Press Statements

Bring back the mortal remains of Bahadur Shah Zafar from Rangoon #10May1857

Today, 10 May, is the 160th anniversary of 1857 — the country's First War of Independence. 10th May 1857 is the day when the brave Indian soldiers first raised the war-cry for independence against the British regime. To secure freedom for the country by breaking the chains of slavery, on 10th May the soldiers started from Meerut, reaching Delhi on 11th May. In Delhi they requested emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar to lead the First War of Independence. The emperor, at the age of 82, accepted to head the struggle as the suggested by the soldiers and the citizens who had come along with them.  It was an important day for India's struggle for freedom and for the combined Hindu-Muslim heritage of the country. The soldiers could not win the battle due to several reasons, which included the betrayal by some fellow Indians. In this First War of Independence which continued for about 6 months in Delhi and for about a year in the other parts of the country, lakhs of soldiers and common citizens achieved martyrdom. The British subjected the emperor to charges in the military court and in October 1858 sent him in imprisonment to Rangoon.  At the age of 87, on 7 November 1862, he passed away in Rangoon and was buried there in the darkness of anonymity.

The Socialist Party has appealed to the president of India earlier in 2013 to bring back the remains of Bahadur Shah Zafar, the  emperor who was an excellent poet and secular ruler of his times.  The party had presented a memorandum to the president in this regard. Senior member of Socialist Party, Justice Rajindar Sachar had met the president and requested him to bring back the remains. On the 160th anniversary of the First War of Independence Dr. Prem Singh, president of the Socialist Party has again appealed to the president to bring back the mortal remains of Bhadur Shah Zafar before the end of his illustrious tenure. This will strengthen and honour the combined heritage of the country's First War of Independence.

A copy of the memorandum, sent to the president, is attached.

Dr. Abhijit Vaidya

National Spokesperson                 

10 मई 2017

 

प्रैस रिलीज

 

'बहादुरशाह ज़फर के अवशेष रंगून से वापस लाये जाएँ'

 

आज 1857 के महासंग्राम की 160वीं सालगिरह है. 10 मई 1857 को भारत के जांबाज सैनिकों ने मेरठ में ब्रिटिश हुकूमत के खिलाफ विद्रोह का बिगुल फूंका था। देश को गुलामी की जंजीरों से आजाद कराने के मकसद से वे मेरठ से 10 मई को चलकर 11 मई को दिल्ली पहुंचे और बादशाह बहादुरशाह जफर से आजादी की जंग का नेतृत्व करने का निवेदन किया। बादशाह ने सैनिकों और उनके साथ जुटे नागरिकों की पेशकश का मान रखा और 82 साल की उम्र में आजादी की पहली जंग का नेतृत्व स्वीकार किया। भारत की आजादी के संघर्ष और साझी हिन्दू-मुस्लिम विरासत का वह महान दिन था। कई कारणों से सैनिक वह जंग जीत नहीं पाए जिनमें कुछ भारतीयों द्वारा की गई गद्दारी भी शामिल है। दिल्ली में करीब 6 महीने और बाकी देश में साल भर से ऊपर चले पहले स्वतंत्रता संग्राम में लाखों की संख्या में सैनिक और असैनिक भारतीय वीरगति को प्राप्त हुए. अंग्रेजों ने बादशाह पर फौजी आदालत में मुकदमा चलाया और अक्तूबर 1858 में उन्हें कैद में दिल्ली से रंगून भेज दिया। वहां 7 नवंबर 1862 को 87 साल की उम्र में उनकी मृत्यु हुई और ‘बदनसीब जफर’ को वहीं गुमनामी के अंधेरे में दफना दिया गया।

सोशलिस्ट पार्टी पहली जंगे आजादी के महान नेता, उस जमाने के धर्मनिरपेक्ष शासक और अपनी तरह के बेहतरीन शायर बहादुरशाह जफर के अवशेष वापस लाने की मांग भारत के राष्ट्रपति से 2013 में कर चुकी है। पार्टी ने इस बाबत भारत के राष्ट्रपति महोदय को ज्ञापन दिया था. सोशलिस्‍ट पार्टी के वरिष्‍ठ सदस्‍य जस्टिस राजेंद्र सच्‍चर ने राष्ट्रपति से मुलाकात करके प्रार्थना की थी कि वे बादशाह के अवशेष वापस भारत लाने के लिए सरकार से कहें. पहली जंगे आज़ादी की 160वीं सालगिरह पर सोशलिस्ट पार्टी के अध्यक्ष डॉक्टर प्रेम सिंह ने एक बार फिर राष्ट्रपति को वह ज्ञापन भेज कर अपील की है की वे अपने कार्यकाल के आखिरी दिनों में ज़फ़र के अवशेष वापस लाने का जरूरी काम करें. इससे देश की आज़ादी के संघर्ष की साझी विरासत का सम्मान होगा और वह मज़बूत होगी.           

राष्ट्रपति को भेजे गए ज्ञापन की प्रति संलग्‍न हैं.  

 

डॉ; अभिजीत वैद्य

राष्ट्रीय प्रवक्‍ता

 --

 
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 all together 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 dafn 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
Socialist Party (India)
Central Office
41/557 Lohia Mazdur Bhawan,
Dr. Tufail Ahmad Marg,
Narahi,
Lucknow - 226001

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