Go to content Go to menu

Begum Hazrat Mahal


Begum Hazrat Mahal, the Begaum of Oudh. She took active part in the defence of Lucknow against the British. Although, she was queen and used to a life of luxury, she appeared on the battle-field herself to encourage her troops. Begam Hazrat Mahal held out against the British with all her strength as long as she could. Ultimately she had to give up and take refuge in Nepal.

Begum Hazrat Mahal was the wife of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah. Begum Hazrat Mahal was endowed with great physical charm and grace as well as organizational skills. After, her husband was exiled to Calcutta, she took charge of the affairs of the state of Awadh, which then was a large part of the current state of Uttar Pradesh, India.

During India’s First War of independence (1857-58), she led a band of her supporters against the British, and was even able to seize the control of Lucknow. She declared her son Birjis Qadra as the king of Awadh. She is believed to have worked in close association with other leaders of the India’s First War of Independence, including Nana Sahib. When the forces under the command of the British re-captured Lucknow and most part of the Awadh, she was forced to retreat. She turned down all offers of amnesty and allowances by the British rulers. Ultimately, she had to retreat to Nepal, where she was offered asylum by the Rana prime minister Jung Bahadur. She died there in 1879 and was buried in a nameless grave on the grounds of Kathmandu's Jama Masjid.

Government of India issued a commemorative stamp in the honour of Begum Hazrat Mahal on 10th May 1984