Begum Hazrat Mahal – Freedom Fighter of India
Born in the year 1820, Begum Hazrat Mahal, popularly known as the Begum of Awadh was Nawab Wajid Ali Shah’s first wife, who went on to be a prominent entity in the Indian Rebellion of 1857, as she strongly opposed the governance of the East India Company.
A strong lady, she took control over her dynasty in Awadh and started having control and ruling Lucknow when her husband was exiled into the city of Calcutta (presently Kolkata). A courtesan by her profession, she became a part of the royal harem at Awadh and gradually became a royal concubine. The title of “Hazrat Begum” was rewarded to her after she gave birth to the royal heir, Birjis Qadra.
During the 1857 rebellion, she revolted with determination, protesting against the British people demolishing Hindu temples and Mosques to pave way for the construction of new roads and other infrastructure. The last years of her life, she spent at an asylum in Nepal.
She passed away on the 7th of April, in the year 1879, at an age of 59 years.