State-run Coal India Ltd (CIL) has decided to offer employment to
Madhu, the poverty-stricken fifth generation descendant of India's
last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar.
33, is the daughter of Sultana Begum and the late Muhammad Bedar
Bakht, the great grandson of Bahadur Shah Zafar.
"On behalf of
Coal India Ltd, I feel pleasure in offering employment to Madhu. It
will be a great tribute to the last Mughal emperor who played a key
role during the first war of independence in 1857," Coal India
Chairman Partha Bhattacharyya said.
"It is the duty
of the country to repay its debt to the family of those who
sacrificed their lives for the country's freedom, especially in view
of the recently concluded celebration of the 150th anniversary of
the 1857 uprising," he said.
letter will be handed over to Madhu by Union Minister for Coal
Sriprakash Jaiswal at a function to be held in the city next month.
The move by Coal
India came in response to a plea by a Delhi-based scribe couple
Neena and Shivnath Jha who had launched a nationwide movement "Andolan
Ek Pustak Se" under the aegis of Bismillah: The Beginning
was launched to rehabilitate the descendants of forgotten heroes who
fought for the honour of India.
Bakht died in 1980 leaving his widow at the mercy of God to maintain
herself and their children on the bank of river Hooghly in West
Bengal's Howrah district. At that time she was in her 30s. Nobody
came to her rescue for the past three decades," said Shivnath Jha.
"I don't have
words to express my feelings. The job will not only give an inner
strength to a woman like me, but also protect me and my family,"
It was a sudden
turn of fortune for the family languishing in extreme poverty and
squalor in the Cowies Ghat slum of Howrah district.
Sultana Begum runs a tea shop in the locality. It is her family's
sole source of sustenance.
Shah Zafar was placed on the throne in 1837. He was the last of the
Mughal emperors who ruled over the Indian subcontinent for some 300
years. The first War of Independence in 1857 started during his
declared Zafar the symbol of freedom and nominated him as their
commander-in-chief. He was exiled to Rangoon (now Yangon) in 1858
where he lived for five years and died in 1862 at the age of 87.