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‘Begum Hazrat Mahal’: Fictional saga highlights story of unsung warrior queen

New Delhi, May 31 (PTI) A new novel, “Begum Hazrat Mahal: Warrior Queen of Awadh”, celebrates the historic journey of one of the unsung heroines of the First War of Indian Independence.

The fictional saga, based on actual events, is written by Malathi Ramachandran and published by Niyogi. It takes readers within the walls of the residency where love and passion rage alongside the battle, and into the world of Begum Hazrat.

Muhammadi Khanum — later known as Begum Hazrat Mahal — was the second wife of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah of Awadh. She fiercely fought the British East India Company during the First Indian War of Independence in 1857, with the help of her commander Raja Jailal Singh.

Depicting the dramatic events leading up to the uprising of 1857 and the role of Begum Hazrat Mahal as she fought to defend her state and its throne for her young son Birjis Qadr, Ramachandran recreates an episode from the First War of Independence in a dramatic fashion.

“I chose to write this novel with Hazrat Mahal as the protagonist because she is a hidden gem from India’s history. While we have all heard about how the sepoys rose against the British in 1857 in Lucknow and other parts of Awadh, the part of the Nawab’s begum, Hazrat Mahal, is little known,” the author said in a statement.

When Begum Hazrat Mahal’s forces regained power of Lucknow for a brief stint, her son Brijis Qadr was declared the ruler of Awadh. However, after the forces under the command of the British re-captured Lucknow and most of Awadh, she was forced to retreat.

Later, she took refuge in Kathmandu along with her 10-year-old son and other loyal supporters. She died in April, 1879 during her refuge in Nepal.

“Beautiful and courageous, Hazrat Mahal plays a pivotal role in gathering a rebel army and holding the British to siege within the walls of the Residency. While the story is built on a framework of historical facts, I have woven a tapestry of relationships, emotions and passions to bring alive a vibrant chapter of Indian history,” explained Ramachandran, whose previous novels in the genre of historical fiction include “The Legend of Kuldhara” (2017) and “Mandu” (2020).

According to the publishers, what makes this historical fiction about the siege of Lucknow truly special is its fiery protagonist.

“As a woman, I can instinctively relate to and sympathise with the trials and tribulations of a female historical character who made her mark in a time and space dominated by men,” said Trisha De Niyogi, director and COO of Niyogi Books.

The book, priced at Rs 595, is currently available for purchase across offline and online stores. PTI MG RB RB

This report is auto-generated from PTI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.

Source: The Print

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