Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Begum Hazrat Mahal



BEGUM HAZRAT MAHAL
Date of Birth: 1830 and Date of Death: 7th April, 1879
            Begum Hazrat Mahal, a prominent women hero of 1857 rebellion, was born in 1830 Faizabad of Uttar Pradesh.  Her name is Muhammadi Khanum.  Her father is Gulam Hussain of Faizabad.  At her tender age itself, she showed good talent in literature.  She was married to Wajid Ali Shah, the Nawab of Awadh.  They were blessed with a son Mirza Birjis Khadir Bahadur.  On 13th February, 1856, the British troops imprisoned Wajid Ali Shah.  They sent him to Calcutta on 13th March and occupied Awadh illegitimately.  This irked the people and native rulers.  They revolted against the British under the leadership of Begum Hazrat Mahal.  The native rulers and people met at Chavani area of Lucknow, the capital of Awadh on 31st May, 1857 and declared independence.  They taught a lesson to the British troops and wiped out their power in Lucknow.  Later, Begum Hazrat Mahal declared her son Birjis Khadir as the Nawab of Awadh on 7th July, 1857.  As the king’s mother, she gathered 1,80,000 troops and renovated the Lucknow fort spending huge amount of money.  She established a high level committee for the good governance of the state in which she appointed members like Mummu Khan, Maharaja Balakrishna, Babu Purna Chand, Munshi Ghulam Hazrat, Mohammad Ibrahim Khan, Raja Man Singh, Raja Desibaksh Singh, Raja Beni Prasad and others.  Sharaf-ud-Doula was appointed as Chief Minister and Raja Jail Lal Sing as a Collector.  Hazrat Mahal ruled the state on behalf of her son for about ten months and challenged the British force by inspiring patriotism among the people and the fellow native rulers.  She issued a historical statement on 31st December, 1858 challenging the proclamation issued by the Queen Victoria on 1st November, 1858.  But, when Delhi, the prime center for the First War of Independence was captured, the British troops surrounded and attacked Lucknow in March, 1859.  There was a fierce battle between the Company troops and the Begum troops.  When defeat became inevitable, Begum Hazrat Mahal retreated to the Nepal forests along with the co-revolutionary leaders like Nana Sahib Peshwa and others.  The British rulers offered her huge amount of money and luxurious facilities in order to bring her back to Lucknow.  But, the Begum denied them and made it clear that nothing else was acceptable to her except Independent Awadh state.  Begum Hazrat Mahal was struggling for the independence of her state till her last breath.  She passed away at Khatmound of Nepal on 7th April, 1879.  In 1984 Government of India released a postal stamp in her honour.

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