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

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

Kacha and Devayani-a forgotten love story

He was probably the first spy in the history of world. He was extremely charming. He was from heaven . He was the son of sage Brahaspati-the sage of demigods or devas or suras from heaven. His name was Kacha. The story of Kacha comes in the Indian epic Mahabharata.

The story starts with the deva and asura war. The sage or teacher of asuras-sage Shukracharya did penance and was granted a boon by lord Shiva. He was granted mrit sanjivani vidya by lord shiva. With the help of mrit sanjivani vidya, sage Shukracharya could resurrect all the dead asuras everytime they got killed by the demigods whereas the demigods were being diminished everytime with each war with asuras. The king of demigods-Indra got depressed by it and went to his guru Brahaspati for advice. After thinking for some time, Brahaspati thought of an idea which was very unique and novel. The idea was to send his son Kacha on a secret mission to the ashram of Shukracharya as a disciple to get the secret of mrit sanjivani vidya so that devas or suras could also get resurrected after being killed. Now as per the plan, Kacha went to the ashram of sage shukracharya and shukracharya admitted him as his student. Other asura disciples of shukracharya did not like this idea of shukracharya of accepting a sura or deva as his disciple and shukracharya was very well aware of this fact and hence asked kacha not to leave the premises of ashram as he would be safer only inside the vicinity of ashram. It had been nearly one thousand year since kacha had come to ashram and shukracharya by now had become very fond of kacha because of his decency and intellect. But still he never disclosed the secret of mrit sanjivani vidya to him. Kacha many times tried to see him using mrit sanjivani vidya but shukracharya was more than just intelligent. He never used it in front of kacha. Once kacha saw him using it to bring one of the asuras back from death but seeing was not enough. Here comes the twist in the story. Shukracharya had a daughter named devayani who was extremely beautiful, graceful, young and charming like kacha. They had become good friends. She was the only friend kacha had had in that ashram. Kacha would bring her flowers from forest for her hair decoration though it was extremely risky to get out of the ashram. By now, devayani had fallen in love with kacha. They would spend time with each other. But it wasn’t sure till now what was in kacha’s mind. One day, when kacha was out in forest, asuras conspired against him and murdered him. In ashram, when devayani realised that it’s been a long time since kacha left the ashram, she tried finding him and finally found his dead body in the forest. She was devastated now to see her love dead and asked her father to bring kacha back from death. Shukracharya resurrected kacha with mrit sanjivani vidya both because of his daughter’s love for kacha and his own affection for his disciple. Kacha was alive now and asuras were furious but could not do anything. After few days, kacha again went outside the ashram to bring flowers for devayani and was again killed but this time they fed his body to a dog but again at his daughter’s plea, shukracharya brought him back from death-kacha tore apart the dog’s body and came out. Kacha , by now was sure that he would be resurrected everytime asuras would kill him. Being a man of such great wisdom, an idea stroke his mind. He went to the forest intentionally and was very well prepared to get slaughtered this time as well by the asuras. But asuras were no less intelligent, they made a plan which was lethal and perfect. Now kacha was in forest and asuras followed him. After reaching a point, he realised that he was shrouded by a bunch of asuras. Asuras killed him but this time they neither left his body nor did they feed it to the dog. They burnt his body and mixed his ashes with liquor in a big bottle and went to their guru shukracharya. They said they wanted to celebrate with their guru and asked him to drink the liquor. Shukracharya could not say no to his asura students and drank the whole bottle. When devayani told his father that kacha is missing again then shukracharya tried to locate him. But while doing so, he realised that kacha was in his stomach. Realising that, shukracharya looked at devayani. Devayani realised that in order to bring kacha back, shukracharya will have to die. Now here it can be seen that this was kacha’s flawless plan. If shukracharya will recite mantras for kacha then he himself will die because kacha would tear his body apart and will come out. And if he wants to live then he will have to teach the mrit sanjivani vidya to kacha so that he can resurrect shukracharya after coming out of his body. Shukracharya had no other choice than to resurrect kacha because he knew it that devayani won’t be able to survive without kacha. And devayani had already told shukracharya that she could survive neither without kacha nor without his father. There was only one way now. Shukracharya started the process of resurrecting kacha in a way that kacha could also listen to the mantras and process of using mrit sanjivani vidya. It is noticable and very commendable that being a man of such great honour and such a great personality, shukracharya never asked kacha that after resurrecting him , he will also have to resurrect shukracharya in return. He just started the process and after some time kacha tore shukracharya’s body apart and came out. Shukracharya was dead and devayani was weeping badly. Here it is also noticable that kacha could have just left the ashram because he now had the mrit sanjivani vidya. His mission was accomplished and with shukracharya dead, no one could ever resurrect the asuras. But he was after all a great person and a disciple of shukracharya. He used the mrit sanjivani vidya and resurrected shukracharya. Both the reasons of love in devayani’s life were alive now and she was in extreme ecstasy. After few days when kacha was about to leave the ashram, devayani went to him and proposed him for marriage. Kacha liked devayani. Maybe he loved her but that was not what he was there for. He was on a mission and he could not let the suras and his father down. He told her that since he came out of shukracharya’s stomach, he is like a brother to devayani now. He could not marry her. Devayani was dumbstruck to hear that and couldn’t say anything. But when kacha was leaving for heaven and leaving the ashram of shukracharya, she cursed him.
 Furious, heartbroken, failed in love and betrayed devayani cursed him that he will never be able to use the mrit sanjivani vidya which he had come to the ashram for. Kacha politely replied that he will teach this vidya to other devas or suras who could use it for benefit of demigods. Saying so, he took the blessings from his guru shukracharya whom he respected very much and Shukracharya also blessed him because he also was a great man. He did not say anything bad to kacha and allowed him to leave. Kacha’s task was complete, his mission was accomplished, he had emerged victorious in his secret mission. He left for the heaven.
We can not say if he was right or wrong. From his father’s and demigods’ point of view, he was a successful spy or warrior; from Devayani’s point of view-a lover who betrayed her. But from his point of view? did he consider himself a successful spy or a failed lover? we do not know. He just came in the great epic Mahabharata and just left. He is never mentioned in any story or epic as far as I know. But he was great, he was no less than Indra or other heroes of our mythology, but less talked about. And this was his story-the famous story of Kacha and Devayani from the great Indian epic Mahabharata.
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