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Zinat Mahal Begum, the favourite queen of the Emperor Bahadur Shah

Zinat Mahal Begum, the favourite queen of the Emperor Bahadur Shah

Author: Metcalfe, Sir Thomas Theophilus (1795-1853)

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1843

Shelfmark: Add.Or.5475

Item number: ff. 17v-18

Length: 25.8

Width: 42.3

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Manuscript

[From 'Reminiscences of Imperial Delhi’, an album consisting of 89 folios containing approximately 130 paintings of views of the Mughal and pre-Mughal monuments of Delhi, as well as other contemporary material, with an accompanying manuscript text written by Sir Thomas Theophilus Metcalfe (1795-1853), the Governor-General’s Agent at the imperial court. Acquired with the assistance of the Heritage Lottery Fund and of the National Art-Collections Fund.]

The wife of the King of Delhi at the time of the Mutiny 1857.
[Photograph of Zinat Mahal Begum. This was presumably acquired by Metcalfe's son, Sir John Theophilus Metcalfe (1828-83), who was the magistrate in Delhi in 1857, and pasted in at that time. 'We (the Bayley family) possess her photograph taken after her capture' (after the Uprising of 1857).

Zinat Mahal was the wife of Bahadur Shah Zafar (1775-1862), the last of the Mughal Emperors. Prior to the Uprising of 1857, the British East India Company reduced Bahadur Shah Zafar and his family, to a state of dependence, with the British Resident holding actual power. Zinat Mahal was angered by Metcalfe, for meddling in Palace affairs and when Metcalfe died mysteriously, many believed that she had poisoned him. After the Uprising of 1857, Bahadur Shah and Zinat Mahal were exiled to Rangoon in Burma.]

The Observatory of Dehly denominated the ‘Junter Munter’, literally Witchcraft, was constructed by the Maha Raja Jey Singh of Jeypore who succeeded to the inheritance of his Father about 1693 of the Christian Era. It is situated without the Walls of the City at a distance of 1¼ miles SW, and consists of several detached Buildings. The principal ones as shown in the annexed drawing are the Gnomon, a large Equatorial Dial, and a Circular Building designed for the purpose of observing the Altitude and Azimuth of the heavenly Bodies. The two former do not require particular Notice, but on the third, of which there are two and exactly similar to each other, and intended not as duplicates but as supplementary to each other. A Pillar rises in the Center of the same height with the Buildings itself, which is open at the top. From the Pillar at the same Height of about three feet from the bottom proceed Radii of Stone horizontally to the Circular Walls of the Building. These Radii are thirty in number. The space between them are equal to the Radii themselves, so that each Radius and each intermediate Space forms a Sector of Six Degrees. The parts in the center Pillar opposite to the Radii and in the intermediate Spaces, in all Sixty, are marked by lines reaching to the top, and were painted of different colours. As no observation could be made in the one Building when the Shadow fell on the Space between the Stone Radii or Sector, it was found requisite to construct the Second on which the Radii or Sectors correspond with the Vacant Spaces of the other, so that in one of other, an observation of any body visible above the Horizon might at anytime be made. At Benares and Oojain similar Observatories, though not on so large a Scale, were constructed by the same Scientific Individual.
[For the picture, see f.27v]

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