Friday, March 02, 2007

Stamp on Bahadur Shah Zafar & 'Savarkar hijacks 1857'

We are commemorating the 150th anniversary of the War of Independence, termed as Gadar or Mutiny by the British. Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar paid a heavy price for leading the rebellion.

His sons' eyes were gouged out and brought before him as a gift in a tray. They were executed. He was sent to Burma where he died in prison and was buried. The Indian government had this stamp issued in his memory long back.

In Urdu, it carries his two couplets:

lagtaa nahiiN hai jii meraa ujRe dayaar meN/kiskii banii hai aalam-e-paaidaar meN
kah do in hasratoN se kahiiN aur jaa baseN/itnii jagah kahaaN hai dil-e-daaGhdaar meN

On NDTV, Express editor Shekhar Gupta on Walk the Talk programme spoke to William Dalrymple who said this about Zafar and 1857:

...I think in that sense Savarkar has kidnapped your narrative of 1857. He emphasised strictly Mangal Pandey in Barrackpore and Rani of Jhansi in Jhansi. Now, they are great heroic figures and great national heroes, but ultimately, in the story of 1857, they are frankly side-shows because of the 1,39,000 sepoys who rose against their Britsh officers, 1,00,000 went straight to Delhi. Now these are upper-caste Hindus, and who do they get to lead the rebellion — the Mughal emperor.

Read the whole transcript of the interview hereAdd Image