Bahadur Shah Park, also known as Victoria Park, since the first half of the 19th century, was erected at the initiative of Nawab Abdul Ghani, in the Sadar Ghat area, on the ruins of an old building, called Antaghar, a club house of the Armenians, then living in a large number in the neighborhood.
Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar, was the last reigning Mughal monarch, during the time people of undivided India revolted against the oppressive rule of the East India Company. The mutineers declared Bahadur Shah Zafar, as their ruler.
Sporadic fights erupted all over the India , including the then Bengal . As the mutineers were not much organised, they didn’t have much ammunitions and lacked military intelligence. They started to loose the battle and finally the revolt was crushed. The aging Emperor Bahadur Shah was deposed and put on exile in Burma , where he died like a commoner. The mutineers were caught and killed by hanging from the branches of banian trees.
The place got a special identity, because during the Sepoy Mutiny (which was the first attempt of revolt against the British rule, in 1857), a good number of mutineers including a woman were hanged to death at this spot and were kept hanging for couple of days. For a long time after the mutiny, this place remained haunted and even in broad day light people feared to tread upon this ground.
When Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of British Empire, thus Empress of India, the commissioner of Dhaka read out Queen Victoria ‘s famous proclamation here before a large congregation in 1858. Four British canons embedded in earth marked the boundary of the former clubhouse.
In celebrating the centenary of `1857 Sepoy Mutiny (the first attempt of revolt against the British rule) the Dhaka Improvement Trust DIT (now RAJUK) erected a huge cenotaph at this place to perpetuate the memory of the patriots who sacrificed their lives for the cause of freedom. There is an obelisk inside the park.
The park was renovated by Dhaka City Corporation in the 1960’s and named it as Bahadur Shah Park, in memory of Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last emperor of Moghul Empire and built a cenotaph in the memory of the Martyrs of the liberation war of 1857. The cenotaph is a square structure with four pillars ending into a small dome on the top. The word `In memory of 1857 Martyrs’ was written on all sides. In another side an obelisk commemorates the ascending the throne of Queen Victoria as Empress of India and British Empire .
At present every morning toddlers of five years of age to 70 years old adult come from nearby areas, like Rokonpur, Tanti Bazar, Shankhari Bazar, Patla Khan Lane , Sutrapur, Bangla Bazar, Lakhsmi Bazar and Dal Patti to take a walk or exercise. More than 2,000 people visit the park everyday. The park is used by various organisations to celebrate different religious and cultural festivals.