Stolen treasures of India - Crown of Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Mogul ruler of Delhi - 06


Crown of Last Mogul ruler Bahadur Shah

Crown of Last Mogul ruler Bahadur Shah Zafar.

Crown of Bahadur Shah

Above images: This is the image of a crown worn by the last Mogul ruler Emperor Bahadur Shah II till 1857; it included  gold  wire embroidery turquoises, rubies, diamonds, pearls, emeralds, feathers and velvet.  height 16.4cm; diam. 17.7cm. In 1861, Queen Victoria purchased them. ..............................

In 1856, Lord Canning wrote to the British Resident of Delhi: "A lot of the elements of the glory of the Badshahi have finished… It is, therefore, not difficult to think that on the death of the Badshah by just a few lines on paper the title could be abolished." With the death of Emperor Bahadur Shah II, the royal family would have to vacate the Qila e Mubarak (fort) too.

After Delhi was recaptured from the rebels by the EIC's army in 21 September 1857 their  atrocities and intimidation reached the  end of tolerance.  The Emperor along with his 2 sons and grand son  took shelter in Humayun's Tomb near Delhi.  Mirza Ilahi Bux, a close associate of the ruler was forced to reveal where the ruler and others were hiding.   At last the emperor and his heirs surrendered to Major Hodson who took them  his captives back to the Red Fort. On the way near the Khooni gate (Dharwaza), the major ordered Bahadur Shah Zafar's sons Mirza Mughal and Mirza Khizr Khan and his grandson Mirza Abu Bakr to get off the  carriage and disrobe. He then shot them dead in cold blood and hung their bodies near the gate. The Emperor was held prisoner in a dingy room of his ancestral fort during the summer and later was exiled to Rangoon,  Burma (Myanmar) where last Mughal emperor, died at 5am on Friday, 7 November 1862.  he was given a hurried and ignominious burial in Rangoon.

Above image: Last Mogul ruler  of Delhi -Bahadur-Shah-II (1775-1862) in September 1858  was captured by  Major William  Raikes Hodson-1858...................

With no legal heirs left it was  the official end of the Mughal Empire  and  the company plundered  left over treasures in the palace treasury -  large quantities of jewels and other valuable relics of Bahadur Shah’s court, including his crown  and throne chairs. The latter were   bought by Major Robert Tyler (1818-72) of the 38th Regiment of Native Infantry (Bengal), who had taken part in the Siege of Delhi.

Back in England in 1860 Tyler at last   offered the  relics to the Queen. On 3 January 1861, Sir Charles Wood (1800-1885; later Viscount Halifax), Secretary of State for India,  mistook the crown for  some sort of head-gear.  it could be a  rich skull-cap worn on the head by the mogul ruler and  the round   lower part of which the turban was wound - & in the turban jewels were placed.’  Sir Charles recorded that Sir John Lawrence (1811-79, a member of the Council of India and later Viceroy)  had seen the so-called crown ‘on the last Emperor head.  Considering its significance and historical value  Charles Wood mentioned that the crown had been sent to Windsor for the Queen to inspect. Both the crown and the throne chairs were subsequently purchased by the Queen.