Gharo’n par tabahi padi saher mein, khude mere bazaar, Hazrat Mahal 
Tu hi baais e aisho araam hai garibo’n ki gamkhwaar, Hazrat Mahal 

Abhinav Khare deep dives into the bravery of Begum Hazrat Mahal, who fought the British rulers head-on for the rights of her child. 
By March 1858, almost the whole of India was silenced after the first war of Indian Independence. All the revolting territories were captured and dissenters were either killed or jailed. But there was still a hero who could never be tamed, arrested or captured - she was Begum Hazrat Mahal and this is her heroic, heart-breaking and remarkable story.

Begum’s is a rags to riches story who fought against the tyrannical British rulers. She was a poor girl who became a courtesan, and then a mistress, after being sold off by her parents. She and the then Lucknow ruler Nawab Wajid Ali Shah had a son together and soon after, the Nawab got married in order to legitimize their child.

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Awadh was annexed in February 1856 and the Nawab was pensioned off to Calcutta (or Kolkata) and he left Hazrat Mahal behind. 

Unable to accept this fate, she decided to fight for the rights of her son. She had the support of courtiers and leaders and most importantly, the people.

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She fought the battle of Chinhat in June 30, 1857 in a mango grove where she forced the British to take refuge in the Residency. In the words of William Howard, “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.”

For 10 months she ruled Awadh but then things started working against her. The British came back with twice the force. Her rule in Lucknow fell on March 18, 1858. Though she was offered a pension by the British, she refused it and sought refuge in Nepal where she died.

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Today, let us remember the sacrifice of the queen who decided the fight the British single handed and she did succeed!

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About Abhinav Khare:

Abhinav Khare is the CEO of Asianet News and hosts a daily show Deep Dive with Abhinav Khare.

He is the proud father of two beautiful daughters. He lives in Bengaluru with his loving family and a lifetime collection of books and gadgets. He is a hands-on Tech Startup professional with an entrepreneurial DNA. He is passionate about policy, technology, economy and the synergy of them all. An avid traveller himself, he has already ticked over a 42 countries and hundred cities around the globe!