Hi everyone, welcome one again to another interesting biography of Begun Hazrat Mahal. She was among the brave in India.
Introduction to Begum Hazrat Mahal
Begum of Awadh, as people used to call her, happens to be among the most famous female freedom fighters to fight for independence in India.
Her courage and bravery saw her ascend a position of a ruler. She remains the first and the last ruler of the Delhi Sultanate.
Fate saw her assume the position of a queen to the King of Awadh Kingdom Nawab and had the mental fortitude and initiative to oppose the British administration during the 1857 Indian Rebellion.
After the British added their region and the King of Awadh, they sent Nawab Wajid Ali Shah far away, banished for good to Calcutta, she assumed the liability of dealing with the undertakings of the state in her own hands.
Afterwards, in relationship with the progressive powers, she held onto control of Lucknow and pronounced her child as the new King of Awadh.
She assumed a critical part in the main conflict of Indian freedom and battled the British powers alongside different progressives.
However, the British soldiers assaulted Awadh again and, after a long attack, had the option to re-catch it, constraining her to withdraw. She wouldn’t acknowledge any favors and stipends presented by the British rulers.
At last, she looked for refuge in Nepal, where she passed on after some time. She stands out as the only female leader to stand still in resisting British governance.
Even when she fled to Nepal, she still insisted of preparing for a second attack on the British oppressors.
Hazrat Mahal’s beginnings are vague. She obviously came from a humble background within the town of Faizabad, located inside the territory of Oudh.
Her mother and father were dark; most resources are written in English to comprehend her own family name, which they say became Iftikarun-nisa. A Study of Popular Resistance was installed in 1722 by a Persian swashbuckler.
Records from historical times show that she become educated to be dancing- and within the manner of her occupation, the king, Wajid Ali Shah, found interest in her. He then invited her to his courtroom and recruited her into his collection of mistresses.
Indicated through P. J. O. Taylor in A Companion to the ‘Indian Mutiny’ of 1857, “while she introduced forth a male infant, raised her to the position of one in all his spouses, under the identify Hazrat Mahal.”
Childhood and early life
Begum Hazrat Mahal was born in 1820 in a place called Faizabad in India. Her exact date of birth remains unknown up to date. Originally, her parents gave her the name Muhammed Khanum.
Unfortunately, she did not have a very good time with her parents. It happened when she was young; her parents chose to sell her.
Career as a Courtesan
She was a courtesan (used to dance before the court Council) by calling. When her parents sold her to the royal agents, the King recruited her to be one of his mistresses and gave her the position of a ‘khawasin.’
Later, she was offered to Royal agents and was elevated to be a ‘pari.’ Here, she got Mahak Pari. Begum Hazrat was sold to a royal agent. She was courageous right from childhood and an independent lady.
Even with the absence of her biological parents, she managed to develop a profession of Courtesan. Being a courtesan did not mean a lot, but she still did it for survival.
She used to dance in the court and please the court council. That needed one to be courageous and with stable self-esteem.
She accepted her career as a dancer at the court wholeheartedly. This same career gave her the opportunity to seduce the king of Awadhi. She convinced him into taking her as a concubine.
The King of Awadhi later made her his junior wife. Luckily, she bore the king a son, and she immediately earned the title Hazrat Mahal.
Assuming the Position of a ruler
In 1856, the British took over the kingdom of Awadhi, and they forced him to give out the throne. She pushed him into rebilling the British wish, but he didn’t seem to concur.
She wanted him to stand for his people and challenge the British warriors on the battlefield. Her husband did not gather enough courage to challenge the British, so he gave out his throne. The British sent him in exile to Calcutta.
Hazrat Mahal grew up as a brave woman who wanted nothing but to get back the independence of the Awadh kingdom. She took over as the leadership started to plan on retrieving their kingdom from the hands of the British.
Hazrat stood firm and determined to defeat the British administration. Begum Hazrat mobilized the rural people into fighting the British, and through this, she portrayed her courage and amazing leadership skills.
Under her supervision and guidance, the forces seized the throne back, and she then put her then 14-year son on the throne. Records show that Hazrat and her forces retrieved this throne on the 15th of July 1857.
The Struggle for Freedom and Exile life
With the help of the citizens of Awadh, she had the option to recover the lost region of Awadh from the British colony.
Later in the same year, 1857, when India’s first battle for freedom broke out, people rebelled against the British; she arose as one of the noticeable forerunners in the conflict.
Later, the British colony defeated her forces and seized back the throne. Retreating in battles was never an option for her. However, this time circumstances forced her to retreat.
When the British defeated her forces, she fled away and settled in other places but still remained focused and kept preparing other troops to attack the British government. This time, things went astray from her plan and expectations.
After dwelling for a short period in Terai, she lost a large portion of her followers by 1859 and had to move to Nepal.
It took a while for her to be legalized to stay permanently in Nepal. She used her property and riches to support the 100,000 exiles of 1857 who had ventured out with her to Nepal.
