The great-great-granddaughter of the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar, Madhu, is illiterate, and makes a living by running a tea-stall with her mother in the slums of Calcutta.
Thanks to an initiative by a journalist to rescue her from penury, the Ministry of Coal has decided to employ her to run errands in Coal India’s offices.
Does she deserve any special treatment (like a job in a government office) just because she has royal blood running through her veins? May be not. But it is quite heart-breaking to see this royal descendant — whose forefathers include emperors like Zafar, Akbar, Babur and Gengiz Khan — in such poor conditions.
This reminds of that great ghazal (supposedly) written by Bahadur Shah Zafar himself.
na kisii kii aa.Nkh kaa nuur huu.N
na kisii ke dil kaa qaraar huu.N
jo kisii ke kaam na aa sakaa
mai.n vo ek musht-e-gubaar huu.N
jo chaman fizaa.n me.n uja.D gayaa
mai.n usii kii fasl-e-bahaar huu.N
The semblance is agonizing.
Also, see my earlier post where I reviewed a wonderful book about Zafar: The Last Mughal.
[Picture Courtesy: BBC]
P.S. Musht-e-gubaar means ‘a handful of dust’.