Embassy of India, Kathmandu, Nepal

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Begum Hazarat Mahal

Having lived in Nepal in exile for 20 years, Begum Hazarat Mahal breathed her last in Nepal in April, 1879. Her tomb lies at the central part of Kathmandu in the Jame Masjid.

Begum Hazrat Mahal was one of the earliest female freedom fighters during the First War of Independence of India. She was the first wife of Nawab Wajid Shah and possessed the courage and leadership to rebel against the British East India Company during the first war of 1857. After the British annexed their territory and the King of Awadh, Nawab Wajid Ali Shah was sent away in exile to Calcutta, she took the responsibility of managing the affairs of the state in her own hands. She played a pivotal role in the war and fought the British forces along with other revolutionaries. But the British troops attacked Awadh again and after a long siege were able to re-capture it, forcing her to retreat. She refused to accept any kind of favors and allowances offered by the British rulers. Finally she sought asylum in Nepal, where she died in 1879. She was among major leaders never to surrender to the British, and she maintained her opposition through twenty years of exile in Nepal until her death.

To commemorate Begum Hazrat Mahal’s death anniversary, Ambassador of India to Nepal lays a wreath at her tomb at Jame Masjid in Kathmandu in April every year. Embassy organsises a wreath-laying ceremony at the occasion, which is attended by friends from the Muslim community. On 7th April, 2016, Ambassador Sri Ranjit Rae laid wreath at Begum Hazrat Mahal’s tomb and recounted her courageous contributions to the freedom struggle of India.