Nawab Faizunnesa

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Nawab Begum Faizunnesa Choudhurani (Bengali: নওয়াব বেগম ফয়জুন্নেসা চৌধুরানী; 1834–1903) was Zamindar of Homnabad-Pashchimgaon Estate in present-day Comilla District, Bangladesh.[3] She is most famous for her campaign for female education and other social issues. In appreciation of her social work, in 1889 Queen Victoria awarded Faizunnesa the title of "Nawab", making her the first female Nawab in South Asia.[4][5][6][7]

Quick facts: Faizunnesa Choudhurani, Zamindar of Homnabad-...
Faizunnesa Choudhurani
Nawab Faizunnesa
Zamindar of Homnabad-Pashchimgaon
PredecessorAhmed Ali Chowdhury
SuccessorMohamed Ali Chowdhury
Pashchimgaon, Tipperah District, Bengal Presidency (now Comilla District, Bangladesh)
Died1903 (aged 6869)
Pashchimgaon, Tipperah District, Bengal Presidency
Laksham, Bangladesh
SpouseMuhammad Gazi
IssueArshad-un-Nissa Choudhurani
Badr-un-Nissa Choudhurani
Begum Faiz-un-Nissa Choudhurani
HouseHouse of Tughluq (by birth)[1] House of Timur (by birth)[2]
FatherAhmed Ali Chowdhury alias Shahzada Mirza Aurangazeb
MotherBegum Araf-un-Nissa Choudhurani

Faizunnesa's educational and literary work belonged to the post-1857 era when Muslims in India started having the full thrust of colonial acrimony and were at the nadir of deprivation and discrimination. Faizunnesa embarked on establishing schools for women in that cultural context. Metaphorically, she sought to rescue the community from the menace of despair and pessimism by portraying a Muslim hero in Rupjalal and thus gave them hope and confidence.[8]

An advocate of female education, a philanthropist and social worker, Faizunnesa was born in Comilla in what is now Bangladesh. She was married to a distant cousin and neighbouring zamindar, Muhammad Gazi, in 1860 as his second wife only to be separated after mothering two daughters, Arshadunnesa and Badrunnesa. She became a zamindar after her mother's death in 1883 and became increasingly involved in social and charitable work, and thus in 1889 earned the honour of being the first woman Nawab of British India. She penned few other literary pieces such as Sangeet Saar, Sangeet Lahari and Tattwa O Jatiya Sangeet, and is renowned for her pioneering educational and charitable work and establishing of schools, madrasas and hospitals. However, Rupjalal has remained her most important work and attracted more research and critical attention.[8]