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Remembering the last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar
(24-10-1775 to 7-11-1862)
on his “159th Anniversary of his Martyrdom
India’s First War of Independence in 1857 was fought under his inspiring leadership and an ultimatum was given to the British imperialist to Quit India.
The unique contribution and sacrifices made by him and his family in strengthening the Hindu-Muslim unity paved the way for the secular evolution of our country.It also laid the foundations for the war of independence to be continued with added revolutionary zeal and enthusiasm for freedom struggle with the same ethos of national integration and coexistence of people of all faiths.
In order to punish him for having chosen the revolutionary path, the British imperialists presented him the severed heads of his two sons and a grandson in a tray but Zafar faced this calamity with courage, conviction and commitment in the fight against the colonial power.His immediate reaction to this heinous act was that he was prepared to sacrifice everything for the freedom of his country.
Emperor Zafar was highly respected by people of all religions and faiths.After the farce trial for his involvement in the First War of Independence,he was taken to Kolkata and then exiled to Rangoon where he passed away with the cherished desire in his heart to be buried in India. His lament still rings in our ears.“How unfortunate Zafar that for his burial.He could not get even two yards of land in his country”?
“Kitna Hai Badnaseeb Zafar,
Dafan Ke Liye
Do Gaz Zamin Bhi Na Mili,
Kuye Yaar Main.”
An International Committee for Commemorating 150 years of the First Indian War of Independence was formed in England with the legendary members comprising Dr Vidya Sagar Anand, author, historian and Labour leader,as its President, Arif Naqvi, Dr Sahir Shiwee ,M.A.Faridi as Vice-Presidents, Prof Mohd. Arif as General Secretary, and G.D.Govender as Director Public Relations. The Patrons of this Committe were Rt.Hon.Lord’ Dholakia of Waltham Brook, OBDE DL Hon.Virendra Sharma, MP and Lord Patel of Blackburn.
The Committee was keen to bring back a handful of the earth from the burial place of Bahadur Shah Zafar from Rangoon and symbolically place it in the Sardaba which Zafar had marked as its grave in Zafar Mahal Complex ,Mehrauli , Delhi.
We are trying to re-organise the Committee through Freedom Movement Memorial Committee-Delhi) It needs to remember that after the Battle of Plassey (1757) throughout the 18th and the 19th Centuries, the dispossessed peasants, oppressed and the physically and economically maimed artisans and impoverished lower middle class had been rising in revolts, again and again.
It was this phenomenon of periodical eruptions of rage and uprisings that resulted in the great upheaval which shook the entire country in 1857 and the people rose as one nation in the First War of Independence,1857 heralded a new era of communal harmony and unity among the people of all faiths and creeds in the fight against foreign domination. Our nation remembers with a sense of national pride and gratitude for the heroic roles played by Bahadur Shah Zafar,Tatia Tope, Nana Saheb,Rani Laxmibai,Babu Kunwar Singh,Begum Hazarat Mahal,Nawab of Jhajjar,Nawab of Bahadurgarh,Rao Tula Ram,Raja Nahar Singh,and many others.
In this war of independence, hundreds of thousands of Indians were killed and hanged on trees to terrorise the locals through the country.22,000 men and women were killed in Delhi in a single day. The people were ruthlessly crushed but they did not lose heart and kept alive the ideals of driving away the British and adopting the peaceful coexistence of all creeds and faiths.
It was these facts that created many streams of freedom fighters who had the same goal and realise the same ideals.
Let us remember the sacrifices and ideals of the great leaders of the India’s First War of Independence.
Prashant C Bajpai
s/o Late Shashi Bhushan
Revolutionary Freedom Fighter & Satyagrahi
Member of Parliament
4th & 5th Lok Sabha
“ Padma Bhushan “🇮🇳
Awardee: 29 March 2006
Freedom Movement Memorial Committee.
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