Later, the British offered a powerful annuity to get back to her realm and work under the organization; however, she declined the deal.
Notwithstanding requests of the British government requesting her handover to confront preliminary, she sought permission to stay in Nepal permanently and so they granted her request.
Foundation of her opposition
The contention that prompted Hazrat Mahal’s opposition was a progression of similar struggles occurring across India between the Indian states from one perspective and the British East India Company.
When Hazrat Mahal conceived her first male child, around 1845, the territory of Oudh had been, for all intents and purposes, autonomous from the Moghul Emperor in Delhi for almost 100 years.
By the 1850s, the greater part of the states that made up the previous realm offered just empty talk to Bahadur Shah Zafar, the nominal Moghul Emperor.
The East India Company supported these states as they continued looking for freedom for the sake of benefit.
By offering individual rulers arms and the utilization of its free armed force, the Company won exchanging concessions from the neighborhood rulers.
It likewise urged them to venture into the red and, when the rulers demonstrated incapable of paying, constrained new concessions from them or even seized their territories.
Wajid Ali Shah, Hazrat Mahal’s better half, confronted a comparable circumstance in 1856. He had ventured into the red toward the East India Company, and his organization was demonstrating too degraded even to consider dealing with his obligations.
Generally, the option to gather charges in Oudh was offered to the most noteworthy bidder, typically one of few significant men. This charge gatherer then, at that point, pressed the most cash conceivable from the citizens to make money on his venture.
By and large, the duty authority likewise kept a piece of the cash because of the public authority and slipped pay-offs to government authorities to cover their tracks.
Interesting facts about Begum Hazrat Mahal
She was the First Indian Female Freedom Fighter
First of all, she was and remained the first woman freedom fighter in India. She fought bravely and guided forces into fighting the British rule in 1957. This war was to retrieve back the annexed throne of Awadhi Kingdom.
She rebelled against the British government without fear. When the British forced her husband to leave the throne, she advised him to fight back the British colony, but he didn’t do it.
She became the leader of the Awadhi Kingdom
Hazrat assumed the position of the ruler of the Awadhi empire when the British sent her husband to exile. She ruled diligently and constantly fought for the kingdom and her people.
Only a few women in ancient India have been mentioned to have ascended the positions of a ruler. She was truly one of a kind.
Even though she was a woman who was able to rule and guide the people of Awadh kingdom into fighting for their freedom, this is very unlike women, but she did it. During the battles, she played the role of a strategist, and at the same time, she fought in the battlefield.
Never Gave-up with Life
When her parents sold her, she didn’t give up on life. Everyone expected her to be weak and vulnerable at her age. However, she portrayed a different kind of reaction. She accepted the situation and managed to survive the harsh life.
After escaping to Nepal, she never gave up on the throne. She kept on training other forces to attack the British colonies once again. This was a brave act. However, she never got the chance to attack the British again.
Despite being born in a very humble background, Begum still became successful and one of the most prominent women to ever live in India.
She rose from a concubine to a Queen
Begum Hazrat Mahal was a concubine before she became the king’s wife. When her people sold her to the royal agents, she seduced the king and consequently convinced him to make her his concubine, and later, he made her his second wife.
This was way too brave of her. I mean graduating from a poor enslaved person to a concubine and then a queen. That was impressive.
She died in Exile
Hazrat died while in exile and they buried her just next to Jama Masjid. She aided in the establishment and building of the mosque.
Before she died, the British had appealed to her to return home, but she kept turning the offer. She didn’t want to return to India. They buried her in an unmarked grave and remain unmarked up to date.
Begum Hazrat Mahal Achievements
Begum, just like any other ruler, has several achievements that I am going to list below.
Contributed to the Struggle for Freedom
One of her biggest achievements is fighting for the freedom of her people and the Awadhi Kingdom at large . After her husband surrendered and agreed to let the throne go, she wasn’t comfortable about it.
She, therefore, organized and facilitated the struggle and fight for freedom. Most interestingly, she managed to get back the seized throne and restore the freedom they had been deprived of by the British.
Begum didn’t tolerate or get intimidated by the British. She was so focused on getting back the freedom even after her husband gave up on the throne.
Hazrat showed a lot of concern and love for her people and the Awadhi kingdom at large. She managed to keep up with the fight against the British even without any income or support from anyone.
Helped build a Mosque while in Exile
She helped in the building of the Jama Masjid mosque. By the time they laid the mosque’s foundations, Begum Hazrat Mahal was still in exile.
Begum named the mosque. This time she seemed unconcerned about getting back to India. Therefore, she helped in the building of the mosque.
She became the Queen of the Awadhi kingdom
Because she came from a poor background, it is unexpected that she could become the wife of a king. However, Begum never let that intimidate her. She wanted to become prominent and influential, so she kept pushing for it until it came her way. She died a hero.
When she was in exile, some of her followers had accompanied her there. There came a time when things became too hard for them.
They lived as refugees, and so they needed a lot of support. Begum Hazrat Mahal decided to use her wealth to support and keep her followers safe and comfortable.