Impoverished Mughal royal descendant gets a helping hand

May 2nd, 2009 - 9:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Kolkata, May 2 (IANS) The great granddaughter-in-law of the last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar Sultana Begum, who now lives in a slum in West Bengal, is a little relieved. She now has the funds to perform get her daughter married, thanks to two journalists.
“Andolan Ek Pustak Se” - a movement kicked off by Delhi-based scribe Shivnath Jha and his wife Neena - was aimed at helping the erstwhile royal whose daughter Madhu will get married in June this year.

“We’ve arranged to give her (Sultana Begum) a draft of Rs.200,000 for performing the marriage of her daughter,” Jha told IANS.

Begum said: “I am very happy today to get this fund. It will help me to live my life properly as I don’t have any decent source of income.”

She lives in a 66-sq ft dingy room at a Howrah slum and runs a roadside tea stall there, about 14 km from here.

“Despite serious penury, I was never reduced to being a beggar. I always held my head high in tough financial situations and lived with dignity,” she said, thanking the Bismillah: The Beginning Foundation run by the Jhas.

Sultana’s husband, late Mirza Mohd Bedar Bukht, was a direct descendant of Bahadur Shah Zafar and crown queen Zeenat Mehal.

Jha told reporters here Saturday: “I decided to write a book, ‘Prime Ministers of India: Bharat Bhagya Vidhata’, and decided to rehabilitate the family of Sultana Begam from the proceeds of the book.”

The 534-page hard bound and illustrated book, scheduled to be released after the general elections, will contain details of India’s prime ministers, from Jawaharlal Nehru to Manmohan Singh.

It is the fourth book in the “Andolan Ek Pustak Se” movement, which was launched by the duo in 2007 and aims to publish one book a year to honour and help those who have made India proud.

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