My heart is tired of this wasteland now,
no contentment do i find in this transience.
Sorrow fills my being to overfilling,
that even hope cannot find a place.
oh, a forlorn and meager life we are bestowed with;
spent ere our desires take form.
Zafar, misfortune has become your fate;
that even in death, you are not with your beloved.
Bahadur Shah Zafar was the last Mughal emperor, and whose life was a very tragic and sad affair – emperor only in name, he was invalidated and suffered by the British Raj for most of his life. His authority was non-existent; confined only to his palace in Delhi, where he spent most of his life holding court with the remnants of the Mughal rule.
After the rebellion of 1857, his grandsons were beheaded, and he himself was seized and sent to exile, where he died in 1862.
Bahadur Shah was a great patron of the arts. Under his aegis, Urdu poetry enjoyed its golden era. Great poets like Mirza Asadulah Ghalib, Sheikh Ibrahim Zauq, Mumin Khan Mumin and Daag Dehlvi flourished and produced their best work.
Zafar himself was a very accomplished poet, his ghazals are touched with a sadness and tragedy that, when considering his life, is all the more heart rending.