Abadi Bano Begum, who took an active part at par with men in the Indian National Movement, was born in 1852 in Amroha village, Moradabad district of Uttar Pradesh. She was married to Abdul Ali Khan of the Princely State Rampur. Though she lost her husband at a young age, she did not remarry.
She had two sons Maulana Mohammed Ali, and Maulana Shaukat Ali, who were famous as ‘Ali Brohters’. She nurtured her children, into becoming memorable leaders of the Indian Independence Movement. Her involvement in the freedom movement began with the Home Rule Movement, to which she rendered moral and most importantly, financial support.
When the British government detained the Ali Brothers in Chindanwad village, under the Indian Defence Regulations, she went along with them. When a police official proposed for the surrender of her sons, she bluntly refused saying, ‘If my sons agree to the proposal of the government, I will kill them by strangulation. I hope God will bestow enough energy into this old woman’s hands’.
Abadi Bano Begum met Mahatma Gandhi in 1917 for the first time. There after Mahatma Gandhi always addressed her ‘Ammijan’, and all other freedom fighters followed Gandhi’s address. She helped Mahatma Gandhi and other Khilafath leaders financially for undertaking all India tours. She attended the Indian National Congress and the All India Muslim League sessions in 1917, held at Calcutta. She spoke in those meetings emphasising that complete freedom could be achieved through unity between Hindus and Muslims.
She also played a constructive role in the Khilafat and Non-Cooperation Movement in 1919. She declared in several meetings that ‘it was her ambition that even the dogs and cats of her country should not be under the slavery of the British’. The fact that the British government official records treated her as a ‘dangerous person’, which established the kind of challenge she hurled at the colonial rule.
Apart from participating in politics she also guided several women’s organisations all over India. So intensely patriotic and nationalist that Abadi Bano Begum who played an active role in a national movement without caring about old age, ill health, and cruel atrocities of police, breathed her last on 13 November 1924.