|Last Mogul ruler. Bhadur Shah Zafar lighteddream.wordpress.com|
|Tomb of Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar, Ynkon, Myanmar triphobo.com|
In the last phases of the first war of independence (Many historians view that Sepoy mutiny is a wrong title) in 1857 by Indian soldiers and others against the British misrule rule, their exploitation and racial discrimination it turned more violent and sensational. Dubbed as the most important anti-colonial revolt against a European empire in the 19th centuryit shook the basic foundation of the British rule in India. The last Mogul ruler Zafar who was reduced to a powerless ruler with jurisdiction in and around Delhi with yearly dole from the English company publicly supported the rebellion though he was against violence and his entry angered the British.
Against Zafar's wish, Sepoys – native soldiers both Hindus and Muslims, who were in the employ of the East India Company, made him their commander-in-chief, because as there was no charismatic leader worth his name to lead them and further he was was liked by both Hindus and Muslims. In the midst of Delhi siege that followed mayhem, violent riots and killings, the Europeans were hiding in Zafar's palace to escape from the fury of the hell-bent mob. Without Mogul ruler's knowledge, the rebels inside the palace killed as many as of 52 Europeans hiding there. Despite his non-involvement and just because he was the leader of the rebels, the British accused Zafar of having instigated the cold-blooded killing of the British in the palace.
Fearing safety of his family members, Bahadur Shah Zafar and his wife Zeenat Mahal had escaped to Humanyun’s tomb near Delhi. The British had him and his wife captured under the command of Hodson and his spy Maulvi Rajab Ali, who negotiated with the emperor, of safety to his life. The emperor and his wife Zeenat walked back to Delhi as British prisoners. Following day, Major Hodson went back to Humanyun’s tomb to capture the three princes, Mirza Mughal, Khizr Sultan, and Abu Baker, the heirs to the Mogul ruler on assurance they would be spared. They were on the way to Delhi in a bullock cart before a huge mob. They were at the Khuni Darwaza near the city walls of Delhi, Hodson’s next action was horrible, gory and in human. No sooner had he ordered the princes to be stripped naked than Hodson shot them dead in cold blood. No remorse, nothing of that sort and he did it with glee. He then stripped the corpses of their rings and their bejeweled swords, and later he boasted that he disposed off the principal members of the family of Timur, the Tartar. To cap it all Major William Hodson, presented ruler Zafar the decapitated heads of his three legal heirs.
|1957,Delhi:dagger seized seized Hodson lighteddream.wordpress.com|
The British implicated Zafar in the massacre of Europeans and tried him for “treason” and “aiding rebels”. But, the Indian patriots looked upon him as a great hero and a freedom fighter. The British who were after complete take over of Delhi found Zafar guilty and exiled him to Rangoon, Burma. Thus the British eliminated the last Mogul ruler and sent him out of Delhi to a far of place. Soon after the rebellion was subdued by them, the administration came directly under the British Crown, leading to the creation of the British Raj (1858-1947).
The Mogul ruled the Indian sub-continent for more than three centuries, between the mid 16th and early 18th centuries. Under it, the Indian economy remained prosperous. It had created a uniform currency and road system, unified the country and created great cities. After five years of a very sad and painful exile in captivity, deeply humiliated and mentally wounded ruler Zafar became a wretched soul and died in Rangoon on November 7, 1862, at the age of 87. Just before death he wrote, “Not to be heard, not a spirited song; I am the voice of anguish, a cry of colossal grief. […] Life comes to an end, dusk approaches; in peace I will sleep, sheltered by the grave.”
|Zafar with twwo sons. lighteddream.wordpress.com|
It took nearly century to find Zafar's tomb as the British wanted his tomb to be lost for ever and not to be found again . However, local Muslims living in Yangon knew for a long time that the Emperor had been buried somewhere within a definite compound to the south of Shwedagon Pagoda. The spot was covered with over growth of grass and had simple bamboo fence around it.
|( Zafar’s grave, Yangon, Myanmar. lighteddream.wordpress.com|
|Tomb of Zafar, Myanmar lighteddream.wordpress.com|
A couple of years later Bahadur Shah Zafar’s “Dargah” (Sufi shrine), was built at the site of the grave. The current hall, dedicated to the memory of Zafar, was inaugurated on December 15, 1994 by Myanmar’s minister for religious affairs, with the assistance of the Government of India and the presence of the Indian Ambassador. Myanmar’s Muslims, visit this durgah regularly and they honor Zafar as an “emperor-saint”. It is a two-story mausoleum are covered with engraved marble plaques. Nine steps lead to a crypt,
It is a bit of irony, just like Zafar Thibaw, the last King of Burma (1878-1885), faced defeat and humiliation in the hands of the British in the Third Anglo-Burmese War. He not only lost the throne and his crown but also spent his time in colonial captivity (exiled for twenty-seven years) in Ratnagiri, India where he died in 1916 unsung and unheard of.