Bahadur Shah Zafar


The following are some sites I found on the internet.  They are not necessarily the only or the best ones, just the ones I found.  An attempt has been made not to include any sites with a political slant, bias or any sites which advocate any forms of racial or religious hatred.  Unfortunately there are some sites on the internet which distort use Bahadur Shah Zafar’s history for their own nefarious purposes.  Where ever possible I have used words within the site to describe it, this is to avoid any bias in describing it.

Some of the sites do not contain a lot of material but are still useful in that for a researcher they give rare clues to where they can look for additional information.

A lot of the sites deal with the War of Independence or the Sepoy Mutiny as the British wanted to describe it.  Yet other Indian sites appear to indicate that the struggle of Bahadur Shah Zafar was only for the ruling classes and for the Mughal Dynasty.  It is not for me to make any judgements.

Ghalib's Delhi by Kaleem Khaja is an article contained in message 3 on Urdunetwork.  It gives an excellent picture of  Delhi during the time of Bahadur Shah Zafar.  

A picture from the illustrated London News and a Letter to the Times Daily from that period.


A very nice picture of Bahadur Shah Zafar, together with a brief account of his times with reference to the Bhakti movement.


Mentions the fact that some people now consider Bahadur Shah Zafar to be a saint.


The above sites refer to a recent short film. The half-an-hour documentary film traces the family history of the Moghuls after the exile of Bahadur Shah Zafar to Burma in 1857 by the British.


The descendants of the country's grand Mughal rulers are today a forgotten family , living miles from the capital's imposing sandstone fort in a little, rented house near the southern city of Hyderabad.


Contains some poems by Bahadur Shah Zafar, these are in the Roman Script.


Contains extracts from the Farmans of Bahadur Shah Zafar where he asked the people of India to unite for the good of the country.


A short but useful summary about the life and achievements of Bahadur Shah Zafar.


Zafar Mahal , as the name indicates was added by the last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar.


Tucked away in the narrow by-lanes of the bustling Mehrauli village here is Zafar Mahal, the palace of the last Moghul.


This site is in French.  Refers to the Court Singer of Bahadur Shah Zafar.

La lignée à laquelle il appartient est celle des "Qawwal Bacche".  Il est l’aîné des descendants de Tan Ras Khan Dasnewala, premier chanteur à la cour de Bahadur Shah Zafar, le dernier empereur moghol.


Habib Wali Mohammad had sung Bahadur Shah Zafar's immortal ghazal: 'Lagta ... Ja kahio unsay naseem-e-sahar


THE LAST Moghul Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar allowed his Hindu ministers to smear his forehead with gulal on Holi every year. He believed that his religion would not be affected by this social ritual and was sure that God would redeem him for he had not broken the heart of his subjects.


Mirza Ehtashamuddin Chaghtai read out a paper which was plaintive in tone. He said that the government had not, as yet, fulfilled its pledge to bring the remains of Zafar to Pakistan and give it a proper burial in Lahore, alongside emperor Jehangir.


In death, Bahadur Shah Zafar has become a saint. But in Mandalay, the ancient capital of Myanmar kings and the next big city after Yangon, King Thebaw's descendants grieve for the last King.


While the foundation to the new city was being laid out, the flames of freedom movement had engulfed Delhi


Proof of Bahadur Shah Zafar’s involvement in Diwali is furnished by Hakeem Mam Chand Arora of Chandni Chowk Katra Neel’s Surbhi Trading Company, who claims that the pooja samagri (prayer material) at the durbar was sent by his forefathers.


How did the Phoolwalon-ki-Sair begin? The popularity of the festival reached its peak during Bahadur Shah Zafar’s reign.


The verses penned by his great grandfather, Bahadur Shah Zafar in his Rangoon cell continue to haunt the nation. His descendant MASIHUDDIN TUCY shares the pain the exiled emperor experienced, but the ITC food consultant hides it well.


