Moghul descendant saved from slums by coal board

Author: By Andrew Buncombe in Dehli

Madhu, the 33-year-old great great granddaughter of Emperor Bahadur Shah
Zafar, pictured, has been given a job in the offices of India’s state-run
coal industry after media highlighted her plight. The illiterate young woman
will initially be employed to run errands.

“I feel pleasure in offering employment to Madhu. It will be a great
tribute to the last Moghul emperor who played a key role during the first
war of independence in 1857,” said Coal India’s chairman, Partha
Bhattacharyya. “It is the duty of the country to repay its debt to the
family of those who sacrificed their lives for the country’s freedom.”

Madhu’s father, Muhammad Bedar Bakht, the great grandson of the emperor, died
in 1980, leaving the family with no means of income other than a humble tea
stand, run by her mother Sultana Begum, in the Cowies Ghat slum in Howrah,
the twin city of Kolkata. Madhu is one of five daughters but all the others
are married.

A journalist couple from Delhi discovered her plight. Neena and Shivnath Jha
run a campaign to rehabilitate the descendants of Indians who fought for the
country’s independence and have been forgotten.

“We are trying to help the relatives of forgotten heroes,” said Mr
Jha.

“Muhammad Bedar Bakht died in 1980 leaving his widow at the mercy of God
to maintain herself and their children on the bank of the Hooghly river.
Nobody came to her rescue for three decades.”

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