History of FaizabadThe Nawabs of Awadh choose Faizabad as their first capital, and still, there are several historical buildings in the city which are the reminiscence of the glorious era of Awadhi Nawabs. History can be felt in every breath of the city. Different historical tombs, like Gulab Bari, the Tomb of Bahu Begam, etc on reinstate the historical importance of the city to an unpretending visitor. Many historically known figures, like Mangal Pandey, the freedom fighter, Mir Babar Ali Anis and Brij Narayan Chakbast, both very popular writers of the nineteenth century hailed from Faizabad.
Faizabad in History
We can find the early references of Saket Faizabad in the pages of the Ramayana, where the city was named as “Saket”.It is believed that King Dashrath had his heavenly private estate in the City of Saket.
In Sanskrit, the word “Saket” means “Heaven”.In later times, especially in medieval and modern history, the description of Faizabad became more accurate. The Mughal Rulers of Delhi had given Nawab Saadat Ali Khan, the charge of Faizabad in 1722. Initially, he made settlements by the banks of the River Ghaghra. He had made a cantonment which only had a temporary fortress and some mud barracks for the soldiers posted there.
The Nawabs of Faizabad
Nawab Saadat Ali Khan established Awadh, which became an important part of the pre-colonial India. He had also made his palace near the city of Ayodhya. Saadat Ali Khan is considered as the progenitor of the Nawabs of Awadh and he had renamed Saket to Faizabad. Faizabad also became his capital. At his time, due to his very effective management policy, the income of the state rose from 7 rupees to 20 million rupees. His son Safdar Jung, developed Faizabad as a township.
Nawab Shuja-ud-Daula and Bahu Begam
Nawab Shuja-ud-Daula, the second successor of Saadat Ali Khan had developed Faizabad into a complete city. He carefully planned the infrastructure of the city and tried to build all the necessary amenities. His wife was known as “Bahu Begam” and she used to live in the city. Her residence was called “Moti Mahal”. The Bahu Begam’s tomb, built in 1816 by Darab Ali Khan, one of her closest advisors, was one of the finest buildings of the period and one of the most important tourist attractions of the city.
At that time, Faizabad also became a very important center of trade and commerce in North India. Many travelers, merchants and other professionals, from all over India as well as from different parts of the World came to Faizabad from different purposes. After the loss in the Battle of Buxar in 1764, he constructed a fortress on the banks of River Saryu. Now, due to the negligence of the Government, it is nothing but a hummock. Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula,the third nawab of Awadh, shifted the Capital of Awadh from Faizabad to Lucknow in 1775 due to some personal problems with his mother.
Contemporary Documents about Faizabad
Munshi Mohd. Faiz Baksh,a courtier in the Shuja-ud-Daula's court, had written a detailed history of Faizabad in 'Tareekh-e-Farahbaksh'. The city is named after him. Hamid Afaq Qureshi had translated the book into English as 'Memoirs of Faizabad'. Maulvi Abdul Halim 'Sharar's book 'Guzishta Lakhnau' can give a detailed description of Faizabad at the time.
Faizabad During the British Rule
Faizabad once again came to prominence during the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857. It was the center of many battles. Ashfaqulla Khan, one of the prime conspirators of the "Kakori Conspiracy" was detained in Faizabad Jail and was later hanged with three others, Thakur Roshan Singh,Rajendra Lahiri and Pandit Ram Prasad Bismil. One of the most popular myths in modern India says that Subhas Chandra Bose, the great freedom fighter, had lived his last days in the city by the name of Gumnami Baba (died on 1985). He was cremated with secrecy and interested tourists can visit the Memorial by the Saryu River.