Not many people know that the last Mughal Emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar was also an Urdu poet of a very high order and it was during his reign that Urdu Shayri reached its Zenith. As Sanjay Garg outlines in his book, Maqta – Zafar on Zafar, “Zafar’s reign was a golden era of Urdu Ghazal into which Ghalib introduced Philosophy, Zauq – life, Momin – romance, and Zafar poured tragedy! Zafar’s poetry succesfully captures the melancholy of his life and documents the contemporary state of affairs, both social and political.”
I bought this book last summer in Delhi, and am presenting some Maqtas out of that book for everyone’s reading pleasure. Abu Zafar, as he was dearly called – his poetry I have been reading for last few years and out of those feelings, I even adopted my Takhallus, although I’m merely a speck of dirt in front of him. Enjoy!
Bahadur Shah Zafar is shown in 1858 in the picture above, just after his show trial in Delhi and before his departure for exile in Rangoon. This is possibly the only photograph ever taken of the Mughal emperor. (Picture Copyright: British Library)