Heritage Times

Exploring lesser known History

Freedom MovementHistorical EventThe First War of Independence 1857

Mutiny, Humayun Tomb, Two Princes and a Sikh soldier:

After taking the king and his family as prisoners, Hodson left his Sikh cavalry to guard the Humayun Tomb. They were assigned to keep an eye on the nobles who were still taking refuge at the tomb area and were under arrest. Their destiny looked much shoddier after the arrest of Bahadur Shah Zafar.

Among them were King’s relatives and friends,notable nobles of Shahjahanabad (Delhi). Some of the princes initially managed to disguise themselves and avoided their arrest. However, the British possessed greater intelligence and they managed to identify almost all of the princes.

History of wars is full of rage and revenge, seldom have we seen any signs of sympathy and empathy between enemies. The two Princes, Mirza Abdulla and Mirza Qwaish were among the prisoners. They were asked by Hodson to wait in the Humayun tomb until he came back.

Indian Mutiny, Fate of Jama Masjid and other Islamic Buildings of Delhi:

The poor princes were standing, waiting for their new master to return and decide their fate. One of the Sikh soldiers saw them and asked them to run away. Below is reference from “The Last Mughal”.

“According to the Delhi oral tradition recorded by the Urdu writer Arsh Taimuri in the early years of the twentieth century, “The Sikh Risaldar felt pity for these young men, and asked them ‘Why are you standing here?’ They replied, ‘the sahib has asked us to stand here.’

He glared at them and said, ‘Have mercy on your lives. When he return he will kill you; run whichever direction you can. Beware and don’t stop even to take breath.’ Saying this, the Rasildar turned his back and both princes ran away in different directions. After some time, Hodson came back and saw that the prisoners had fled.

Indian Mutiny, Zinatunnisa Mosque, and Noble Women of Delhi:

He asked the Rasildar, ‘Where did those men go?’ ‘Who?’ the Rasildar asked, as if he was ignorant. Hodson said, ‘The princes who were standing here.’ He said, ‘I don’t know. What princes?’

Hodson continued his search for Mirza Qwaish and searched every nook and corner, but could not find him. The government even released a poster for his arrest and announced a huge reward. Allured by this, several people went to Udaipur, and with the help of the Kotwal of the city reached the house where Mirza Qwaish was living in disguise, but he never fell into their hands, and died a free man in Udaipur.

Mirza Abdullah meanwhile lived in the princely state of Tonk in extremely difficult conditions, roamed about as a tattered beggar in a pathetic condition, and finally died in the same state.”

Reference: The Last Mughal page 423-424 by William Dalrymple.

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