Ghalib Academy. Its walls are arrayed with old but beautifully framed photographs and paintings of the great contemporary poets, such as, Zauq the court poet of Bahadur Shah Zafar,


Urdu literature. The climax came in 1857 AD which today we call first battle of Indian Independence (then called Mutiny), Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Moghul king, himself a poet of some significance, was imprisoned and banished to Burma

Kya bood bash poocho ho Purab key sakino

Hum ko garib jaan kay, hans hans pukartay

Dilli jo ek shahar tha, alam main intikhab

Rehtay thay muntkhib kis rozgar kay

Falak nay ussey loot kay weeran kar diya

Hum rehney waley hain ussi ujday diyar kay


A very intriguing account about the theory that the Nehru family was related to Bahadur Shah Zafar.  I have no idea about the validity of this just an intriguing idea.  How far it is historically correct is not for me to comment.

“Our readers! If you can, please read up all references made in the memoirs of Jawahar Lal and Krishna Hutheesingh on Ganga Dhar. True to the last whisker, the picture portrayed on our web-site, does represent a Mogul nobleman,”


Bahadurshah Zafar was the reigning Moghul King at this time. East India Company had established itself during this time. Laxminarayan was working, as an advocate, for East India Company. Laxminarayan’s son Pundit Gangadhar Nehru was the kotwal in the employ of East India Company....... Gangadhar used to patronize a singing girl named Husna Begum. He had two sons: Banshidhar Nehru and Nandlal Nehru. During 1857, when the Britishers tried to swallow Bahadur Shah Zafar Indians reacted strongly and attacked the firangis and even their Indian staff and well wishers.


He was skilled in calligraphy and himself wrote out passages from the Quran for the important mosques of Delhi.


'Kulyat-e-Zafar' contains the complete works of the last of the Mughal Greats- Bahadur Shah Zafar.  US $44.50.




"I am a devotee of Qutbudeen

And dust at the feet of Fakhrudeen.

A king I may be

But a lowly servant of Fakhrudeen I seem."


There are two great Indian fighters of the war of independence who devoted their entire lives for the freedom of the country but after their death they could not get even two yards of land for burial in their beloved country. The first name among such unfortunate persons is that of the hero of India’s first war of independence Bahadur Shah Zafar and the second name of the same period is that of the great warrior lady Begum Hazrat Mahal who took an active part in India’s first war of independence of 1857.


A bulk of [Zafar's] poetry is built around his personal experience of loss, defeat and despair." As a matter of historical fact, however, this widespread opinion is plainly false.


Damri,” . A famous kite. It belonged to Prince Yavar Bakht, the best kite‑flyer in the court of Bahadur Shah Zafar, a kite‑flyer himself!”


JUNGU KHAN 1791 - 1852  (Period of Bahadur Shah Zafar), reference to a court singer


Amongst a list of items at the National Archives the following is listed.


Proposed Plan of the Masoleum of Bahadur Shah Zafar at Rangoon.


'Karavan-e-Ghazal' (alternate title: Dastaan-e-Ghazal) is a serial in 13 parts on the history and origin of the ghazal' beginning with Amir Khusro in the 13 th Century and ending with Faiz Ahmed Faiz. The serial records the contributions of poets like Quli Qutub Shah, Waris Shah, Siraj Aurangabadi, Arzoo, Anand Ram Mukhlis, Abdul Hai Taban, Jafar Zalalli, Meer Taqi Meer, Mus Hafi, Nazeer Akbarabadi, Ghalib, Bahadur Shah Zafar, Dagh, lqbal, Josh and Bismil.


Further down you find what was once a majestic old house, Nahar Wali Haveli. It had belonged to a wazir [prime minister] of the last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar who held court in the 18th century. Today it houses two Hindu families from Pakistan.


Munshi Raziuddin has been working in the field of Qawwali for more than 65 years. He belongs to the Delhi Gharana (house-hold) of "Ustad Tan Ras Khan Sahab" who was a teacher of the last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar. Ustad Tan Ras Khan was awarded the "Chandni Mehal" in Dehli by Emperor "Bahadur Shah Zafar" for his contribution to the field of Traditional Music.


Mehrauli by Charles Lewis.  It was from here that the last Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar watched the Phoolwalon ki Sair procession as it wound its way through the lanes of Mehrauli to the Jog Maya temple and the Haus Shamsi. Lewis quotes a contemporary description.


In fact one of the great grandsons of Bahadur Shah Zafar was living as a dhobi (washerman) in Delhi till recently. So there's nothing much we can do for Shah except weep", laments Azad.


Picture of the “The house within the King's Palace in which King Bahadur Shah was confined by the British forces.”


