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The woman who led Lucknow to a rebellion, this is the story of Begum Hazrat Mahal!

This is the story of Begum Hazrat Mahal of Awadh, the ambassador of Lucknow's resistance against the English tyranny.

Of the several chapters that history has scripted, this one remains largely overshadowed by the folklores of Rani Laxmi Bai, Mangal Pandey and other such popular protagonists of the Revolt of 1857. This is the story of Begum Hazrat Mahal, a courtesan, a begum and an exceptional leader who became the symbol of Awadh's resistance against the British. Belonging to an age when women were expected to stay in pardah, the course of Begum Hazrat Mahal's destiny has taken a turn, a turn that flipped the British world upside down.

Early life of Begum Hazrat Mahal

Marked by more troubles and twists than your average blockbuster suspense thriller, Begum Hazrat Mahal's life was nothing if not a series of turbulent events. Born into a poor family as Muhammadi Khanum and trained in dance to be only sold later to the Royal Court of the Nawab of Awadh, her life in the palace could be best described as momentous. She started off as a khawasin (maid) before being elevated as the leader of all courtesans, after which she entered into a nikah mut'ah (temporary marriage under contract) with Nawab Wajid Ali Shah.

As recounted by scholars, the Nawab had several mut'ah wives, who were given the status of Begum only after they bore him an heir. Consequently, this is how Muhammadi Khanum was named as Begum Hazrat Mahal, when she gave birth to a son, Bijris Qadir.

Sometime later, the Nawab of Awadh was exiled to Calcutta and Begum Hazrat Mahal along with her 12-year-old son, Bijris Qadir were left behind. Moved to desperation by the British who were armed with the Doctrine of Lapse, Hazrat Mahal throned Qadir as the official heir and took charge of administration and strategy herself. This was not as easy as it sounds - she had to strike a balance between the unreasonable British policies and the domestic scorn from the older queens (other wives of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah), in the backdrop of a surging rebellion of Indian soldiers in the English army at Meerut and Bengal.

A strong leader & an adroit strategist!

Soon Lucknow also became vulnerable to the mutiny as the most bitterly contested constitution in the first war against the British. This was when Hazrat Mahal stood her ground, despite formal orders from Queen Victoria to officially transfer Awadh to the East India Company.

Begum Hazrat Mahal not only issued a counter proclamation refusing to do so but also united the population of Awadh to launch off a 'peasants in uniform' military rebellion in Awadh. Her awe-inspiring words successfully created a harmonized equation and brought all sections of the society to fight the English tyrants.

Her words led to the great uprising of people and the impressions of this are still drilled in the walls of The British Residency in Lucknow. Breaking gender norms and social hierarchy, the Begum proved when life gives you lemons, you squeeze them into the eyes of your enemy.

Tom Junod once said, "You don't have to love cooking to cook, but you have to do more than love baking to bake. You have to bake out of love." And these home bakers of Kanpur are doing exactly the same! If you believe life is too short to say no to calories and cake, read on about these dynamic bakers who are baking deliciousness out of love.

A dessert lover would understand the importance of quality baked goods and if you are one of them, we have compiled a list of some of the best home entrepreneurs in Kanpur:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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​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.

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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.

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