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Bahadur Shah Zafar Biography

Bahadur Shah Zafar was the last Mughal emperor of India who was born in 1775 at Delhi. He was named Abu Zafar Sirajuddin Muhammad Bahadur Shah Zafar during his birth but was more popular as Bahadur Shah Zafar. His father was Akbar Shah and his mother was Lalbai.

He ascended the throne at a very advanced age, after the death of his father, in 1837. He was last ruler of the Mughal Dynasty, which ruled India for about 300 years. He did not rule over his empire with a strong hand because of the rising power of the British.

During Bahadur Shah Zafar’s reign, Urdu poetry developed and reached its acme. Influenced by his grandfather and father who were also poets, even he developed this creative skill. He also contributed in the literary field. His poetry mostly dealt with love and mysticism. He even wrote of the pain and sorrow that he faced by the British. He was also a great patron of eminent and famous Urdu poets like Mirza Ghalib, Zauk, Momin and Daagh of his time. Most of his Urdu Ghazals were lost during the war of 1857. Some of them which were saved, were compiled and named Kulliyat-I-Zafar.

The first War of Independence in India started in 1857 under the leadership of Bahadur Shah Zafar. He was appointed as the Commander-in-Chief by the freedom fighters. Initially the revolt was quite successful, but later on it was crushed by the powerful British army and Bahadur Shah Zafar, was overthrown. Despite the failure of the revolt the revolutionaries considered Bahadur Shah Zafar as the Emperor of India. Zafar was hiding at Humayun’s tomb, in Delhi, along with his three sons and a grandson when the British army came and killed his sons and grandson and he was charged of treachery. In 1858, he was exiled to Rangoon in Myanmar, he lived there for five years and died at the age of 87, in 1862 . He was buried in the shrine Bahadur Shah Zafar Dargah in Rangoon, which is located near the Shwe Degon Pagoda at 6 Ziwaka Road, at Rangoon.