The news of the coronation of Birjis Qadr had actually been sent to the Delhi emperor whose approval was promptly received. This was followed by a letter from the boy king to Bahadur Shah Zafar:   The leadership vacuum was then filled by Begum Hazrat Mahal, the herioc consort of Wajid Ali Shah, whose valorous exploits at the crucial time easily made her the Muslim counterpart of Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi


He was a profilic writer and the four volume he wrote before his depotion had abour 36000 coupltes. Its sad that his

improved pain-soaked mature couplets of Rangoon period are not available.


History of Urdu.  Whereas the 18th century produced remarkable literature in Urdu, it was often lost, since only when the poets reached fame were their writings collected and published. The writings of one of the greatest poet, Nazir, were collected 80 years after his death and even the works of Zauq, the teacher of King Bahadur Shah Zafar, were destroyed during the mutiny of 1857. Some of the poems written by the King, Bahadur Shah Zafar, in exile were also lost.


In the 1980s, Ashok Kumar cut down his work and apart from films, was seen occassionally on Television anchoring the vastly popular soap Hum Log or playing the title role in Bahadur Shah Zafar.




Muslims becoming blood brothers as they fought and died in the defence of their common national sovereign, Bahadur Shah Zafar in 1857”.

Who said this? Few will guess correctly . The writer is Vinayak Damodar Savarkar


P r i m e  M i n i s t e r  V a j p a y e e's Independence Day address to the Nation.  This Red Fort and its world-renowned ramparts are not merely a geographical spot. The very heartbeat of India’s freedom struggle is linked to this fort and its ramparts. In the First War of Independence of 1857, this is where Bahadur Shah Zafar was held a prisoner.


The Sepoy Mutiny — India, 1857 , The Western view summary,  The Indian view summary .


The Kohinoor diamond is not the only treasure that still remains in the hands of the British Crown. The Crystal throne of the Last Moghal, Bahadur Shah Zafar, his gold crown, and the jewelled `Huma` bird which adorned the throne of Tipu Sultan are yet to be returned to their rightful place, the Indian authorities claim. The Moghul spoon of gold studded with priceless rubies, Emperor Shah Jahan`s jade wine cup, the Padishahnama of Shah Jahan are among other priceless artefact in Britain.


Kaifi Saab wrote a play called Aakhri Shama about the last mushaira held in the Moghul Empire under Bahadur Shah Zafar. It later became very famous. Ghalib was one of the main characters in it.


Emperor Bahadur Shah II (Zafar) & he supported the Raos'. Raos' in turn sent their military to join the revolteers at Delhi, Meerut & Ambala. But with the end of the revolt & arrest of Emperor Zafar, when Delhi fell to British on September 20 1857, the fierce BATTLE OF NARNAUL (3RD ANGLO-AHIR WAR) WAS FOUGHT ON NOVEMBER 16 1857.


Khawaja Ghulam Farid rendered numerous services for spreading Islam and left behind disciples in Lacs. His most notable disciples are noted below:-


Mirza Ahmad Akhtar, the grand son of Bahadur Shah Zafar.


Gives a different angle to the War of Independence.  Explains why Punjab took the side of the British.


By June, nearly 90,000, or 70 percent of the Bengal Army's Sepoy force had joined the mutiny. During the early stages of the revolt, the British were unable to repond effectively to the widespread uprising, and suffered heavy casualties. After major losses at the Kanpur garrison and Lucknow, the British Army, along with loyal Sikh and Gurkha forces, were able to regroup and put down the rebellion.


One of Bahadur Shah Zafar’s poems sung by Mehdi Hasan is on this site. 


Baat Karni mujhay mushkil: Raag Pahadi

Poet: Bahadur Shah Zafar Composition: Mehdi Hassan


Sohrab Modi's "Mizra Ghalib" (1954, Hindi), about the Urdu court poet Ghalib, appointed by the last Mughal King Bahadur Shah Zafar, featured Murad as the King and Bharat Bhushan as Ghalib.


This does not relate to Bahadur Shah Zafar except for the reference below, nevertheless it is a good indicator of the enlightened times of Bahadur Shah Zafar when there seemed to be very little communal conflict.


