha said.

    ”I am really proud that Mr Jha has successfully launched a movement to identify, rescue and rehabilitate such great souls from the sale proceeds of a book,” said Mr Vijay J Darda who owns Lokmat Group of Newspapers and is also a member of the Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra, while handing over a draft of Rs 200,000 to Sultana Begum, for the marriage of her daughter.

    The book provides a veritable mine of information on the achievements of the the leaders starting from Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

    Earlier, Mr Jha used the proceeds from the book on Bismillah Khan to rehabilitate Vinayak Rao Tope, the great grandson of the Tantiya Tope, a revered leader of the 1857 Sepoy mutiny. (UNI)

    Impoverished Mughal royal descendant gets a helping hand

    Kolkata, May 2 (IANS) The great granddaughter-in-law of the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar Sultana Begum, who now lives in a slum in West Bengal, is a little relieved. She now has the funds to perform get her daughter married, thanks to two journalists.

    ‘Andolan Ek Pustak Se’ – a movement kicked off by Delhi-based scribe Shivnath Jha and his wife Neena – was aimed at helping the erstwhile royal whose daughter Madhu will get married in June this year.

    ‘We’ve arranged to give her (Sultana Begum) a draft of Rs.200,000 for performing the marriage of her daughter,’ Jha told IANS.

    Begum said: ‘I am very happy today to get this fund. It will help me to live my life properly as I don’t have any decent source of income.’

    She lives in a 66-sq ft dingy room at a Howrah slum and runs a roadside tea stall there, about 14 km from here.
    ‘Despite serious penury, I was never reduced to being a beggar. I always held my head high in tough financial situations and lived with dignity,’ she said, thanking the Bismillah: The Beginning Foundation run by the Jhas.

    Sultana’s husband, late Mirza Mohd Bedar Bukht, was a direct descendant of Bahadur Shah Zafar and crown queen Zeenat Mehal.

    Jha told reporters here Saturday: ‘I decided to write a book, ‘Prime Ministers of India: Bharat Bhagya Vidhata’, and decided to rehabilitate the family of Sultana Begam from the proceeds of the book.’

    The 534-page hard bound and illustrated book, scheduled to be released after the general elections, will contain details of India’s prime ministers, from Jawaharlal Nehru to Manmohan Singh.

    It is the fourth book in the ‘Andolan Ek Pustak Se’ movement, which was launched by the duo in 2007 and aims to publish one book a year to honour and help those who have made India proud.

  6. Our book Prime Ministers of India:BharatBhagya Vidhata-1947-2009 came out. It meant to rehabilitate Sultana Begum. If you are really concerned for her as a humanbeing, please buy a book. contact:thebeginningfoundation@gmail.com or jshivnath@gmail.com

  7. Heroes of the freedom struggle? If history serves me rightly and Raza Rumi, please correct me if I am wrong, Bahadur Shah Zaffer was a complete coward and pleaded with the British for mercy. So demeaning was his attitude that the emperor’s wife was disgusted to be associated with him. He was a complete weakling. Its another thing that people want to help the descendents – but please dont do it in the name of paying tribute to our freedom fighters.


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