Bahadur Shah Zafar, also known as Bahadur Shah II, was the last Mughal emperor of India who reigned from 1837 to 1857 for a period of 20 years. Bahadur Shah, with the full name Mirza Abu Zafar Sirajuddin Muhammad Bahadur Shah Zafar, was born on October 24, 1775, as one of the 14 sons of Mughal emperor Akbar II. His mother was a Hindu Rajput, Lal Bai.
Bahadur Shah became the 17th Mughal emperor on 28 September 1837 after the death of his father.
As an emperor he saw to his best that all his subjects belonging to different religions were treated fairly. He believed in the equality of religions and felt it was his duty to protect the religious rights of the Hindus along with the Muslims.
Bahadur Shah Zafar as poet
Emperor was a devout sufi, a poet and a dervish. He developed the love for poetry from two of his teachers, Ibrahim Zauq and Asad Ullah Khan Ghalib. He was not much ambitious from childhood and had more interest in Sufism, music and literature than in the political matters of the country. He was a noted Urdu poet who composed several ghazals which were known for their emotional and intense content.
He was a prolific writer and even though much of his poetry collections were destroyed in the Indian Rebellion of 1857, the remainder of his poems was later complied into Kulliyyat-i-Zafar.
Here are some of the famous couplets by Bahadur Shah Zafar
“auroñ ke bal pe bal na kar it nā na chal nikal
bal hai to bal ke bal pe tū ku chh apne bal ke chal”
“baat karnī mujhe mushkil kabhī aisī to na thī
jaisī ab hai tirī mahfil kabhī aisī to na thī”
“kitnā hai bad-nasīb ‘zafar’ da fn ke liye
do gaz zamīn bhī na milī kū-e- yaar meñ”
“ḳhudā ke vāste zāhid uThā pard a na kaabe kā
kahīñ aisā na ho yaañ bhī vahī kāfir-sanam nikle”
“ġhazab hai ki dil meñ to rakkh o kudūrat
karo muñh pe ham se safā.ī kī bāteñ”