[Prime Minister Narendra Modi pays tribute at tomb of Bahadur Shah Zafar in Yangon, Myanmar (File photo)]
Mumbai: Dr. Prem Singh, President of Socialist Party (India), in a letter addressed to President of India Ram Nath Kovind urged him to bring back the mortal remains of Bahadur Shah Zafar - The Last Mughal, who led despite his poor health the first war of Independence in 1857.
The letter is written two days before May 10 - 161th the anniversary of the 1857 First War of Independence against the British rule in India.
"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", Dr Singh write in his letter sent to the President.
"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", he added.
"Further", he said, "A grand memorial should be constructed in the memory of the martyrs of 1857 for the benefit of present and future generations", he appealed in the letter.
10th May 1857 is the day when the 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.
"Zafar 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", Dr. Singh noted in his letter.
"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", he said requesting the President to take personal interest in the matter and convince the government to concede to the long-pending demand.
Dr. Singh had made similar appeal last year too.
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