Online Encyclopedia

BAHADUR SHAH II

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V03, Page 207 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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BAHADUR SHAH II., the last of the Mogul emperors of Hindustan, 1837-1857. He was a titular emperor only, since from the time of the defeat of Shah Alam at Buxar in 1764 all real power had resided with the East India Company ; but all proclamations were still worded under " The King's Realm and the Company's rule." His sole importance is due to the use made of his name during the Mutiny of 1857. Always feeble in character, he was at that time old, and, from the first, was wholly at the mercy of the mutinous soldiery in Delhi, who were controlled by a council called the Barah Topi, or Twelve Heads. His papers, seized after the fall of Delhi, are full of senile complaint of the disrespect and discourtesy which he suffered from them. At the time of the assault he fled to the Tomb of Humayun, 6 m. from Delhi, where he was captured by Major Hodson. In January 1858 he was brought to trial for rebellion and for complicity in the murder of Europeans. The trial lasted more than two months. The substance of the king's defence was that he had been a mere instrument in the hands of the mutineers. On the 29th of March he was found guilty and sentenced to imprisonment for life. He was transported to Rangoon, and died there on the 7th of November 1862.
End of Article: BAHADUR SHAH II
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