Begum Mahboob Fatima: The First Muslim Woman Jailed by the British in Delhi

A Muslim Lady, charged with the act of waging ‘the war against the Crown’, was brought into the court of Additional Magistrate in Delhi on 21st April, 1932. As per the rule, she was asked to appoint a counsel or to argue her case in whatever manner she deemed fit. The woman told it in the face of the court that she did not wish to argue her case in a court of which foundation stands on tyranny and slavery of India. The court, in her opinion, did not represent justice as the government which constituted it was itself illegal and had no right to keep its occupation of India. It was not a routine affair for the magistrate to confront such a brave soul. The woman was sentenced for six months of imprisonment and a fine of fifty rupees. In case the fine could not be paid the imprisonment had to be extended by 45 days.   

The woman was Begum Mahboob Fatima. She was arrested along with Satyawati from Chandni Chowk, Delhi for commemorating the Jallianwala Bagh Day. According to historians she was the first Muslim woman in Delhi to have been sentenced to prison for waging ‘the war against the Crown’. In order to not be confused with other famous women of the same name I would mention that her husband was Tahir Mohammad.

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Saquib Salim

Saquib Salim is a well known historian under whose supervision various museums (Red Fort, National Library, IFFI, Jallianwala Bagh etc.) were researched. To his credit Mr. Salim has more than 400 published articles on history, politics, culture and literature in English and Hindi. Before pursuing his research and masters in modern Indian History from JNU, he was an electrical engineering student at AMU. Presently, he works as a freelance/ independent history researcher, writer and works at

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