Patriots >Leaders of the Revolt > Azimullah Khan
Azimullah Khan ( ? - 1859 )
One of the leading figures in the 1857 Revot, Azimullah Khan’s exact date of birth is not known. He was picked up with his mother during the famine of 1937-38 and remained in a Muslim orphanage where his mother served as an ‘Ayah’. He learnt English and French in a Government School at Kanpur.

He went to England in 1854 to plead Nana Sahib’s pension case, and stayed there for over two years. On the return journey he visited France and Sebastopol and made secret overtures to Russia to fight the English in India.

He played a prominent part in the Revolt of 1957 at Kanpur. He acted as confidential adviser of Nana Sahib Peshwa. The policy of Azimullah Khan and Nana Sahib was that the Hindus and Muslims should unite and fight together for India’s freedom. Azimullah Khan toured important stations in Northern India and prepared the ground for the Revolt. The preparations for the rising were secret. Letters were written in code, and secret symbols of the coming bloodshed, the red lotus and the chappatis, were passed from village to village and from regiment to regiment. Azimullah Khan worked as an active organiser of the Revolt.

Azimullah Khan was a handsome slim young man of dark olive complexion, dressed in oriental costume and covered with rings

and finery. His handsome personality attracted for him a place in the society of English ladies. That Azimullah was very orthodox can be judged from what he said to Russel, “that unless women wee restrained, as they were in the East, like moths in candle light, they will fly and get buired”. But he was in favour of Hindu-Muslims todine together and mix freely.

Letters of Azimullah found at Bithur were published under the title of “Letters of an Indian Prince”. Azimullah Khan also left diary depicting the court life of Baji Rao and Nana Sahib. But some people doubt its authenti-city. These is also a controversy over Azimmullah Khan’s hand in the Kanpur massacre.

Azimullah Khan tried his best to secure foreign help against the British. He wrote letters for help to the Sultan of Turkey and also tried to make some overtures to Egypt.

After the failure of the Revolt, Azimullah Khan fled to Nepal along with his master Nana Sahib. He died of fever in Nepal in October 1959.

Azimullah Khan was a good organizer, capable leader and true freedom-fighter who believed in Hindu-Muslim unity, and tried to get freedom for India from British yoke. He will be Ion remembered for his loyalty to his master Nana Sahib and for his love of the country.

Author : K.L. Srivastava