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Sultana Begum - Mughal bahu languishes in a slum

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    Posted: 25 Jul 2012 at 9:52am
A bahu of shahi khandaan now runs a tea stall in Howrah, about 10 km from Kolkata.

Meet Sultana Begum, great grand daughter-in-law of Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Mughal emperor of India. Clad in a faded shalwar-kurta, her hair tied in a bun, she counts out the money a customer just paid for a cup of tea at her stall. Barely a stone's throw away, her rundown house in a dingy slum at Foreshore Road in Howrah reeks of poverty.

After the death of her husband Prince Mirza Bedar Bukht, it's a struggle for existence for the mother of five daughters (four of them married) and a son. "Apart from the earnings from the tea stall, I get a monthly political pension of Rs 400," she said.

In a letter to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, drafted by a lawyer, she has sought "due compensation and provision for a dignified existence". A reply acknowledging the receipt of her letter, also said that it had been "duly recommended to the concerned ministry for appropriate action". That was in May. After that, nothing happened.

A distraught Sultana has not given up hope just yet. But, she wondered, "What have I gained by remaining in India?" After reading about her in newspapers, a descendant of Bahadur Shah Zafar, currently in Dubai, had come looking for her to Kolkata. After much trouble, he located her. Saddened by her misery, he took away her son, who worked as a cook, with him to Dubai. "I could have gone away, too, for a better life," she lamented.

On August 15, 2003, the then Union minister of state for home affairs Swami Chinmayanand made a surprise visit to her shack. In February 2004, she received Rs 50,000 from the ministry. Earlier, the West Bengal government had allotted her a flat but she was driven out by local goons. Then she landed in the Howrah slum, her current address, with her children.

In her letter to Sonia, she wrote, "Bedar Bukht was the descendant of Bahadur Shah Zafar and Zeenat Mahal. When the emperor was exiled in Rangoon in 1857, he was kept in confinement along with Zeenat Mahal and only surviving son Jawan Bukht. After the death of the emperor, Jawan Bukht married while still under house arrest. A son, Jamshed Bukht, was born to him. He later married Nadir Jahan, daughter of Piare Mian, a small-time hardware merchant of Lucknow. Their son, born in 1920, is Sultana's husband Bedar Bukht."

It is told that Piare Mian smuggled in Bedar Bukht into India. And, young Bedar grew up in Kolkata with his identity under wraps for fear of incurring the wrath of the British. It was only after Independence that Bedar revealed his identity, said Sultana.

"Being brought up under such hostile circumstances, Bedar lived in the shadow of fear all his life. He was also suspicious of everybody. In fact, he never allowed me to visit Delhi while he was alive. Only after his death, I went and visited all the mausoleums and monuments built by the Mughals," she said.

Bedar dealt in charms and talismans and earned his living as a soothsayer. "But, that was too meagre for survival," she said.

Source :- http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2005-12-11/india/27862015_1_stall-bahu-slum



Edited by AdminKing - 25 Jul 2012 at 9:53am
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savitakumari View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote savitakumari Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Jan 2013 at 9:39am
Its so depressing & horrible to read this..Gadhijis children would also be living such miserable life..Nobody can live peacefully in India whatever he does or whatever his ancestors did for our country..
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote savitakumari Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Jan 2013 at 9:27am
I read this news on website..She is really in a very drastic condition..Sonia Gandhi is of no use..She shouldn't be in power..instead congress shouldn't be in the power..
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