Calcutta, Aug 20: The 150th birth anniversary of Prince Birjis Qadr, eldest son of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah and the last king of Awadh, was celebrated on Sunday at the Nawab of Awadh Mausoleum and Imambara at Garden Reach by the Varanasi based All India Bahadur Shah Zafar Academy.
Inaugurating the function, Arunachal Pradesh governor Mata Prasad said the ideals of Birjis Qadr will continue to inspire to maintain communal harmony and keep alive the spirit of tolerance. Recounting the history of the Nawabs of Awadh till 1857. Mr Prasad said the need to respect other religions is greater now than it was ever before.
Describing Begum Hazrat Mahal, mother of Birjis Qadr and regent as the Muslim equivalent of Rani Laxmai Bai, the governor said religious discrimination was absent at the time of the 1857 struggle. During the War, the entire country rose unitedly against the British.
Mr. M. Vardarajan, formerly of the Indian Administrative Service and member, National Commission for Minorities, called for recognizing each religion as a path to truth. He said when the entire fabric of the community and nation was being tested there was an even greater need for compassion towards other religions and beliefs.
Mr. Anjum Quder, scion of the royal family and president of the Bahadur Shah Zafar Academy said "Begum Hazrat Mahal and Prince Birjis Qadr belong to the entire nation and not to any particular family." He said the valour and courage displayed by the teenaged Nawab in the fight against the British in 1857-58 exonerated the Awadh family of the stigma of cowardice associated with it.
Prince Birjis Qadr was crowned by the Awadh rebel army in July 1857 at the age of 14. He ruled till March 1858 when he was defeated by the British and along with his Queen mother retreated to Nepal and took political asylum. He died in 1893 and his body is interred at the mausoleum of his father at Garden Reach.