Funds raised for last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar’s descendants

Funds are being raised for last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar’s descendants who live in the outskirts of Kolkata.

[ReviewAZON asin=”8120732863″ display=”inlinepost”]Funds are being raised for last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar’s descendants who live in the outskirts of Kolkata.

Sultana Begum, the great granddaughter of the last Mughal emperor of India, Bahadur Shah Zafar, has found an unusual saviour – a coffee table book on the former prime ministers of India.

The book, ‘The Prime Ministers of India – 1947-2009’ has been compiled by journalist Shivnath Jha and his teacher wife Neena Jha to raise money for Sultana Begum’s rehabilitation. Sultana Begum, a poor widow with four daughters, sells tea in a kiosk in Shibpur, a semi-urban township, 80 km southwest of Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal.

When I came across her in 2008, the 56-year-old woman who lives in a slum of gold panners – an impoverished community from Bihar which sifts waste water used by the goldsmiths to produce traces of the metal – looked like just another squatter, Jha told IANS.

[ReviewAZON asin=”0195074882″ display=”inlinepost”]Her 8 ft by 8 ft dwelling in the slums of Cowies Ghat belied the fact that her forefathers once ruled the subcontinent. She had nothing left. I decided to help her make a better life, Jha said.

The journalist and his wife, who had earlier helped raise funds for shehnai maestro Bismillah Khan and legendary Maratha freedom fighter Tantiya Tope’s descendants Vinayak Rao Tope, hit upon the idea to profile the prime ministers of India with a group of like-minded friends and politicians.

I intend to raise Rs.500,000 for her and deposit it in a bank so that she has a steady income. A school in Kolkata has also agreed to give her a job and the owner of a pharmaceutical company will donate an apartment to Sultana Begum, Jha said.

Her youngest daughter will be married in March with the money raised by the benefactors.

The book chronicles regimes of Indian prime ministers, including Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, V.P. Singh, Chandra Shekhar, P.V. Narasimha Rao, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, H.D. Deve Gowda, I.K. Gujral and Manmohan Singh, through texts and photographs.

The text throws light on the personalities of the prime ministers, their achievements and political developments during their rule.

The photographs were shot by Vijender Tyagi and several other photographers.

Indo-Asian News Service


1 thought on “Funds raised for last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar’s descendants

  1. Amongst the many false claiments to Mughal descent is a woman named Sultana Begum of Calcutta. In her correspondence with Sonia Gandhi the lady asserts that her late husband, a supposed second son of Jamshid Bakht:”Bedar Bukht was the descendant of Bahadur Shah Zafar and Zeenat Mahal. When the emperor was exiled in Rangoon in 1857, he was kept in confinement along with Zeenat Mahal and only surviving son Jawan Bukht. After the death of the emperor, Jawan Bukht married while still under house arrest. A son, Jamshed Bukht, was born to him. He later married Nadir Jahan, daughter of Piare Mian, a small-time hardware merchant of Lucknow. Their son, born in 1920, is Sultana’s husband Bedar Bukht.” It is told that Piare Mian smuggled in Bedar Bukht into India. And, young Bedar grew up in Kolkata with his identity under wraps for fear of incurring the wrath of the British. It was only after Independence that Bedar revealed his identity”. While all that may neatly explain away the actual fact that are no records of this Bedar Bakht in the official papers of pre-independence India or Burma, it does not quite explain away the supposed need for secrecy in the first place. Prince Jamshed, Prince Sikandar and Princess Raunaq Begum were well known in Rangoon cicles. They were in receipt of British government pensions, managed the Mazar of Bahadur Shah Zafar, participated in legal actions in the Burmese courts and municipality and socialised with British officials. None of those who have taken up or given credence to her story seem to have stopped themselves to ask why the need for secrecy over this particular child or why would he have been in any greater danger than his supposed elder brother or other supposed near relatives.

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