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.

Fighting against hunger, THESE 5 NGOs are a silver lining for the needy in Lucknow!

This World Food Day, get to know about these 5 NGOs fighting against hunger in Lucknow

There is an abundance of food-delivery apps in the market today that have managed to reduce the gap between your homes and restaurants. However, there is no such modern solution to bridge the long-prevailing gap between a one-time meal and the underprivileged. No matter how developed any city in India is today, the issue of hunger is a prominent one everywhere, and Lucknow is no exception.

But keeping intact our faith in humanity, are certain groups and individuals who're working round the clock to ensure that each day, the number of people going to sleep hungry, reduces significantly. This World Food Day, get to know about 5 NGOs working towards this cause and provide them with your support however you can. A little help goes a long way!

Akshaya Patra Foundation

The Akshaya Patra Foundation is a non-profit organisation spread across India that operates a school lunch programme (Mid-Day meal). Established in the year 2000, the aim of this organisation is to counter classroom hunger and aid in the education of children. Reportedly, it feeds more than 18 lakh children every day, across the country. With its presence in several cities including Lucknow, the Akshaya Patra Foundation also worked to distribute food among the migrant workers during the COVID crisis last year. Donate to this noble cause by clicking on the website link attached below.

Contact: 097924 48359

Website: The Akshaya Patra Foundation

The Robin Hood Army

The Robin Hood Army is a volunteer-based organisation that was established in 2014 by Neel Ghose and Arushi Batra. This establishment works to get surplus food from restaurants and the community, to serve less fortunate people. The idea behind the conception of this NGO is to create self-sustained chapters across the world, that will look after its local community. Like all the other chapters, Lucknow Chapter of this volunteer-based organisation conducts various drives across the city. If you wish to become a part of this group log on to their official website now!

Contact: Send a mail on

Website: The Robin Hood Army

Roti Bank

Roti Bank is a citizen led organisation who's primary aim is to provide food to the needy. To attain this goal, Roti Bank has a team spread across the country including a bunch in Lucknow that is purely dedicated to the cause. Roti bank collects left-over and excess food from homes and events and distributes it among the needy. One can donate in cash or kind or even volunteer to become a part of this thoughtful initiative. Click on the website link to know more about this organisation.

Contact: 7905881802

Website: Roti bank Lucknow

Vijay Sri Foundation

Vijay Sri Foundation is a non-government organization, that was launched in the year 2009 in Lucknow. The main objective of this organisation was the distribution of food to the needy poor in hospitals. Initially, home-cooked food packets were distributed among attendants of poor patients admitted in various wards of Lucknow's King George Medical College. Gradually, the operations grew to other hospitals in the city as well. Currently, around 900 patients are served food everyday, under its "Prasadam Sewa" campaign. To join their team or contribute monetarily, log on to their official website.

Contact: 099358 88887

Website: Prasadam Sewa

Feeding India

Found in the year 2014, Feeding India was formed to solve the complex challenges of food wastage, malnutrition and hunger in India. As a part of its Corporate Social Responsibility, Zomato acquired this organisation in 2019 to deal with these issues. With its presence in Lucknow, Feeding India by Zomato designs interventions to decrease hunger among the communities that are underserved. If you wish to donate or know more about this organisation check out their official website.

Contact: Write to them here

Website: Feeding India

Knock Knock

Even though these organisations are working hard to improve the situation, it is upon all of us to make sure that we don't waste food and do whatever we can to help and feed the poor. To fight and beat the global problem of hunger, a collective effort is a must!

Students below the age of 18 allowed to travel in Mumbai local trains

Reportedly, all services accessible for fully-vaccinated citizens are now allowed to those under 18 & to those who can't take the jab due to medical reasons.

Ushering in relief for students, the Government of Maharashtra has decided to let students under the age of 18 avail of various services in the state. As per the order issued on Thursday, students that are not eligible for vaccination will now be allowed to travel on the local trains. Apart from this, access to other facilities like entry into malls, multiplexes, temples (in certain districts), auditoriums, restaurants and wedding halls have also been granted to those who cannot take the COVID-19 vaccine yet.

Keep reading... Show less

41 districts in Uttar Pradesh declared COVID free

Reportedly, none of the 75 districts of Uttar Pradesh have recorded daily COVID cases in double-digits, lately

UP seems to be on a path to recovery, with 41 districts reported as COVID-free. Reportedly, none of the 75 districts in the state have recorded daily COVID cases in double-digits lately, suggesting a downward trajectory of this viral disease in the state. Owing to proactive initiatives like the aggressive 'Trace, Test & Treat', the state's positivity rate has dropped down to 0% in the last week, as per the official data.

Keep reading... Show less

Industries in UP to use Japanese Miyawaki method of afforestation to offset carbon emissions

Reportedly, strict action will be taken against those who fail to comply with this order.

In a bid to reduce the carbon footprint in the state and counterbalance the industrial carbon emissions, the government of Uttar Pradesh has directed all the industries present across the state, to adopt the Japanese Miyawaki afforestation technique. As per the order issued on Wednesday, strict action will be taken against those who fail to comply with the order including revoking of industry's license to operate.

Keep reading... Show less

​Launch of the Mumbai flight from new Sindhudurg Airport paves way for rapid development!

Now, the beaches of Ganapatipule are just 85 minutes from Mumbai.

The launch of the Sindhudurg Airport and a flight service from Mumbai, is a milestone development that has brought the two cities closer to each other. Launched as the maiden service under the RCS-UDAN scheme, the flight will be operated by Alliance Air company, read reports. The 72-seater flight covers the 530-KM distance between the two cities in just 85 minutes.

Keep reading... Show less

NITI Aayog hails Indore as the benchmark model for plastic waste management in India

NITI Aayog has issued a 'Sustainable Urban Plastic Waste Management' to amplify city-level garbage management.

Known as the cleanest city in India, Indore has now been hailed as the benchmark model for plastic waste management in the country by the NITI Aayog. As per reports, the city's innovative garbage management concept not only reduces plastic waste but also recycles it for construction projects, promoting the ideas of sustainable development among 2 million people. The module also favours the set up of economical ways to tackle waste management and to ensure an independent system to run its activities.

Keep reading... Show less

Head to the Khadi Exhibition happening in Charbagh & shop from a wide variety of swadeshi items!

Last day to get your hands on some home-grown products at affordable rates!

In order to promote the use and sale of swadeshi, the Khadi Gram Udyog Committee has set up an exclusive Khadi exhibition in Lucknow. Being hosted at the Bal Sangrahalay in Charbagh, this expo showcases a range of Khadi products, including clothes, shoes, purses and much more. Today is the last day of the exhibition, so if you haven't visited it yet, make sure you do now!

Keep reading... Show less

Most Read