Bahadur Shah Zafar: Leader of War Of Independence, symbol of Hindu-Muslim Unity

By RINA International Service

On 50th anniversary of war of India’s independence, Prof. Shah Abdus Salam presented detailed study of Nawabs of Awadh, right from first Nawab Ghaziuddin Haider to last Nawab Wajid Ali Shah and shed light on rise and fall of State of Awadh, its culture and civilization and oppression, excesses and loot by Englishmen after their conquest, in his paper titled as “1857 And Lucknow Crisis” on third of the seminar organized at Raza Library, Rampur (U.P.). He revealed in his paper that during the mutiny, royal library of Awadh had approximately one hundred thousand documents and royal decrees that were ransacked by Englishmen. Prof. Sharif Husain Qasimi’s paper “Hakim Ahsanullah Khan: A Prominent Personality Of 1857” comprised the study of this this court Hakim of Bahadur Shah Zafar who was also a friend of a powerful poet, Ghalib Dehalvi. Presenting a penetrating view of his “Mehr-e-Neem Roz”, Prof. Qasimi analyzed his characteristic features and pointed out towards his doubtful character, which, as per author’s arguments, indicate that some misunderstanding about Hakim Ahsanullah Khan was not meaningless.

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Dr. Shahzad Anjum presented his paper on the topic of “Role Of Urdu Gentry In 1857” in which he outlined the services rendered by Urdu language and the role of Urdu poets in this movement of India’s independence. In an effective manner, he elaborated on the role played by these poets and the way their works influenced and motivated the masses. He claimed that so much voluminous literature on independence movement is found in Urdu language that perhaps no other language could match it. Abdul Hadi Khan Kawish read his paper, “Impact Of Shah Waliullahi Movement On War Of Independence In 1857”, discussed the contribution of Shah Waliullah and his family. Recalling the services of Maulana Qasim Nanotawi, Maulana Muhajir Makki etc., he said Shah Waliullah approved Akbar era but he was opposed to Deen-e-Ilahi. He told that two prominent characters of 1857 were General Bakht Khan and Bahadur Shah Zafar. He said that historians say that that Bahadur Shah Zafar was the noblest king. He advised the organizers of the seminar to go to Yangoon with the help of Government of India and get Bahadur Shah Zafar’s grave repaired.

Dr. Zaheer Rahmati brought to light the importance, prominence and intelligence of Maulana Fazl-e-Haq Khairabadi, who had raised his voice for Jihad in 1857 and had asked his compatriots: “If I remain no more, loudly tell me at my grave: ‘India has achieved freedom.’” Dr. Zaheer told whereas the Maulana was detrimental to Englishmen, he had also framed a constitution for the king and was the motivator of this movement at Lucknow. Fakiha Alvi informed about political and social background of 1857 and shed light on North Indian culture of that period.

Dr. Abu Sa’d Islahi exposed the reality of cases filed against Bahadur Shah Zafar. Calling him the leader of freedom movement and a symbol of Hindu-Muslim unity, Dr. Islahi said Englishmen believed that abetted by Turkey and Iran, Muslims were on the forefront of the mutiny and Hindus participated in this movement only under the influence of Muslim estates men. Prof. Iqtidar Husain Siddiqui disclosed that Malik Ram used to teach Qur’an and its exegesis at Delhi and, in this respect, he had become a Muslim and had to be interred but his body was incinerated. He told that Sir Syed opposed freedom movement because he was aware of Englishmen’s might. Other scholars who read their papers in today’s session include Dr. Waqar Anas Siddiqui, Dr. Raihana Khatoon, Dr. Zakira Khatoon, Zeba Lateef Adeeb, Shams Badayooni and Umar Kamal Siddiqui.