Print Edition - 2017-04-06  |  Life & Style

Nepal: begum mahal’s second Home

- Press Trust of India, Kathmandu

Apr 6, 2017-

A documentary that depicts the last queen of Awadh, Begum Hazrat Mahal’s contributions to the First War of Independence and her resistance to the British, will be screened in Kathmandu, where the warrior queen lived in exile for 20 years until her death 138 years ago.

The family has been formally invited by the Indian Embassy in Nepal to pay tributes and also to screen the documentary on April 7 on the occasion of her 138th death anniversary, Manzilat Fatima, the great-great-granddaughter of Hazrat Mahal, said.

Begum, one of the younger queens of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, was a freedom fighter who made major contributions to the 1857 War of Independence but is not celebrated in the same way as Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi.

The 26-minute Hindi documentary titled Begum Hazrat Mahal The Last Queen of Avadh (The first woman revolutionary of India’s War of Independence) and made by filmmaker Mohiuddin Mirza, has been produced by Films Division and Fatima was keen to screen it for awareness.

“The film was made a few years back and it was kept in cold storage. I realised some awareness must be created among the people and especially the youth... there are freedom fighters who are not remembered,” Fatima said.

Hazrat Mahal took active part in the defence of Lucknow against the British, according to the book Freedom Fighters of India edited by MG Agrawal.

Simmi Jain in the Encyclopedia of Indian Women Through The Ages (period of freedom struggle) notes that Hazrat Mahal had challenged the British monarch, Queen Victoria, by issuing a counter-proclamation against her.

She held out against the British with all her strength as long as she could.

Ultimately, she escaped to Nepal with her son and a clutch of followers under adverse circumstances in 1859.

The book says the Nepali authorities were initially reluctant to provide asylum to the rebels. She faced many difficulties in the country.

She maintained her opposition through 20 years of exile in Nepal, until her death in 1879.

A pearl-adorned and embroidered chadar will be placed on the begum’s grave in Kathmandu by her descendants on April 7, Fatima added.

Published: 06-04-2017 08:37

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