|Great freedom fighter Queen Begum Hazrat Mahal of Awadh. Journalist Cafe|
Begum Hazrat Mahal (c. 1820 – 7 April 1879), the second wife of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah. Wajid Ali Shah played no less role during the 1857 Indian rebellion than other rulers and both the begum of Awadh, as she was commonly called, along with Rani Jhansi Lakshmi Bhai hogged the limelight in the Indian history of early freedom movements. These women were not only highly spirited, but also were courageous and fought against the British forces though the odds were against them. This great uprising of 1957 and 1958 finally led to the control of Indian subcontinent under the direct administration of the British Government, London.
|Great freedom fighter Queen Begum Hazrat Mahal of Awadh SlideShare|
She opposed the tricky Doctrine of Lapse introduced by wily Lord Dalhousie who expected her to surrender to the English company. She fought tooth and nail against the mighty British forces and, at the last moment, before the fall of Lucknow, the seat of power, she fled to Kathmandu, Nepal. She put her son, Prince Birjis Qadr, the Wali (ruler) of Awadh in charge and his military commander being Raja Jai Lal Singh. But, later she gave it up for certain practical reasons. It was on March 6, 1858, led by the British Commander-in-Chief, Colin Campbell, thousands of British troops – English, Scottish, Sikh, Bengali and even Nepali – began the final assault of the ancient city of Lucknow. Already, Cawnpoor and Delhi were seized from the rebels and the same situation prevailed at Jhansi and Gwalior where the British forces with support from contingent troops had an upper hand. By 21 March 1958, it was over for the Awadh kingdom.
Her fighting qualities and and her strategic military moves came in for admiration even from the British. William Howard Russell’s much-quoted line from ''My Indian Mutiny Diary'' sums up his feelings at the time – “This Begam exhibits great energy and ability. She has excited all Oudh to take up the interests of her son, and the chiefs have sworn to be faithful to him. The Begum declares undying war against us.” An 1858 edition of The Times in London made a statement praising Hazrat Mahal, “The Begum of Awadh shows greater strategic sense and courage than all her generals put together.”
|Queen hazrat Mahal, Awadh. twitter.com|
|Tomb of Queen Hazrat Mahal, Kathmandu, Nepal. thehimalayantimes.com|
As for Hazrat Mahal, she was a courtesan by profession and was part of the royal harem of Awadh rulers. Being smart and intelligent, she won the heart of the ruler and became the junior queen of Awadh (wife of last Tajdaar-e-Awadh) and the title 'Hazrat Mahal' was bestowed on her after the birth of their son, Birjis Qadra. It was in 1856 the EIC, a proxy government that ran the Indian subcontinent for the British Crown, annexed Awadh under the pretext of poor administration by Wajid Ali Shah. a true alley of the British; the latter proved that they were untrustworthy and responsible for the down fall of a rich kingdom - Awadh. The same story was repeated across India and the Indian natives' abomination for the cunning EIC operations had begun to boil and later overflowed in form a powerful rebellion the British Empire never saw before. Incidentally, a major part of present state of UP was under the kingdom of Awadh.
|begum hazrat mahal park, Lucknow, UP. Rock-cafe|
Queen Hazrat Mahal was buried in a nameless grave in the grounds of Kathmandu's Jame Masjid. The tomb of Begum Hazrat Mahal near Jama Masjid is in central part of Kathmandu Ghantaghar and Jama Masjid Central Committee is taking care of this grave of a great woman who wanted the British forces to leave India for good. In the capital city of Lucknow there is a famous park named after her called Hazrat Mahal Park. On 15 August 1962, Mahal was honored at the Old Victoria Park in Hazratganj, Lucknow in memory of her courageous role during the great Indian rebellion, the culmination of which was due to unbearable oppressive rule and poor treatment of the Indian natives. by the race-conscious British
Next month on 18 April 2019 Mahal's 140th death anniversary will be coming up at Jame Masjid, Kathmandu. .