End Of Mughal Empire-Bahadur Shah Zafar And The mutiny Of 1857

In the May of the year 1857 when British introduced the New cartridges with the cow and pig fat, they did not know that this would not only establish their rule in India as a complete authority but also would end the rule of a dynasty which had hitherto ruled India for 330 years with all its magnificence which had astonished the people and the dynasties all over the globe. But what they also did not know was the bloody way which they had to cross to achieve India with them as complete sovereign and that they had to face the biggest mutiny India or the world had ever seen. Also, British east India Company had never faced such a rebellion that too by the sepoys who were trained by them, by then. Even after the mutiny of 1857, British never had to suppress such a mutiny and rebellion as it never happened anywhere else in any of the colonies of the British.



On one May morning the sepoys from Meerut reached Delhi and after dire struggle entered the city of Delhi and thus the red fort. They asked Bahadur Shah Zafar to be their patron and wanted to fight under his patronage against the British to re-establish the Mughal rule of which they still believed they were the loyal subjects of. Bahadur Shah Zafar was a very noble and gentle man. He was more of a mystic than an emperor. If people say that he failed to stand against the British because he was weak then it’s totally wrong because on a wider perspective, we know that it’s not the perimeter to know how weak or strong of a man he was. When the sepoys reached him he was already 82 years old and was too weak to say no to them and stand against their will. Apart from that he had never seen any battle in his life let alone be fighting. As far as his own palace and administration were concerned, he has been quoted as a henpecked husband by British writers and in various books. His sons were not capable of either fighting or to rule the country their ancestors had been ruling since last 330 years with great gallantry. So much was his helplessness that he could not say no to the sepoys when they asked for his support even when he himself didn’t want to support them. They compelled him and they were in his palace after killing soldiers of the fort making it their camp and he had to give them his consent which he did eventually. He was also a gullible person who was expeditious in making decisions which were generally wrong quite all the time. Actually Zafar was not like the earlier emperors of his dynasty. He never had any quality to accomplish him as a king. He himself called him a Sufi fakir many times in his life. But one quality that he had had made him a highly deferential monarch of his dynasty at the time of his realm. It was his pluralistic nature which makes him somewhere close to being a great ruler. Such was the faith of both his Hindu and Muslim subjects in him that the sepoys which included both the communities wanted to fight and rebel under his Mughal flag and his patronage. Had it not been the case, rebellious sepoys whose sixty percent included Hindus would not have headed towards him ready to fight against the British. But nothing helped the people of the most civilized and cultured city of Hindustan at the time of the mutiny-Delhi. The moment the rebellious sepoys entered the city of Delhi and had taken over the fort- they commenced the acts which left the city scarred to an extent that those scars were very very hard to be forgotten by the people who saw their people being butchered, who witnessed it and escaped it somehow. All the shops were plundered, mass slaughter of Christians irrespective of their age and gender left the literature hub of the country like butchery. But what is worth noticing here is that not only Christians but in the name of rebellion and fighting against the Christians, sepoys also looted and killed many shopkeepers, businessmen or in short elite class of the city who were of course no Christian. Abductions and rapes were rampant in the same intensity. Many of the people belonging to particular communities also got involved in the pillage and some people took the advantage to settle scores with the people they held personal grudges for.

After months when in September British took over the city, it was in debris all over, some by sepoys at the time of outbreak and some because of the continuous shell attacks on the city by British. Whole city was starving and some had already starved to death. But what is more severe here is that the phase of pillage, plunder, mass killing, abductions and rapes started all over again-this time by the British. The British had taken the place of sepoys but the victims were rather same- dilliwallahs.

Zafar was summoned in his own court as a convict. He was completely broken-down by then. He was too old and dilapidated to endure the treatment he was being given by the authority of the company. According to some letters of the officers present at his hearing event, he wouldn’t even pay any heed to what was going on. He would lean back on the cushions and his eyes were closed except at some moments when he would suddenly open his eyes and look to see what seemed to be an interesting thing to him or something relevant to his golden era of rule.


