Azimullah Khan: Strategist in First War of Independence

He started a newspaper named ‘Payaam-e-Azadi’ in Hindi and Urdu to mould public opinion against British

Azimullah Khan, who was renowned as a strategist in the First War of Independence, 1857, was born in  Uttar Pradesh.

At the time when native rulers, the heads of princely states were expressing desire to fight against the British without any plan of action,  Azimullah was of the opinion that planned action would yield more results than mere blind use of force. Thus, he formulated strategies to combat the British.

He learned English and French and studied at Kanpur College, where he became a teacher. Nana Saheb Peshwa, the ruler of Kanpur, came to know about the talents of Azimullah and asked him to be his advocate.

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Azimullah went to England on the invitation of Nana Saheb, to deal with the legal matters of  Kanpur State, where he spent a couple of years. He closely observed the politics of the British during his stay in England. He visited several countries during his return journey to India.

When he reached Malta, he came to know that the Russian troops had defeated the Anglo-French troops at Malta. Therefore, he went to Constan-tinople to observe the military capabilities of  Russia. Later, he visited France and Crimea and observed the politics and war strategies of the rulers of respective countries. Their fight for freedom had influenced him and inspired him to work for the freedom of India.

Azimullah tried to establish friendly ties with those countries, which were ready to help in the struggle against the British. After returning to India, he shared his thoughts with Nana Saheb and wrote letters to the native rulers in order to garner support for the rebellion of 1857.  In his letters, he explained to them the need for revolting against the British.

He started a Newspaper named ‘Payaam-e-Azadi’ in Hindi and Urdu to mould public opinion against the British. He helped Begum Hazarat Mahal of Awadh, Moulvi Ahmadullah Shah, Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi, the  Moghal Prince Firoz Shah, and Tantia Tope along with Nana Saheb in formulating strategies against the British.

He retreated to the forests of Nepal along with Nana Saheb, Hazarat Mahal, and others, when the First War of Independence had faced a situation of near defeat. Azimullah Khan passed away in October 1859, while making efforts to secure financial and military support to fight back against the British.

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