Kathmandu, April 18
A wreath laying ceremony was held to commemorate the death of Begum Hazrat Mahal, who rebelled against the British rule in India, at her tomb in the courtyard of Jame Masjid here today.
Begum Hazrat Mahal of Awadh (now Uttar Pradesh) is noted in history as a queen who herself participated in the war against colonial British East India Company and later started underground Indian Rebellion of 1857. Begum, however, had to take refuge in Nepal after her husband was exiled to Calcutta and her son was dethroned. She later died in Kathmandu and was buried in the courtyard of Jame Masjid.
The wreath laying ceremony was held by the Embassy of India and Nepal Bharat Millat Council to mark her 139th death anniversary. This is the sixth time the wreath laying ceremony was held at her tomb, which had remained anonymous previously.
Indian Ambassador Manjeev Singh Puri after laying the wreath at the tomb talked about the support from Nepal during India’s independence movement. “Begum Mahal is one of the many figures who had tightened the knot of friendship between the two countries from the time of Ishwor and Allah. The relations of gods now have broadened into a relationship of economies, politics, culture, cricket and even entertainment,” said Puri.
Similarly, president of NBMC Samim Ansari talked about the long history of Muslim community in the country and the role it played to strengthen Nepal-India relations.
Begum Mahal was provided asylum by the then prime minister Jung Bahadur Rana in Kathmandu in 1859. It is believed that Rana was given a huge amount of jewellery by the Begum and her son, in exchange for which the former had given her Thapathali palace. A few years later, while her son chose to go back to his father in Calcutta after Queen Elizabeth granted amnesty to the family, Begam Mahal chose to stay here and died after 30 years in 1879.
A version of this article appears in print on April 19, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.