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Reclaiming the Lost Queen: Begum Hazrat Mahal as a Subaltern


Khushi Khandelwal


By its very nature of representation, documenting history has been an exclusionist and gendered enterprise. It includes erasure, silences, selectivity, and homogeneity as certain voices are engulfed and strangulated while few projections create the hegemonic discourse. The tawaifs were an integral part of the Indian freedom struggles. They were highly intellectual patrons of art, known for their manners or nazaqat, and played a significant role in India’s pre-independent social and cultural life. Tawaifs such as Azizun Nissa and Begum Hazrat Mahal, contemporaries of Rani Lakshmibai, played a pivotal role in the 1857 Revolt. Still, because of their professional identity, their political contributions are rarely mentioned in history.
This paper studies Kenize Mourad’s novel In the City of Gold and Silver (2013), based on the life of Begum Hazrat. It intends to re-surface the contributions of such females in the volatile public memory and celebrate their participation in the roll call of honor.
Keywords: Tawaif, cultural silencing, colonization, agency, Begum Hazrat Mahal, subaltern.


Begum Hazrat Mahal, The Administrator, Ruler and Warrior


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Reclaiming the Lost Queen: Begum Hazrat Mahal as a Subaltern. Khushi Khandelwal. 2023. IJIRCT, Volume 9, Issue 2. Pages 1-5.

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