 At last, Zafar was found in his own court in red fort a convict and prime convict behind the mutiny and was exiled to Rangoon with his wives and two sons Mirza Jawan Bakht and Mirza Shah Abbas. Mirza Jawan Bakht was the son of his favourite wife Zeenat Mahal and Mirza Shah Abbas was his illegitimate son by a concubine. He lived in a small two storied house in confinement where he died on 7th November, 1862 as a prisoner in sheer destitute. His rare and probably only real picture in his last days can be seen here.


But as if it was not an end of his sufferings and he had to bear something more even after his death. Britishers did not want him to be remembered by the Indians or Muslims of Rangoon so they buried him at the backside of his house and they didn’t put any gravestone over his grave to make sure there would be no sign as to where the last Mughal emperor lies in peace. Zafar’s wife, Zeenat Mahal, died in 1882—approximately 20 years after his death. Real picture of Zeenat Mahal can be seen here.


When she died, the location of Zafar’s grave had already been forgotten and could not be located, so she was buried in a roughly similar position near a tree where his grave was assumed to be. Zafar’s son, Mirza Jawan Bakht, died two years later and was also buried at the same site. Real picture of Mirza Jawan Bakht(left), and Mirza Shah Abbas(right).

In 1903, a group of visitors came from India to pay tribute to Zafar at his burial place. But by that time the exact location of even Zeenat Mahal’s grave had been forgotten though some local guides pointed out the sight of the faded lotus tree. In 1905, the Muslims of Rangoon protested and asked that Zafar’s grave should be distinguished. This appeal was forwarded by the British to Calcutta and the reply was that it was not apt for the Government to construct anything over the remains of Zafar as a tomb as that might become a place of pilgrimage.


However, British agreed in 1907 to erect a single stone slab in which it was engraved-Bahadur Shah, ex-King of Delhi died at Rangoon November 7th, 1862 and was buried near this spot. Later that year, a cenotaph devoted to Zeenat Mahal was added. Zafar’s granddaughter, Raunaq Zamani, was also buried near.


However, something very very fascinating happened many decades later when on one day in February 1991, workers who were digging for something related with a drain discovered a grave like structure made of bricks. There was some inscription written on top of it and then a skeleton was found. So it was clear now that this was the final resting place of the last Mughal-Bahadur Shah Zafar-2. After some time, a dargah (Islamic shrine) was built, and was inaugurated on 15 December 1994.


Since then, this shrine has become an important place for pilgrimage of Muslims. The dargah is also frequently visited by politicians and dignitaries from South Asia.



With the death of an emperor who was more of a mystic Sufi saint, Mughal rule ended forever on the land of Hindustan. The great dynasty and its grandeur got wiped off from the face of the land of Hindustan. Mughal “rule” ended though, but there are descendants of Mughals living even today in India as well as Rangoon (called as Yangon these days which is in Myanmar) having only grand saga of Mughals to tell and to remember.

By-Shekhar Srivastava

Who was Radha? What happened to her when Krishna left?

We all have seen Radha along with shree Krishna in so many temples and know that they are the embodiment of love and the purest form of love. We know that they are divine lovers but many of us do not know who Radha was and what happened to her after Krishna left Nandgaon. Did Krishna meet him after he left Nandgaon? How did she leave the earth? All these questions are very ambiguous and are not very clear to everyone. So who was Radha and how did she come on this earth and why? Actually the reason of this doubt is that there is very less or no information we have in our mythological texts or Puranas about Radha. Yes it is true. Radha has not been mentioned in any of the major religious texts such as Mahabharata or Padma Purana or Shrimad Bhagvatam, or Harivansha. All these books cover the life of shree Krishna and every aspect of his never ending charming personality. But there is no mention of Radha in any of these books. Now this is a shocking fact that we get no evidence as to who Radha was or was there any village girl named Radha who ever existed or not?



