Here’s How A British Officer Became Lucknow’s Cigarette Baba
Devotees offer cigarettes at this British soldier’s grave.
Captain F Wale, a British officer who commanded forces during the 1857 revolt, lies buried in a grave situated in the Musa Bagh cemetery in Lucknow. What’s special about this particular grave is that devotees throng it every day to pay their respects to the British captain, whom they refer to as Cigarette Baba or Kaptan Shah Baba. His love for smoking convinces most devotees to give lit up cigarettes as offerings at the grave.
Despite him being a British soldier, the locals have made him a saint after his death. Different people give different accounts of how he attained this legendary status. Musa Bagh was part of a once-busy retreat of the Nawabs in Lucknow in the nineteenth century. During the freedom struggle of 1857, it came to be the stronghold of the Oudh forces. March 21, 1858, a fierce battle was fought between the British and native forces, which was eventually won by the British forces.
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