Bahadur Shah


the 19th, and last,emperor of the 300-year-old Mughal dynasty, was a pensioner of the East India Company who occupied himself writing Persian verse. When the Mutiny broke out, he became a tragic victim of circumstance. An unwilling pawn in the hands of the mutineers, he was unable to remain detached from events and was therefore imprisoned by the British after the fall of Delhi. A British lady who visited the last "king of kings" in captivity provided this pathetic portrait of him: "There in a small, dirty, low room with whitewashed walls, cowered a thin, small, old man, dressed in a dirty white suit of cotton. He laid aside the hookah he had been smoking, and began salaaming to us in the most abject manner, and saying he was 'burra kooshee' (very glad) to see us."

Bahadur Shah, whose name ironically derived from the Mongolian bator (hero) was exiled to Rangoon where he died in 1862.


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by Stephen Luscombe