India recalls Hazrat Mahal’s role in freedom struggle

Kathmandu: India on Thursday said Begum Hazrat Mahal, who had rebelled against British colonial rule in the country in 1857-58, will always be remembered for her contribution in India’s freedom struggle and described her as a “source of inspiration”.

Recalling Begum’s contributions towards the freedom movement of India, India’s Ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae laid a wreath on her tomb to commemorate her 137th death anniversary here.

“We must remember her with great honour as she has been a source of inspiration for us all,” Rae said.

Begum of Awadh and the first wife of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, who was one of the heroes of freedom struggle of 1857, died on April 7, 1879 during her refuge in Nepal.

Noting that Mahal was one of the freedom fighters of the first freedom movement of India, Rae said she had always been remembered for her contributions in India’s freedom struggle.

He also offered to provide necessary assistance to protect and preserve one and a half century old Hazrat Mahal tomb located in the heart of Kathmandu.

“Hazrat Mahal has been a symbol of age old tie between Nepal and India,” Rae said.

Begum fiercely fought the British East India Company during the Indian Mutiny of 1857-58, with the help of her commander Raja Jailal Singh. When her forces regained power of Lucknow for a brief stint, her son Brijis Qadra was declared ruler of Awadh.

When the forces under the command of the British re-captured Lucknow and most of Awadh, she was forced to retreat. She then took refuge in Kathmandu along with 10-year-old Qadr and some other loyal supporters.

Begum’s rebellion was ignited by the demolition of temples and mosques by the East India Company to make way for roads.

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