The Forgotten Women of 1857

Not just Begum Hazrat Mahal and Rani Lakshmibai but dozens of women participated in active fighting against the British. Their stories are largely unrecorded.

Azizun bai. Credit Wikimedia Commons

History of Azizun Bai

Azizun Bai left an excellent impact upon Indian History. Her story has inspired many ladies around the world and taught women to be fearless, no matter what true is. The role that Azizun Bai took up is one in every one of those roles that have changed the course of history.

This is the account of a girl who was involved in the fight for independence in India. Azizun Bai was a hustler in Kanpur back in 1857. The explanation of why her story is so interesting is because she was one among the few people previously to settle on to fight back.

Azizun Bai was born in 1832 to a hustler. Her mother died when she was very young. She resided in the Lurkee Mahil, under the roof of Umrai Begum in Kanpur. Azizun Bai participated in battles, dressed as a person and rode on horseback with the soldiers, armed with a brace of pistols. Nana Sahib is claimed to possess inspired her some time past. She was a frontrunner amongst the ladies and guided them in fighting for themselves. Azizun Bai and her group of girls took care of the wounded soldiers and treated to them. Her house was shelter to other freedom fighters and also a secure place for them to stay their weapons. She stood by the soliders during the time of beleaguerment, whom she befriended. She always carried guns or any kind of weapon to stay here and therefore the others safe.

Her headquarters started firing shots at country, right from the primary day of the battle and assisted Nana Sahib in achieving victory against British in Kanpur and was a part of the procession the day the flag was raised in Kanpur to celebrate the initial victory of Nana Sahib. She was later taken hostage as one of the leaders of the riot, and upon being asked to confess to her crimes; she rejected the offer to be released and chose persecution over slavery instead.

But perhaps one of the most fascinating stories is that of the courtesan Azizun Bai of Kanpur. Kanpur saw fierce battles between the forces of Nana Sahib and Tatya Tope against the British.

Tere yalghar mein tameer thi takhrib na thi

Tere isar mein targheeb thi taadeeb na thi

Your war cry was one of construction, not destruction

Your sacrifice was to inspire, not admonish

– Makhmoor Jallundhar

Colonial and Indian historians have mentioned Azizun’s role during the battles of Kanpur. She had personally nothing to gain and no personal grudges, unlike many of the other women who had joined in the uprising. She was simply inspired by Nana Sahib. Rana Safvi.