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Bahadur Shah Zafar Short Biography


Bahadur Shah Zafar Short Biography

Bahadur Shah Zafar Short Biography

Abu Zafar Sirajuddin Muhammad Bahadur Shah, generally referred to as Bahadur Shah Zafar was the last Mughal ruler in India. He is best remembered for his leading and inspiring role against the British in the 1857 Revolt.

He was born in 1775 AD in Delhi. Akbar Shah Saani was the name of his father. The Mughal Empire had lost all its glory and prestige at that time and was facing great challenges for its survival from the formidable Maratha forces and The British Company. Internal disputes and intrigues did also undermine the Mughals. Bahadur Shah Zafar succeeded his father Akbar Shah as the ruler of Delhi in 1837 AD. He had an influence on a very small part of Delhi as a ruler and the British had taken control over Delhi literally.


The 1857 Revolt emerged as a huge threat to the British. During the Revolt Bahadur Shah was declared the Chief of the Revolt from the Indian side by the other Indian leaders. He accepted the leadership of the great event of Indian history. In the initial phase Indians got success in capturing many parts. But they could not continue it for a long and decisive period. Delhi was also freed from the British for a time but the British forces led by Sir John Nicholson recaptured Delhi in September 1857 after some resistance from the Indian side led by Bahadur Shah. Sir John Nicholson lost his life in the conflict.

The British got furious at Nicholson's death and terrible vengeance was wreaked upon Bahadur Shah and his supporters. Two of his sons and a grandson were shot dead publicly by col. Hudson in Delhi in a bid to pacify the fire of revenge of the British. Bahadur Shah was sent to Rangoon, Myanmar in exile. He died there in 1862 AD. He wrote a poem in Urdu to express the agony of his being far away from his motherland i.e., India in his ending days and a couplet from it became very famous. It is

– Hai Kitna badnasib Zafar dafan ke liye

Do gaz Zameen bhi na mili ko-e yaar main.

(How unfortunate Zafar you are as you could not get a piece of land for your grave at your motherland.)

Some Important Points

No:1. Bahadur Shah was a man of letters. He was an eminent poet of Urdu and Persian languages.

No:2. His literary name was Zafar.

No:3. His period is referred to as the Golden Age of Urdu literature as he was the patron of great Urdu poets like Mirza Ghalib, Zauk, Momin Khan Momin and Daagh.

No:4. Kulliyat-e Zafar was the famous collection of his ghazals (short poems in Urdu).

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