The first time when Radha is mentioned in the texts is when Jayadev wrote about her in Geet govind and also when Nimbaark sect (founded by Nimbaarkacharya) started preaching people about her. Before this era Radha was not worshipped with Krishna in any temple. Now the question arises here is that why such an injustice with the prime consort of the lord. The village cow girl Radha who lived only for Krishna, whose life and soul everything was dedicated to Krishna has not been mentioned in these prime texts. Radha is though mentioned in Brahma Vaivart Purana but very scarcely and it is not mentioned what happened to her after Krishna left for Mathura. So why Radha was not mentioned before Jayadev or Nimbaarkacharya? Or why she has no detailed description in Brahma Vaivart Purana? Answer is unknown and we probably won’t get to know these answers but let’s talk about what happened actually to Radha and who was she actually?
According to Brahma Vaivart Purana, once in the Golok (The world or lok of Krishna where it is said he lives with all his Gopa Gopis and Radha and all his lovers), Sudama, friend of Krishna went to meet Krishna but Radha stooped him and barred him from meeting Krishna. Furious Sudama cursed shri Radha that she would be forced to take birth in the mortal form on earth and she will have to bear the pain of separation from shri Krishna because she has caused him pain by separating him from his beloved lord and friend. Knowing all this, lord Krishna ordered Radha to take birth on earth. On his orders, Radha took birth on this earth. The story of Radha’s birth is equally interesting. It was the month of Bhado (months of august and September), ashtami of Shukla Paksha (eighth day of the waxing moon), Anuradha Nakshatra and time was 12 noon when Radha appeared in this world. Radha was born to the chieftain of the village of Barsana, Vrishbhanu and his wife Kirti. Some say that her mother’s name was Kamlavati. Again it is doubtful because of lack of information regarding Radharani.
Radha’s birthplace is Rawal, a small village around 10 kilometers away from Mathura city. It is said that one day Vrishbhanu was bathing in a river when he saw a lotus which had thousands of petals and it looked like golden lotus in the light of sun and when it came closer, he saw a small baby girl inside that flower. He wanted a baby girl so took her and brought her up as his own daughter. Some also say that Radha in the form of wind entered the womb of wife of Vrishbhanu and took birth in their home as an extremely beautiful daughter. The place where she took birth is now the garbhagriha (sanctum sanctorum) of the temple in Rawal. Radha is believed to be eleven months elder to shri Krishna and being the divine lover of shri Krishna, she didn’t open her eyes till she beheld the beautiful face of lord Krishna. Vrishbhanu and his wife were very upset and were under the impression that the girl was blind. After eleven months, when Vrishbhanu with his family went to Gokul to see Nandbaba then Radha opened her eyes for the first time to look at the magnificently beautiful and charming face of her lord her life and soul, bal(baby) krishna. She wanted to see his face on opening her eyes for the first time and that was the reason she never opened it till she saw his face. Radha and Krishna loved each other more than anyone else. Places and people near vrindavan and Mathura still recite the grand saga of their love.