It can be argued that Ghalib's radical views were not fully mirrored by the man on the street. But it would not have been possible for him to openly declare his views and practice them or achieve the tremendous following he had, except in an age somewhat in tune with his beliefs. In a time of fundamental discordance with his views, it may not have been possible for a Hindu, Munshi Hargopal Tufta to become Ghalib's foremost Shagird and closest friend. Not would it have been possible for Ghalib to declare another Hindu- Shivji Ram Brahman- to be like a son to him; or for the Mughal emperor of his age, Bahadur Shah Zafar to appoint a Hindu convert of Christianity- Dr. Chaman Lal as his personal physician.

(Courtesy: Penguin Books, India

Pavan Verma, Ghalib, the Man and the Times)


Describes what remains of  the Delhi as it was at the time of Bahadur Shah Zafar.


The haveli where Zeenat Mahal, the favourite queen of the last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, lived, is now being used as a big iron market; some families have also built their homes there. The old opulence has gone. The haveli belonging to the Englishman, James Skinner, in Gali Qasim Jaan had a courtyard in which he kept elephants and horses. Mirza Ghalib lived in Gali Qasim Jaan and so did Shamsuddin




Mir Tahniath Ali Khan Afzal-ud-Daula was born on October 11, 1827. He was the eldest son of Nawab Nasir-ud-Daula. He ascended the throne on May 18, 1857 and the great Indian Mutiny (First war of Independence) was started on July 17, 1857. On January 27, 1858, Sir John Lawrence, the Chief Commissioner of Punjab, ordered an enquiry against Bahadur Shah Zafar and with the help of false witnesses exiled him to Rangoon.


British Library’s collections.  Dividing the Indian visitors into three main types – official, academic and practical – she concentrated on one representative, which she found particularly special, from each of the three groups.  She started with an Urdu manuscript, Siyahat Namah, and explored the ways in which Karim Khan, an envoy from Bahadur Shah Zafar to the East India Company, combined Persian and Urdu literary techniques with European location and contacts to paint a picture of the social and formal London of the early 1840s


Photographs of Bahadur Shah Zafar’s Delhi as Beato photographed it.  Because Beato arrived in India well after the Uprising’s major battles were over, he captured the important locations of the re-conquest, the key points of which had become hallowed martrys’ memorials. The knowledge of the British victory thus informs the way the photographs are viewed. Beato’s photographs of Delhi are a record of the re-establishment of British control of India,


During the rule of Mughla Rewari was the part of Delhi territory. In the SAVTANTRTA-SANGRAM of 1857 “Rao Tula Ram & Krishan Gopal “ of Rewari fought aggressively against the British rule with the help of “Samrat Bahadur Shah Zafar” and there was a movement when they brought the British rule to an end in Rewari.


The idea of Aakhri Mughal came to me from Taj (Tajdar Amrohi). He was talking to me one day about the film his father Kamal Amrohi was planning in the early '70s — on the last Moghul emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, and his son Mirza Moghul


Dr Barz is currently working on a distance education package for introductory Hindi as part of the Australian government's National Asian Languages Project. He is also working on a biography of Bahadur Shah II 'Zafar' with translation of, and commentary on, his Urdu poetry.


The following day Hodson rode back to the tomb and arrested the king's three sons, Mizra Moghul, Mizra Khizr Sultan and Mizra Abu Bakr. Just before reaching the walls of Delhi, he ordered them out of the bullock cart they were riding in, stripped off their clothes and with his own hand shot the three of them dead....... Whatever the reason for Hodson's action, his behaviour that day was disgraceful and can only be described as murder.


Coins  Bahadur Shah II: 1253 - 1273 AH; 1837 - 1857 AD     , Denomination:   Nazarana Rupee


Bahadur Shah, whose famous queen, Zeenat Mahal, several decades younger, did not appeal to him only because of her tomboyish charm as she caught floating paper kites on the terrace of her haveli in Lal Kuan.


Traders of Chandni Chowk gathered here to petition the king about the increasing debts of the members of the royal family and during the reign of Bahadur Shah Zafar, it was here that the merchants decided to offer financial help for the upkeep of the so-called rebels in 1857.


This is the site of Prince Yakub Habeebuddin Tucy who resides in Hyderabad , India and has appealed to the Indian Government to recognise the greatness of Bahadur Shah Zafar and to posthumously award the title of Bharat Ratna to him.