Knocksense: A local content and recommendations platform

Know about THESE 4 Begums of Awadh who have shaped today's Lucknow!

Stories related to the bygone era, are incomplete without the mention of the begums of Awadh.

The story of Awadh is culturally and artistically diverse but it also tells us a sad tale of devastation, loot and plunder. Though remarkably extraordinary, the kingdoms of Awadhi rulers were destroyed most tragically, after reaching their zeniths. But such stories related to the bygone era, are incomplete without the mention of the begums, who did remarkable things during the nawabi period. So we have collated the stories of four prominent Awadhi women and if you have a soft spot for history, read on!


The Begums of Awadh Vs British East India Company

Nawab Begum, the wife of Nawab Safdurjung

Nawab Saadat Ali Khan's daughter and the widow of Nawab Safdurjung, Amat Jahan, popularly known as Nawab Begum, inherited a fortune of about 90 lakhs in 1739. Along with being the richest woman of her time, she was a great philanthropist and a patron of art, which led her to create a maqbara called Moti Masjid. Being politically aware, she instilled the desire of fighting against the British East India Company in her son, Nawab Shuja-ud-Daula.

Janab-e-Alia, popularly known as Banu Begum 

Being politically sharp-witted like her mother-in-law, Banu Begum mortgaged her possessions and raised 40 lakhs after the Nawab lost in the Battle of 1764, since the Awadh treasury was bankrupt. Nawab Shuja-ud-Daula was so impressed with his wife's financial acumen, that on his death he left his entire wealth to her. A tomb was constructed in the 18th century, to commemorate her victories near Aliganj, which has been converted into a Hanuman Temple.

In 1775, after the death of Shuja-ud-Daula, his son, Asaf-ud-Daula, became the Nawab but he inherited an empty treasury and the legacy of two wealthy domineering women, which made him move away from Faizabad. As his first act as a nawab, he declared Lucknow to be the nawabi court, steering clear of his influential mother and grandmother.

Since the Nawab was indebted to the British, he executed a clever plan to remove both the ladies from their position of power and helped Warren Hastings, a British official, to capture the fort of Faizabad. Imprisoned and tortured by the British troops, Bahu Begum succumbed to the cruelty and died in 1815.

After that, Lucknow became the nawabi city and Faizabad lost its light. This gruesome act of the Nawab and Warren Hastings infuriated even the British community in India, and led the mother and wife of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah to be a prominent part of the revolt of 1857.

Malika Kishwar, mother of the last Nawab of Awadh

In 1856, the British East India Company annexed Awadh under the Doctrine of Lapse, on the pretext of maladministration, which made Nawab Wajid Ali Shah leave for London, to put up a plea in front of the Queen for his kingdom. He was humiliated and captured in Calcutta on his return, which made his mother, Malika Kishwar (also known as 'Rajmata') leave for London to plead the release of her son. She demanded to make a case for the injustice levered on her son and her family's heritage and kingdom, in front of the British parliament but they dismissed her petition.

The Mutiny of 1857 made matters worse and the vengeful British were now unwilling to restore the kingdom back to her son, under any circumstance. They refused to release her son and a disheartened Malika started her return journey but due to the coldness in the weather, she fell gravely ill and breathed her last in Paris.

Begum Hazrat Mahal, the wife of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah

Begum Hazrat Mahal's maiden name was Muhammadi Khanum and she was known as THE Begum of Awadh, majorly due to her phenomenal success after the Revolt of 1857. Despite her unconditional love for her husband, she disliked the fact that he gave up his kingdom without a real fight.

After the British lost temporarily in the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857, Begum's son Birjis Qadar, was chosen to be a leader but as he was barely 11 years old, Hazrat Mahal became the regent. The taluqdars, who had expected her to be a mere figurehead following instructions, were appalled to see a strong-willed woman with a mind of her own.

She showed extraordinary administrative abilities and soon reorganized her army and the women regiment, along with Uda Devi, under the leadership of military commander Raja Jailal Singh. Both the regiments showed extreme valour in the battle but could not defeat the British, due to which, Begum Hazrat had to flee to Nepal to find asylum.

She died in 1879 and was buried in a nameless grave, on the grounds of Kathmandu's Jama Masjid. Later, to commemorate her victories, Begum Hazrat Mahal Park at Lucknow's Qaiser Bagh, was constructed.

