Bahadur Shah Zafar Remembered in Darbar e Shahi
By A.H. Cemendtaur

On April 21, over 200 people attended an Urdu literary program on the life and work of Bahadur Shah Zafar, held at the Indian Community Center, Milpitas. The meetings regularly arranged at the ICC remembering Urdu’s prominent poets of the past are aptly called Yad-e-Raftgan. The soul of these gatherings is Hamida Banu Chopra, an Urdu connoisseur who has spent a lifetime teaching and studying the language. The latest program was dubbed ‘Darbar e Shahi.’ Salma Arastu, Joy Deep, Jawed Umrani, Dipti Bhatnagar and others paid homage to Zafar through poetry recitations.

Describing Zafar’s accomplishments Hamida Chopra did mention the controversy about the authorship of Zafar’s poetry. Maulana Muhammad Hussain Azad, a contemporary of Zafar, in his book Ab-e-Hayat claimed that the poetry everyone believes to be penned down by the last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar was actually written by Mohammad Ibrahim Zauq, Zafar’s teacher. But other scholars, including Sir Syed Ahmad Khan thought otherwise, and now there seems to be a consensus that the work described as Zafar’s is indeed his own.

 

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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