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Dantewada: Goods train derailed, Naxal hands suspected        Never planned to meet Railway Minister Piyush Goyal in Delhi: Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan        GST rides on federalism: Narendra Modi        15 Killed, 10 Injured as Tractor-trolley Falls Into Canal in Telangana        Saudi Arabia's ban on women driving ends officially        White House spokesperson Sanders says she was kicked out of restaurant        Germany: Huge explosion rips through apartment building, leaves 25 injured        Hat-trick hero Kane helps England reach knockouts after beating Panama 6-1        Roger Federer loses No.1 spot as Borna Coric stuns him in Halle Open final        Federer beats Kudla to reach 12th Halle final        Hockey: Clinical India crush Pakistan 4-0 in CT opener        Infosys stable and on verge of something momentous: Nilekani        Boko Haram raid kills five in Nigeria: residents        Musharraf says he has not quit politics        AP will be torn apart if 'monkey gangs' come to power: CM        Congress neglected development of cities: PM        BJP will not allow Kashmir to get disintegrated from India: Shah        Wary of hacks, World Cup teams get serious on cybersecurity        You pass YoYo test, you play for India, says Shastri, Kohli endorses        Prof Debashis Chatterjee assumes charge as Director of IIM-K        
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National News
Lonely in life, this Avadh 'prince' died a pauper
 
(New Delhi, Nov 06, 2017):Lonely in life, 'Prince' Ali Raza was also lonely in death. As the police found his lifeless form on a couch on September 2, a tumultuous chapter that had inspired many a gossipy tale for over 30 years, came to an end.

Raza, his sister Sakina, and their mother Begum Wilayat Mahal, had made it to the headlines in the 1970s by claiming to be the direct descendants of the last king of Avadh, Nawab Wajid Ali Shah. Mahal had occupied the first class waiting lounge at New Delhi Railway Station along with her two children, a pack of hounds, and a few servants. She had demanded compensation from the Indian government for the British taking over all the properties of the Nawab after deposing him in 1856.

Mahal's sensational claim had brought a lot of press attention then. Eventually, a house was arranged for her in Lucknow. TOI found a letter written by Rajan Kashyap, deputy secretary of the ministry of home affairs, dated July 18, 1977, in which Mahal was informed about the district magistrate of Lucknow arranging for her a house (MG-99) at Aliganj.

"But she had refused to move to Lucknow and had asked for an alternative accommodation in Delhi itself," recalled Anil Chandra, a resident of Malcha Marg in Lutyens' Delhi.

Mahal refused to leave the railway station. Requests and threats didn't help. In fact, she would threaten to kill herself by drinking poison just like a famous ancestor of hers supposedly did—a tale that historians haven't been able to prove so far.

But that was the nature of Mahal's claim to hallowed ancestry—disputed by other, recognised members of the dynasty. Yet these had no impact on the decision by the Union government in 1985.

"Mahal was offered a DDA flat. But she had refused to settle for anything less than a palace. And a palace was indeed given to her, only a 14th-century one," Chandra recalled.

Known then simply as Bistadari ruins, it was a 14th-century shikargah or a hunting lodge believed to have been built by Sultan Ferozeshah Tughlaq. Located in the heart of Lutyens' Delhi, it came to be known as Malcha Mahal as it faced Malcha Marg. But this happened once WilayatMahal came to stay there with her kids, dogs and attendants.

However, the family chose a life of isolation right from the beginning. Protected by the ferocious canines, the family wouldn't let anyone come anywhere near their 'palace'. A signboard was put up, warning of terrible consequences for any feat of derring-do. Mahal was known to come good on her threat—she unleashed her dogs on the particularly adventurous.

But life at the ruins was hard without water and power. The family wrote to the authorities several times for repairs and other help. A letter written by Raza — now lying on a charpoy — read: "...Those having a conscience should know his Royal house of Oudh — staying at Malcha Mahal— is perhaps more complete without water and electricity — with flooded rooms. And no defeat more conclusive for the government of India in particular....(sic)"

On September 10, 1993, Mahal committed suicide. And her children slipped into depression following that. Four years ago, Sakina died too, leaving Raza all alone in this world. He would have occasional visitors in members of the foreign press corps, but he mingled with nobody else. A guard at a nearby ISRO earth station said even policemen were not allowed in. "He had many dogs earlier, but I saw only one in the last one year," he said, adding that he would see Raza cycle towards the main road at times, but never saw him carry groceries. Nobody knew how Razasurvived.

But TOI found a money receipt of Rs 2,468 wired by one Zahir Shahid from the UK. In fact, reaching the place was quite an adventure in itself. The entrance was blocked and we had to climb over a wall.

Inside, the worldly possessions of the family were strewn all over. The only thing that was in order somewhat was a dining table with cups, kettle and plates stacked neatly. A plant by the table seemed to be dying. A red-colour telephone set lay broken too.

What was more striking was a tall glass filled with water on the table. May be dinner was just about to begin when Raza had breathed his last that night. It was hard to make out, though, if Raza had lost his life, or life had lost him. He was buried at a cemetery near Delhi Gate with some help from the Waqf Board.

Police ruled out any foul play.


Dantewada: Goods train derailed, Naxal hands suspected
GST rides on federalism: Narendra Modi
15 Killed, 10 Injured as Tractor-trolley Falls Into Canal in Telangana
AP will be torn apart if 'monkey gangs' come to power: CM
Congress neglected development of cities: PM
Javadekar assures students will not have to travel outside home state for NEET
YEIDA former CEO accused in land scam arrested
Rahul Gandhi appoints Kharge as in-charge of Cong affairs in Maha
Yoga a unifying force, says Modi
Kamal Haasan meets Sonia Gandhi
Inform people about govt's achievements: Khattar to BJP morchas
Leaving CEA job for very compelling reason; will leave by early Sep: Subramanian
Kejriwal faces health issues; likely to join naturopathy course in B'luru
Naveen Patnaik too seeks spl category status for his state
Kumaraswamy refutes reports of Cong-JDS differences on budget
Kejriwal calls off nine day sit-in
ED files fresh charge sheet against Mallya, prepares for fugitive tag
Rahul writes to slain scribe's father, offers condolence
India, China, Pakistan trilateral cooperation can help maintain peace: Beijing's envoy
Vajpayee better, hopeful of full recovery in next few days: AIIMS director
ENTERTAINMENT NEWS
I am a big flop actor: Karan Johar
 (Mumbai, May 5, 2018): Filmmaker Karan Johar is in mood to take up full-fledged acting jobs.  
Bittersweet moment for us: Akshaye on Vinod Khanna's Dadasaheb Phalke honour
Happy Sonam is getting married, Anand a great guy: Harshvardhan Kapoor
Auctioning 'Rustom' costume for good cause: Akshay Kumar
INTERNATIONAL NEWS
Saudi Arabia's ban on women driving ends officially
 (Riyadh, June 24, 2018):Saudi women are now officially allowed to get behind the wheel after
White House spokesperson Sanders says she was kicked out of restaurant
Germany: Huge explosion rips through apartment building, leaves 25 injured
Boko Haram raid kills five in Nigeria: residents
KERALA NEWS
Kerala among 13 states on thunderstorm alert
 (New Delhi, May 7, 2018): Thunderstorms accompanied by squall, hail and heavy rains are likel
Kerala Karshaka Jadha Opens to a Great Beginning / Video
Malappuram press club attack: RSS workers nabbed
Workers injured in mudslide at construction site
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