Knock Knock


These four iconic queens, Nawab Begum, Banu Begum, Mallika Kishwar and Begum Hazrat Mahal, proved that the women of Awadh are not just embodiments of grace and sophistication but they also epitomize courage, honour and strong leadership. So if you are aware of any other Begum of Lucknow who portrayed such heroism, then please add to the comments and we will do our due research.

Campaign launched in Goa to conduct free breast cancer screening for 1 lakh women

The breast cancer screening will be organised at 35 Health Centres across the state

The YouWeCan Foundation by former cricketer Yuvraj Singh has launched a free breast cancer screening campaign for one lakh women in Goa, in partnership with the state government and SBI Foundation. Known as 'Swasth Mahila, Swasth Goa', this campaign was launched at the Goa Medical College and Hospital today. Through this drive, the administration aims to screen at least 50% of the age-eligible female population of the state.

Keep reading... Show less

Internet services suspended in parts of Rajasthan, including Jaipur!

The restriction has been imposed to prevent malpractice in the RPSC RAS Preliminary exam, scheduled for today.

On account of the RPSC RAS Preliminary exams scheduled today, the Rajasthan Government has suspended mobile internet, bulk SMS and social media services in certain parts of the state. These services will remain suspended from 9 AM to 1 PM in the Jaipur Commissonerate Area. Apart from Jaipur, the restrictions will also be active in the Ajmer, Bhilwara and Nagaur districts from 6 AM to 1:30 PM, and in Bharatpur, Dholpur, Karauli and Sawai Madhopur districts from 8 AM to 1 PM.


Keep reading... Show less

All Mumbai local services to return to tracks from October 28

While 100% of services are being resumed, public access to the suburban local trains is still restricted.

In a bid to streamline and regulate the increased passenger load in local trains, the Central and Western Railways have decided to resume 100% suburban services in the Mumbai division, starting October 28. Notably, the Railways have clarified that though all services are being restored, the existing travel restrictions for the general public will continue. Only those recognised and allowed by the government and Ministry of Railways are permitted to travel in the local trains, in accordance with the established standard operating procedures (SOP).

Keep reading... Show less

Kickstart your festivities with Motichoor Laddoos & Kaju Katlis from Ritzz Mithai Vatika in Lucknow

This festive season, Ritzz is offering various attractive and luxurious hampers and mixed mithai boxes!

Apart from being the festival of lights, family and togetherness, Diwali is also a free pass to devour as many of your favourite sweets as you want! And when it comes to the good ol' Motichoor Laddoos and Kaju Katlis, there are only a few places in Lucknow, that we can trust! Keeping intact our festive sentiments and love for sweets, Ritzz Mithai Vatika has been serving us with its unmatched and unchanged quality and taste for years now. And once again, it's that time of the year when we can indulge in our favourite delicacies from this place, guilt-free!

Keep reading... Show less

Diwali is around the corner and one cannot talk of the festivities without thinking about the sweet delights that come along. Be it a gifting option or one to indulge in, we're always looking for those delish treats, wrapped in new flavours to add sweetness to our happy celebrations! And when you've got Lucknow's most iconic dessert connoisseurs curating it all, with a heavy garnish of love and warmth, you sure are in for a lit festival this year.

Keep reading... Show less

The 16th National Aerobics, Fitness and Hip Hop Championships are all set to take place in Lucknow from 14-16th of January. The championships will be hosted at the KD Singh Babu Stadium. To promote the sport in the state, a new executive committee for the Uttar Pradesh Aerobics Association has also been formed. The UP Aerobics Association has been given the permission to host the event after receiving recognition from the UP Olympic Association.

Keep reading... Show less

7 new COVID-19 cases of Delta sublineage AY.4 plague Indore

COVID cases have surged by 46% in Indore

Amid the overall pandemic dip, a new subvariant of the COVID-19 Delta mutation threatens to spill new infections and troubles, especially for the people of Indore. As per a genome sequencing report of the National Centre of Disease Control (NCDC), around 7 cases of AY.4 - a sublineage of the Delta variant- have been detected in the district. Notably, the new mutation is presently a 'variant of interest' and not much is known about its transmissibility, virulence and overall severity.

Keep reading... Show less

Most Read

Headlines

Lucknow

Kanpur

Trending

Jaipur

Indore

Goa

Mumbai