|Last Mogul ruler Bahadur Shah Zafar, en.wikipedia.org|
|Last Mogul ruler Bahadur Shah Zafar and his wife, Pinterest|
|PM MOdi visiting Bhagadur Shah Zafar's tomb. NDTV.com|
|English company arresting the last Mogul ruler Zafar. en.wikipedia.org|
When the British were on the verge of putting down the rebellion across the north Indian states, in particular Delhi, Zafar took refuge at Humayun's Tomb on the outskirts of Delhi. Major William Hodson, a hot-headed, merciless military officer led the army and arrested Zafar on 20 September 1857 and on the following day Hodson brought his sons Mirza Mughal and Mirza Khizr Sultan, and grandson Mirza Abu Bakr under his own authority on a bullock cart and near the Khooni Darwaza near the Delhi Gate, in a flash, shot them dead point blank without any prior warning. Severed heads of his three sons and grandson were brought before him and it is believed, they were hung near the gate for several days, a sort of warning to those who would resort to revolting against the British authority. Hodson happened to be a cold-blooded murderer and Gen. Reginald Dyer of Jallianwallah Bagh massacre (1913) fame surpassed him in mass murder by driving the innocent people like cattle on a ranch before a shower of bullets at he only exit gate. These two go down in Indian history as the bloodiest and cold-blooded murderers of Indian people. As of today either the British Crown or the British Government apologized to the Indian people for the wrong committed by their forefathers in the past. A simple note of sorry will suffice. Perhaps magnanimity may be an anathema to the race-conscious British administration!!
The trial on the Indian rebellion took place at the Delhi Red Fort and lasted for 41 days, had 19 hearings, 21 witnesses and over a hundred documents in Persian and Urdu, with their English translations, were produced in the court. It was the first case to be tried at the Red Fort. The EIC meetings were normally held in Calcutta with respect to commercial dealings.
Bhagadur Shah Zafar was tried and found guilty on four counts:
01. Aiding and abetting the rebels of the troops, 02. Encouraging and instigating war against the British Government, 03. Assuming the sovereignty of Hindoostan and 04. Causing and being accessory to the murder of the Christians.
........... Proceedings of the April 1858 Trial of Bahadur Shah Zafar 'King of Delhi.
Bahadur Shah II' contention that he was helpless before the rebels who apparently used to affix his seal on empty envelopes, the contents of which he was absolutely unaware of. The eighty-two year old poet-king was so harassed by the rebels he was neither willing nor capable of providing any real leadership. His polite argument before the trial court on the 20th day was of no use and he could not prove neither his innocence nor his disapproval of violence against the English. The trial was biased and the Emperor's age, frail nature and lack of assertiveness never drew the attention of the trial court. One Hakim Ahsanullah Khan, Zafar's most trusted confidant and both his Prime Minister and personal physician, under duress, betrayed him by providing evidence against him at the trial in return for a pardon for himself.
Responding to Hodson's guarantee on his surrender, Zafar was not sentenced to death but exiled to Rangoon, Burma, where he died in November 1862 at the age of 87. His wife Zeenat Mahal and some of the remaining members of the family went along with him. The British treated the last Mogul ruler in a shabby manner by taking him and others at 4 a.m on 7 October 1858 to Rangoon, Burma in bullock carts escorted by 9th Lancers under command of Lieutenant Ommaney.
Bahadur Shah Zafar was a well-known Urdu poet, having written a number of Urdu ghazals. Unfortunately a part of his work was was lost during the tumultuous Indian Rebellion of 1857. However, a large collection of his works did survive, and was compiled into the Kulliyyat-i-Zafar. The court that he maintained was home to several prolific Urdu writers, including Mirza Ghalib, Dagh, Mumin, and Zauq.
Soon after the Indian rebellion, the greedy occupying English Army ransacked the Red Fort and stole anything that was valuable - ancient objects, jewels, books and other cultural items were taken which can be found in various museums in Britain. For example, the Crown of Bahadur Shah II is a part of the Royal Collection in London. Thus, the British Empire across the world was built amidst murder and mayhem, dishonest wheeling dealing, treachery and treason, and waling of millions of people, in particular Indians. Every exhibit in the British Museum from the Indian subcontinent and other places is stained with blood and curses.