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Barsana, a place where Vrishbhanu lived with his family after Radha’s birth is one of the most visited places on the land of braj. Barsana has become a synonym for Radharani. It is the place where she was brought up. This is the place where the goddess of love, the prime and divine consort of the lord of all the worlds lived. Here she is called Laadli ji (which means excessively adored and loved). Few kilometers away is Gahvar van where she would meet Krishna and they would spend hours together in the mood of love. Krishna would also adorn and decorate her hair with flowers here in Gahvar van. Their love bloomed on the land of vrindavan which is believed to be the heart of Radharani and the most blessed land in the braj. They performed many leelas here not to forget the Maha-raas leela on the banks of Yamuna. But then came the time when the curse of Sudama started taking the shape. Krishna was about to leave for Mathura to kill Kamsa. Before leaving, Krishna made her give him her word that she would not cry once he is away from her. Radha, heartbroken and completely devastated, made the promise that she would not cry and won’t shed the tears. Krishna told her that her love is unconditional and he will be indebted to her till the end of time and the land of braj will always be known as her place and everyone would chant her name instead of Krishna and we can see today that people in vrindavan or braj say radhe radhe while talking or greeting others. Even rickshaw-wallahs here say radhe radhe to people while riding on the way asking to give the way for rickshaw. Every house or tree in vrindavan has radha’s name written on its wall or trunk. Such was radha’s devotion and pain that Krishna granted her a boon that her name would be taken before that of his.
The doomed day arrived and Krishna left for Mathura. Now it is not mentioned anywhere in the texts what happened to her after this incident. It is believed that Radha had now become just like a lifeless body. Her face which once looked like a beautiful lotus had now become like a faded flower. Her complexion which resembled molten gold was now black like that of Yamuna. She would now wander in vrindavan and other places where she had spend time with Krishna living in memories. She would ask everyone where her Krishna is and when is he coming back. There is also a famous incident of her asking the bumblebee if she had brought a message from Krishna.People considered her mentally unsound because of her actions but they could not see the immense pain of separation that she was going through.
Her pain was known only to other Gopis who felt that same pain. They revered Radha like they revered Krishna. Radha would not do any shringaar (make-up) now. She wouldn’t comb her hair, won’t wear jewelry, and won’t have flowers in her hair. Her face which once looked like full moon now looked as that of a waned one. However there is no story of Krishna returning to vrindavan.
There is a story that once all the Gopa and Gopis went to Kurukshetra for holy bath on an ocassion of solar eclipse and shri Krishna was also there with his wives and his whole clan. There, Krishna and Radha were face to face with each other but didn’t say a word to each other. Radha witnessed how happy Krishna’s wives and his people were and didn’t want to disturb their peace so kept silence. Her eyes could not hold her emotions and shed tears profusely. Krishna was also in pain more than ever to see Radha like this when he couldn’t express his emotions for the girl he had loved the most in his life, probably more than his wives. Radha satisfied herself that no matter how much happiness Krishna’s wives had from him, but his pain of separation was only for her. His smile was for his wives but his tears were for her only.
There is another interesting story which tells that Radha went to Krishna’s palace and Krishna’s wives after knowing her love and devotion for Krishna tried to test it out of some feeling of jealousy. They served her with the hottest food and asked her to eat. Radha without any hesitation and problem ate the food. Everyone was shocked and when Krishna’s wives went to see Krishna, they witnessed that his feet were all burnt severely. Reason was quite clear. Radha always had Krishna’s lotus feet in her mind and while thinking about his feet, she could not feel the hotness of food but Krishna’s feet got burnt. But these stories are not mentioned in major mythological texts. But people and folklore says that she bore separation from Krishna for 125 years.
Now there are many beliefs as to what happened to her at the end. One belief says that when Krishna was leaving the earth for Golok, then before leaving himself, he summoned a divine aircraft which took all the brijwasis and Radha to his lok-Golok. Another belief is that he played his flute with his most melodious tune he had ever played for Radha and Radha came in front of him immediately and then merged in his body forever- from where she had originally come as many stories say that she came out of Krishna’s body’s left part. May be there are many other beliefs also in many parts of the world that we don’t know. Radha once asked krishna in Golok whom does he love the most, and krishna told her philosophically that he is free from all the emotions and loves everyone yet doesn’t love anyone. To this she asked about herself, to which Krishna smiled and said that you and I are same and inseparable so how can I love myself. In the same way when she asked him why didn’t he marry her? He said how could he marry her because love and marriage needs two people but they are one.
On the contrary, there is a story of Radha Krishna marriage. It is said that Radhaand Krishna married secretly at a place called Bhandirvan few kilometers from vrindavan. Lord Brahma acted as the priest in this marriage and also did Kanyadaan of Shri Radha ji.
These are some other stories also about Radha and how she lived on this earth. We do not know why she never got mentioned in Mahabharata or Shrimad Bhagvatam or any other religious book but what she did for her love is something we can never forget till the end of time. Her sacrifice made her bigger than even lord Krishna. She is the Hladni Shakti (pleasure potency) of lord Krishna. She is inseparable from Krishna and we all are indebted to her. All the humanity is indebted to her because if she hadn’t allowed Krishna to leave vrindavan, Krishna out of the bond of love could never leave for Mathura and could never complete the tasks which he had to complete on this earth. He could not make this earth evil and corruption free and could not establish a righteous society with Pandavas. It is true that Krishna is incomplete without her and can never create the infinite universes without Radha. Radha’s pain is matchless; no one can worship or regard Krishna without Radha. She got lost in the pages of history and mythology may be because she was an ordinary, simple, village cowherd girl unlike goddess Rukmini who is an incarnation of goddess Lakshmi; may be because among those grand characters of Mahabharata, she was too simple and ordinary to be mentioned. But love and sacrifice of Radha is too big to be ignored or lost in history. The love and sacrifice of this simple village girl is bigger than anyone. No matter how much we debate about her existence, Shrimati Radharani is the base of love and devotion, she is an epitome of devotion, sacrifice and unconditional love and no doubt that’s why we love her so much with lord Krishna and can’t stop chanting her name and worshipping her with our beloved Lord Shri Krishna.

