[The court martial sat for the last time on 9 March, (1858) and at 11 a.m., in front of a croweded courtroom, Harriott made his closing speech. For two and a half hours, he again elaborated his theory of the Uprising being an international Islamic conspiracy. ‘I have endeavoured to point out’, he declaimed, ‘how intimately the prisoner, as the head of the Mahommedan faith in India, has been connected with the organization of that conspiracy, either as its leader or its unscrupulous accomplice….’
Just before 3 pm, the judges retired to consider their verdict. A few minutes later, they returned to unanimously declare Zafar guilty ‘of all and every part of the charges preferred against him’.]
The Sufi King Bahadur Shah Zafar died on Friday 7th November 1862 at 5 a.m. at the age of 87.
[News of Zafar’s death reached Delhi a fortnight later on 20 November. Ghalib read the news in the Avadh Akhbar, the same day that it was announced that the Jama Masjid was finally going to be given back to the Muslims of Delhi. Already numbed by the news of so many other deaths and tragedies, Ghalib’s reaction was resigned and muted; ‘On Friday the 7th November, and the 14th Jamadu ul Awwal, Abu Zafar Siraj ud Din Bahadur Shah was freed from the bonds of the foreigner and the bonds of the flesh. “Verily we are for God, and verily to him we shall return.]
From the book ‘The Last Mughal’ by William Dalrymple pp 442-443 and 475.
So the poor Sufi King was convicted as a Salafi criminal in a kangaroo court. He was blamed for popular military uprising in India and abroad against British Empire. We can not deny the role of mystic Indian Sufis in cementing strong social fabric among Hindus and Muslims in the Subcontinent. However, individual arm struggle against British was started by Salafi, which we can not deny.
We should avoid appeasement and blame game, both Muslim sects played an important role for our society and our struggle of independence. Aggressors will always find a few reasons to blame and punish us, it does not matter which sect or order we practice.
Below is rarest photo of Bahadur Shah Zafar with his two surviving son and an Englishman, most likely Mr. Harriet.