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Bahadur Shah Zafar

Abu Zafar Sirajuddin Muhammad Bahadur Shah Zafar, also known as Bahadur Shah or Bahadur Shah II October 24, 1775 - 7 November 1862) was the last of the Mughal emperors in India, as well as the last ruler of the Timurid Dynasty . He was the son of Akbar Shah II by his Hindu wife Lalbai. He became the Mughal Emperor upon his father's death on September 28, 1838. Zafar was his nom de plume (takhallus) as an Urdu poet.

As emperor

Bahadur Sarat presided over a Mughal empire that barely extended beyond Delhi's Red Fort. The British Raj was the dominant political and military powers in 19th-century India. Hundreds of minor principalities fragmented the land. The emperor was paid some respect and allowed a pension and authority to collect some taxes, and maintain a token force in Delhi, but he posed no threat to any power in India. Bahadur Shah II himself did not interest himself in statecraft or possess any imperial ambitions.

Bahadur Shah Zafar was a noted Urdu poet. He wrote a large number of Urdu ghazals. While some part of his opus was lost or destroyed during the unrest of 1857-1858, a large collection did survive, and was later compiled into the Kulliyyat-i Zafar. The court that he maintained, although somewhat decadent and arguably pretentious for someone who was effectively a pensioner of the British East India Company, was home to several urdu writers of high standing, including Ghalib, Dagh, Mumin, and Zauq (Dhawq).

Legacy

Modern India views him as one of its first nationalists, someone who actively opposed British rule in India. In 1959, the All India Bahadur Shah Zafar Academy was founded expressly to spread awareness about his contribution to the first national freedom movement of India. Several movies in Hindi/Urdu have depicted his role during the rebellion of 1857. There are roads bearing his name in New Delhi, Lahore, Varanasi and other cities. A statue of Bahadur Shah Zafar has been erected at Vijayanagaram palace in Varanasi. In Bangladesh, the Victoria Park of old Dhaka has been renamed as Bahadur Shah Zafar Park.



 

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