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The Royal Insignia - Wajid Ali Shah period


Reproduced from the Family Souvenir ......


Queen Regent

Nawab Hazrat Mahal Saheba


"Hazrat Mahal, first wife of the deposed King of Oudh, was a lady of outstanding ability and played a leading role in the struggle for independence. She acted as Regent for her minor son, Birjis Qadr, whom she declared as the successor of his father. She actively participated in the defence of Lucknow and was often seen moving among her troops. When Oudh was reconquered by the English she sought asylum in Nepal and refused to renounce the claims of her son."

published by the Publications Division,
Ministry of Information & Broadcasting,
Government of India, New Delhi.


"The Begums of Oudh have left an abiding mark on Indian history. Two of the earliest of them, namely, Nawab Begum Sadr-un-nisa - the imperious daughter of one Nawab, wife of another and mother of a third - and Bahu Begum, the petted foster-child of an Emperor of Delhi, ended their days as the heroines of a tragic story. Towards the close of the dynasty came Padishah Begum, the spirited wife of Ghazi-ud-din Haider, and Hazrat Mahal, the Judith of the Sepoy Mutiny, the even more heroic consort of the still softer Wajid Ali Shah."

- "Sir Jadunath Sarkar",
June 15, 1938,
on Persian Manuscript No. 167B35,
National Library, Calcutta.


"She was a woman of great energy and ability. She has excited all Oude to take up the interests of her son, and the chiefs have sworn to be faithful to him...The Begum declares undying war against us; and in the circumstances of the annexation of the kingdom, the concealment of the suppression of the treaty, the apparent ingratitude to the family for money lent, and aid given at most critical times, has many grounds for her indignant rhetoric."

- Sir W. H. Russel,
"My diary in India in the year 1858-59",
London, 1860


'On 6th August 1857 the besiegers exultingly announced to their enemies the coronation of their king….Begam Hazrat Mahal, the mother of the minor wali, exercised all authority on his behalf...

The Queen Regent herself once appeared on the battle-field to encourage her troops... They had fought with desperate courage, and 860 of the defenders lay dead in the Central Court alone when Begum Kothi was stormed. The queen mother herself never lost heart and moved among her men with a spirit that deserved better success. But nothing availed, and on the 18th March 1858 all the strong points in the city were in British hands. A powerful rebel force, probably inspired by the Begam, held Musabagh till the 19th. The Maulavi more resolute than the rest, was not dislodged till the 22nd. Thus fell Lucknow but Oudh still remained to be conquered. The captive ladies told Russel that their men would yet win...The leaders of the revolt, the Maulavi and the Begam, had safely effected escape. The Maulavi, however, did not retire without a fight. He had been in the meantime reinforced by Shahzada Firuz Shah and the Begam Hazrat Mahal …….

on 1st November 1858 Queen Victoria's Proclamation was read at a magnificent Darbar at Allahabad….. The Proclamation did not prove an unqualified success. Its sincerity was challenged by another queen, Begam Hazrat Mahal of Oudh. She at once issued a counter-proclamation in the name of her son: 'If our people were discontent with our Royal predecessor Wajid Ali Shah, how come they are content with us? and no ruler ever experienced such loyalty and devotion of life and goods as we have done!'

Begam Hazrat Mahal of Oudh also preferred to stay with her son and a small retinue in the country of the Gurkhas. She was promised a suitable pension independently of the allowance granted to her husband the ex-King of Oudh. She was assured of all honours befitting her rank. But she could not be induced to come back to India. Having lost the war, the Begam declined to tacitly renounce the rights of her son by accepting a British pension. She was a better 'man' than her husband and lord."

Prof. S. N. Sen. "Eighteen-fifty Seven"
Published by the Ministry of
Information and Broadcasting
Government of India


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