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  • Writer's pictureAslam Abdullah

A Burka Clad Woman Commander of Indians in 1857

History does not know her name. She was old and always seen wearing a green burka, carrying a gun and sword in her hands, and riding a horse. No one had seen her face. She used to encourage the residents of Delhi to fight for the glory of their country in 1857. So how do we know about her existence?

In a letter dated July 29, 1857, Lieutenant Hudson wrote to Deputy Commissioner of Ambala about a Muslim woman he described as a dangerous person.

The woman inspired the Delhites to revolt against the British. She urged the people into the skirmishes, led them as a commander, and disappeared after every attack. No one in Delhi knew her whereabouts. She would gather Muslims and Hindus at ridge and Kashmiri Gate.

. Hudson further wrote that she was excellent at fighting with swords and shooting with guns. She killed many British soldiers during the different skirmishes.

Hudson paid tribute to the bravery of this woman by comparing her with Joan of Arc of France. He contended that this green-wearing Muslim woman's courage, leadership, and bravery were no less than Joan of Arc.

During one of the battles at the ridge in Delhi, she fell from horseback, and the British captured her. Looking at an old Muslim woman, the Army General felt unthreatened and ordered her release when Hudson intervened, and told the General that this woman was the actual commander of the Indians and hence dangerous. Afterward, the British decided to shift her to a prison in Ambala. No one knew her name, and her whereabouts. But people knew her as a green burka-clad, unsung hero of 1857 who inspired Indians for freedom.

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