This 3-hour Old Delhi walking tour lands you straight into the palaces of Mughal queens, and an ancient market.
These ladies were quite influential when they were alive; their reputation continues even today. Zeenat Mahal, Qudasia Begum, and Mubarak Begum were quite colorful in their lives and their names survive even today.
The life of Zeenat Mahal
We don’t know much about this favored wife of the last Mughal Mughal, Bahadur Shah Zafar. Most websites that say that Zeenat Mahal was born in 1823 in the Indian province of Avadh. When she turned 17, Zeenat was married off to the aged Mughal King, Bahadur Shah Zafar.
Avadh is the territory that includes the modern day Lucknow, Barabanki, Ayodhya, Gonda etc.
Zeenat was the third wife of Zafar but rose in influence after entering his harem. I think Zafar married his fourth wife after obtaining Zeenat.
The names of the wives of Bahadur Shah were Ashraf Mahal, Taj Mahal, and Akhtar Mahal.
You would be surprised to know that Zafar had at least 32 sons and 22 daughters. It is difficult to say how many of these belonged to Zeenat but she definitely favored Mirza Jawan Bakht, her son from Bahadur Shah. Jawan was the 15th son of his father.
Zeenat Mahal was a clever lady indeed. She knew that the British were here to stay in India for a long time. Without them, Zeenal realized, she would not realize her ambition.
What was her ambition?
To place her own son Jawan Bakht on the Mughal throne!
I hope that I will find out, some day, the grave of this prince in another Old Delhi walking
So Zeenat played her cards smartly. She stayed away from the rebels and also forced Jawan Bakht to have no truck with them. Remember, these men had killed 55 English men and women in the Red Fort Delhi during the 1857 mutiny!