Bahadur Shah Zafar

Mughal emperor

Bahadur Shah Zafar (24 October 1775 – 7 November 1862) was the last Mughal emperor. He was a nominal Emperor, as the Mughal Empire existed in name only and his authority was limited only to the walled city of Old Delhi (Shahjahanabad). He died on 7 November 1862.

Bahadur Shah Zafar (circa 1854)

Quotes edit

  • غازیوں میں بُو رہے گی جب تلک ایمان کی
    تخت لندن تک چلے گی تیغ ہندوستان کی
    • As long as there remains the scent of faith in the hearts of our Ghazis,
      so long shall the sword of Hindustan flash before the throne of London.
  • دوست آں باشد که گیرد دست دوست
    در پریشان حالی و درماندہ کی
    دوست مشمرآنکه در نعمت زند
    لاف باری برادر خواندہ کی
    • Friend is he, who grasps the hand of Friend,
      In the midst of trouble and distress,
      Not they who in prosperity profess
      Themselves friends, nay are brothers by repute.
      A Friend is he, who proffers Friendship's hand
      When care or grief our kindred feelings claim
      Not he whom prosperous days alone command
      And is a Friend or Brother but in name.

Ghazal edit

  • My heart has no repose in this despoiled land
    Who has ever felt fulfilled in this futile world?
    The nightingale complains about neither the sentinel nor the hunter
    Fate had decreed imprisonment during the harvest of spring
    Tell these longings to go dwell elsewhere
    What space is there for them in this besmirched heart?
    Sitting on a branch of flowers, the nightingale rejoices
    It has strewn thorns in the garden of my heart
    I asked for a long life, I received four days
    Two passed in desire, two in waiting.
    The days of life are over, evening has fallen
    I shall sleep, legs outstretched, in my tomb
    How unfortunate is Zafar! For his burial
    Not even two yards of land were to be had, in the land of his beloved.[2]
Friend is he, who grasps the hand of Friend,
In the midst of trouble and distress,
Not they who in prosperity profess
Themselves friends, nay are brothers by repute.

Ghazal edit

  • I wish you had made me the master of royals,
    Or made my crown the bowl for alms and betrayals.
    You should have made me mad, crazy only for you,
    Why did you make me wise, capable of denials?
    You made me poor, fit only for sifting through dust,
    And I wish the dust of her feet were my trials.
    If you made me intoxicated with love,
    Why did you make the measure of life small vials?
    A wretched heart torn a hundred times over lives,
    To be the shoulder to rest her hair is my desire.
    If I were not worthy to be with the Sufis,
    Could have been good for the company of drunks, defiant?
    If you wished to burn me by parting from the pourer,
    Should have made me the lamp of the tavern’s foyer.
    The fire of beauty was not unveiled in the garden,
    Or the bulbul too would have been made a moth on fire.
    This incessant world is a vile place, O Zafar,
    Its cities should have been desolate and dire.[3]

Ghazal edit

  • The heart is asunder, singed to a kebab,
    This love has been the disaster of my life.
    My murder rests good on you, don’t worry,
    You have found grace, I am away from strife.
    “Enamoured” one day, “mad” on another,
    Each day I was given new names, new life.
    Why should I not drink my blood in envy?
    When today, with my rival they wine.
    The goblet’s lips kissed yours in ecstasy,
    My victory was to bite into mine.
    For you, I wandered streets with tearful eyes,
    Setting my heart on you was misery.
    We have washed your street with a storm of tears,
    Our begging bowl of a cap is now empty.
    Without replies now, this is what we found,
    That the messenger is our sole reply.
    Had asked for your picture to console my heart,
    Looking at it I am more uneasy.
    Your tyranny — boundless, day of reck’ning —one,
    I wonder how the account is compiled.
    Zafar, change the refrain, recite that ghazal,
    Of which each verse is your picked poetry. [4]

Ghazal edit

  • I am the sinner’s fault, somewhat,
    Your devotee, O God, somewhat.
    I do not understand whole or part,
    In my heart, I know not all, somewhat.
    I remain loyal to you,
    Faithful I am, faithless – somewhat.
    Since I do not meet any other,
    With him I have communion – somewhat.
    The intoxication of love has given me flight,
    In bliss, I fly some things, somewhat.
    My dreams lie in wakefulness,
    I see visions better there, somewhat.
    I may not be anyone, yet,
    Don’t ask — I am what I am – somewhat.
    Let them think me their humble servant,
    I am the dust of the road, of the feet – somewhat.
    I have got the blessed eye of faith,
    O Zafar, from something I have moved to somewhat. [5]

Quotes about Bahadur Shah Zafar edit

  • Zafar always put huge emphasis on his role as a protector of the Hindus and the moderator of Muslim demands. He never forgot the central importance of preserving the bond between his Hindu and Muslim subjects, which he always recognised was the central stitching that held his capital city together.

See also edit

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Wikisource has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Bahadur Shah II..