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By- Shekhar Srivastava

What happened to Arjun’s chariot after Mahabharat war?

Mahabharata is one of the two great epics of India; other being Ramayana. The battle of Kurukshetra in Mahabharata is probably the bloodiest war ever fought in the history of human kind. Such is the vastness of this epic that there are innumerable anecdotes comprising this spectacular saga of war, duty, righteousness, evil and every human emotion that has ever been contemporary in the mind of man. Today I would like to share one of these stories which is about the chariot of the uncontested warrior of this epic; Arjun. We have seen him fighting from his chariot with lord shri Krishna as his charioteer in the Kurukshetra battle in pictures or on television but many of us are still oblivious of the story of how Arjun got his chariot and what happened with his chariot after the gory battle of Mahabharata was over.


Arjun had been bestowed with his chariot years before the battle of Mahabharata along with many other great assets which eventually ushered his way through the battleground. The story goes back to the days when Arjun was one day roaming in the khaandav van with shree Krishna and they met a man who was looking as pale as a corpse and looked extremely ill. When asked, he told lord Krishna and Arjun that he was none other than demigod Agni. The reason behind his affliction was that he was suffering from a stomach malady due to too much consumption of ghee and as per lord Brahma he was required to consume the fat of the animals and thus he wished to devour the forest of khaandav which had many snakes, evil spirits and wild beasts but was failed to do so. The reason was that lord Indra was protecting the khaandav van himself as his friend Takshak-the serpent king was residing in there with all his kith and kin. Every time Agni tried to devour the forest, lord Indra summoned the powerful rain clouds to thwart the fire of Agni from consuming the forest. Thus he had no other way to cope with it and he beseeches lord Krishna for help. Lord Krishna and Arjun thus invoked Varun dev, the lord of ocean to help them win over Indra and to help Agni devour the forest of khaandav. Varun dev, pleased and blessed with lord himself asking for help, bestowed him with sudarshan chakra, Arjun with his chariot, Gandeev- the moon bow of the creator lord Brahma. Agni also gave Arjun a radiant chariot with four horses yoked, bearing a flag that would one-day be occupied by Hanuman. Arjun also obtained his famous conch- Devadatt. They then waged a war against Indra and conquered. Lord Indra told Arjun and Krishna that he is trying to save Takshak whom he had promised would be saved by Indra from all the threats anyone could possess on him and his family. Krishna respected the promise made by the king of demigods Indra and allowed Takshak to leave the forest and Takshak got off. Other creatures were barred by Arjun and thus couldn’t escape and eventually were devoured by Agni. After the task was done, lord Krishna asks Vishwakarma, the greatest architect of the universe who is the architect of demigods to make a palace on the land where the khaandav van once was. One more asura was saved by Arjun called Mayasur, from this conflagration. When his life was spared by Krishna and Arjun, Maya had offered his services to them. Krishna instructed Maya to construct a fabulous palace hall full of mirage and illusion for Arjuna’s elder brother, king Yudhishthir at Indraprastha, which becomes the Mayasabha, renowned, beautiful, mysterious and the largest of its kind. It had many specialties such as highly reflective floors that were easily mistaken as the surface of a pool of still water. There was also a pool of water, the surface of which mimicked a decorated floor, into which Duryodhan later fell. So this is how Arjun got his chariot but his chariot was not just a chariot but had a greater significance in accordance with human life and soul which was later described on the battlefield by lord Krishna while preaching the Bhagwad Gita.

