CONFUSION PREVAILS ABOUT THE IDENTITY OF LALL KUNWAR;
PROSTITUTE WIFE OF ALAMGEER II OR KING JAHANDAR SHAH.
A pictorial book published in 1884 in Delhi gives a picture of Lall Kunwar. The identity of same it says Zeenat Mahal wife of Alamgeer II. There is a picture in the Walkers Art Museum in USA too. It has a seal of Mehrunnisa Begum and a modern writing of name as Lall Kunwar Mashooqa Jahandar Shah. That means beloved of the King. Vague entry in all cases. Which is true? One does not know. But we remember that only through documentations that we can arrive at the truth.
There is a mausoleum in a garden of Delhi and it described as Mausoleum of Lall Kunwar. It is called Lal Bangla. Description given by such sources is that of a prostitute of low status, beloved of the Mughal King. Her family is given and her frolic activities with the King. There is even an accusation of she bathing with the King, naked in public. Another claim is she drowning people in river just to have excitement of drowning deaths. But in a country where gossip becomes imagined truth, nothing can be said with any certainty. A lot of history is just made-up stories. Her identity stands disputed from two Delhi sources itself.
It is her luck where Kings and Queens are forgotten with time, a couple of pictures bring back her memory, and an isolated tomb in Delhi, literally forgotten by even those who frequent the parks of the city. Her aspirations were simple. She was no King makers nor involved in any political intrigues. Just fun and the desire to survive. And she survived indeed. The architecture of her tomb is splendid in itself as a small memento of the Mughal period.