Bring back the mortal remains of Bahadur Shah Zafar

Bahadur Shah Zafar

(Asian Independent)

Dr. Prem Singh

– Prem Singh

(The following Memorandum had been submitted to the then President of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee Ji in May 2013, and again to the present President Shri Ramnath Kovind JI in May 2017 by the Socialist Party (India). Simultaneously, the Memorandum was also placed in the public domain for a wider discussion on the issue through press releases, seminars and through a march, namely kooch-e-azadi, from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar being organised by SPI on every 11 May started from 2013. The revolt of 1857 broke-out on 10 May in Meerut. The fighters of the revolt reached Delhi on 11 May 1857, and fought First War of Independence (FWI) under the supreme command of Bahadur Shah Zafar.

This year’s 10 May, which is approaching shortly, will be the 165th anniversary of the revolt. The country is also celebrating Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav i.e., 75 years of India’s independence. To mark the occasions, the Memorandum is released again with a hope that the demand made therein will be addressed without further delay and will inspire a discussion on the issue among the citizens of India. If, in case, citizens think that the demand is not right or not relevant, they should come forward with their arguments.

The flag saluting song of the fighters of 1857 is also placed for reading and contemplation at the end of the Memorandum. It is believed that the song was composed by krantidoot Azimullah Khan.)

Date: 4 May 2013

Memorandum

His Excellency
Shri Pranab Mukherjee
President of India

Sub: Request to bring back the mortal remains of Bahadur Shah Zafar.

Most Respected Sir

The Socialist Party would like to request you to direct the Indian government to bring back the mortal remains of Bahadur Shah Zafar from Rangoon (presently Yangon), Myanmar, to Delhi. The Socialist Party takes inspiration from the thoughts of Dr. Rammanohar Lohia. Dr. Lohia had suggested that in case a leader passes away in a foreign country, her/his last rites should be performed there itself. The Socialist Party accepts this view of Dr. Lohia that would lead to strengthen the bonds of world brotherhood. But the case of Zafar was altogether different. He was arrested by the imperialist rulers, tried and brought to Rangoon in captivity in 1857. He passed away there on 7 November 1862, at the age of 87, longing for two yards of mother land for his burial. Zafar, a poet of his own style, expressed his pains of exile in his famous couplet: ‘kitnaa hai badnaseeb Zafar dafan ke liye, do gaz zamin bhi na mili kuu-e-yaar mein’.

As you know, it is a long pending demand made by several citizens of India time to time. The first such request was made by the Bahadur Shah Zafar Memorial Society in 1949. However, the government has not conceded the demand though it knows very well that Zafar had expressed the desire to be buried in India after his death.

One can understand that the colonial rulers kept Zafar, the symbol of revolt and Hindu-Muslim unity, in captivity and then buried him in exile as a non-entity. But it remains unexplained why the rulers of free India are not ready, even symbolically, to undo the insult and injustice meted out to Zafar by at least bringing back his remains to India and put him to rest at the place of his choice – Dargah Qutbuddin Bakhtiyar Kaki at Mehrauli, where an empty grave awaits his remains.

Sir, the demand to bring back the remains of Bahadur Shah Zafar to India is not merely an emotional issue for the Socialist Party. Zafar was the leader of our First War of Independence against the colonial powers and a symbol of Hindu-Muslim unity. Therefore, it should be the duty of the Indian government to bring back his remains. Further, a grand memorial should be constructed in the memory of the martyrs of 1857 for the benefit of present and future generations.

We would like to draw your kind attention towards the tribute paid to Zafar by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, addressing a ceremonial parade of INA at his tomb at Yangon. Netaji ended his speech quoting famous couplet of Zafar: ‘Ghazion mein bu rahegi jab talak iman ki/ Takht-e-London tak chalegi tegh Hindostan ki!’ (As long as there is faith in the heart of the freedom fighters/ The sword of India will pierce through the throne of London). Netaji declared on that occasion, ‘‘This parade is the first occasion when India’s new revolutionary army is paying homage to the spirit of the supreme commander of India’s first revolutionary army.’’

Sir, we make a sincere appeal to you to kindly take personal interest in this matter of great importance and convince the government to concede to the demand at the earliest.

With best regards

Dr. Prem Singh
General Secretary/Spokesperson

9 May 2017
Most Respected, His Excellency Shri Ram Nath Kovind Ji

I would like to re-submit the attached Memorandum, sent earlier to Shri Pranab Mukherjee Ji in 2013, with great hope that you will kindly give a serious thought to our request.

With utmost regards
Yours faithfully
Dr. Prem Singh
President, Socialist Party (India)

क्रांतिकारियों का गीत
हम हैं इसके मालिक हिंदुस्तान हमारा,
पाक वतन है कौम का ज़न्नत से भी प्यारा।
यह हमारी मिल्कियत हिंदुस्तान हमारा,
इसकी रूहानियत से रौशन है जग सारा।
कितना कदीम कितना नईम सब दुनिया से न्यारा,
करती जरखेज जिसे गंगो-जमुन की धारा।
ऊपर बर्फीला पर्वत पहरेदार हमारा,
नीचे साहिल पर बजता सागर का नक्कारा।
इसकी खानें उगल रहीं सोना हीरा पारा,
इसकी शान-शौकत का दुनिया में जयकारा।
आया फिरंगी दूर से ऐसा मंतर मारा,
लूटा दोनों हाथों से प्यारा वतन हमारा।
आज शहीदों ने है तुमको अह्लेवतन ललकारा,
तोड़ो गुलामी की जंजीरें बरसाओ अंगारा।
हिंदू-मुसलमां-सिख हमारा भाई-भाई प्यारा,
यह है आजादी का झंडा इसे सलाम हमारा।।