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It is called the chariot of the body. This chariot had five horses representing the five senses (tongue, eyes, ears, nose and skin) of the human nervous system. The reins, the driving instrument, symbolize the mind; Arjun sitting on the chariot represents the body or the soul of a human being. And lord shree Krishna as a charioteer (Saarthi) represents the super soul; the supreme soul present inside every human being, lord Krishna IS indeed the super soul present in every being ever created. It is not just a chariot but has a meaning which defines the whole life of a human being. Our senses (horses) are controlled by the mind (reins). This mind is controlled by our soul or body (Arjun). And above all is the super supreme soul (Krishna as charioteer) which is present inside us but it depends on us whether we want to pay attention to it or not; whether we let it guide us or just want to guide it our-self and our life as we wish to.  The driver is the intelligence, and the passenger is the spirit soul. Lord Hanuman on flag signifies sense control and mind control that gives victory to the higher nature over the lower nature. That chariot has three wheels (Satwa, Rajas, and Tamas); has three kinds of motion (upwards or downwards or transversely, implying superior, inferior, and intermediate birth as brought about by acts); horses apart from senses also represent the time, will of the deities, and one’s own will. It has three naves (white, black, and mixed, implying good acts, evil acts and acts that are of a mixed character).

This is how significant Arjun’s chariot is. It is not just a chariot but a metaphor for human beings. How it ushered Arjun through battlefield towards victory shows us that if senses are controlled with balance in accordance with mind and if mind is controlled by soul which in turn guide itself through super soul, then a human is meant to achieve the righteousness i.e., Dharma.

This was how his chariot was used on the battlefield but ever wondered what happened with it after the Mahabharata war? When the war was over and lord Krishna realized that the mission of this chariot was accomplished, he took the chariot to a deserted place and asked the warrior Arjun to get off the chariot. After Arjun descended from the chariot, lord asked hanuman to leave the chariot along with his flag and hanuman did so. The moment lord hanuman left the chariot, the chariot exploded with a loud bang as if a big weapon had collided with it. With the deafening sound of the detonation and the blazing incandescent had burst the chariot into flames and it had been reduced to ashes and was completely razed. After few moments, Arjun asked lord Krishna the reason behind the bang and everything that had happened just now. Krishna then explained him that the weapons that were used by Maharathi Sage Dronacharya and Maharathi Karna on him and his chariot were so powerful that there was and there could be no escape from them for Arjun and his chariot. They were intended to create the havoc and could not be subdued. They are extremely efficacious and what Arjun had just now witnessed was the result of those celestial weapons launched by Dronacharya and Karna on him. To this Arjun asked why did they take so much time to do what they were intended to? Clearing his suspicion, Krishna told Arjun that it was the presence of Krishna on his chariot that had barred those weapons from creating desired effect by the enemy army. Krishna had made those weapons effect-less for the time being and that was the reason it couldn’t harm Arjun and his chariot. It was also the presence of lord hanuman on the chariot flag which stopped those weapons from coming into effect. Krishna later told Arjun that those celestial weapons used by Karna and Dronacharya were given to them by demigods and thus they had had to make the effect that they were used for and making them null would be the insult of the demigods who bestowed them to Karna or Dronacharya. Hence, to make them make the desired effect it was necessary for them to consume the chariot of Arjun which they had just now done.

Arjun now realized that it was lord Krishna because of whom he had emerged victorious. It was not his but lord Krishna’s victory; as it was the victory of good over evil and without Lord Shree Krishna, Arjun could never defeat the enemy army and its Maharathis the way he did in the Mahabharata war of Kurukshetra.

In this way we get to know that the chariot of Arjun-from being given to him to being consumed by the harsh fire of explosion- had its own significance in this majestic epic and this tale of his chariot is very intriguing in its own.

Hey friends, I have written my debut novel, “The Monsoon Marigolds”! read it and show me some love! 🙂 It will be very special for me!

By-Shekhar Srivastava