|Nawab Wajid Ali Shah|
| Mirza (Royal title)|
Nawab of Awadh
|Reign||13 February 1847 – 11 February 1856|
|Predecessor||Amjad Ali Shah|
|Successor||Birjis Qadra (son)|
|Born||30 July 1822|
|Died||21 September 1887 65) (aged|
Metiabruz, Garden Reach, Calcutta, British India
|Father||Amjad Ali Shah|
Wajid Ali Shah (Urdu : واجد علی شاہ) (30 July 1822 – 1 September 1887) was the tenth and last Nawab of Awadh, holding the position for 9 years, from 13 February 1847 to 11 February 1856.
The Nawab of Awadh or the Nawab of Oudh was the title of the rulers who governed the state of Awadh in north India during the 18th and 19th centuries. The Nawabs of Awadh belonged to a dynasty of Persian origin from Nishapur, Iran. In 1724, Nawab Sa'adat Khan established the Oudh State with their capital in Faizabad and Lucknow.
Nawab Wajid Ali Shah's first wife was Alam Ara who was better known as Khas Mahal because of her exquisite beauty. She was one of two Nikahi wives.
His kingdom, long protected by the British under treaty, was eventually annexed bloodlessly on 11 February 1856, two days before the ninth anniversary of his coronation. The Nawab was exiled to Garden Reach in Metiabruz, then a suburb of Kolkata, where he lived out the rest of his life on a generous pension. He was a poet, playwright, dancer and great patron of the arts. He is widely credited with the revival of Kathak as a major form of classical Indian dance. He is survived by many descendants.
Garden Reach is a neighbourhood of the city of Kolkata in West Bengal, India. It is situated in the south-western part of Kolkata near the bank of the Hooghly River. It is located north-east of Maheshtala, west of Kidderpore, and to the north of Taratala, Behala. Localities within Garden Reach include Metiabruz, BNR Colony, Bartala, Bandhabartala, and Sicklane.
Kolkata is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly River approximately 75 kilometres (47 mi) west of the border with Bangladesh, it is the principal commercial, cultural, and educational centre of East India, while the Port of Kolkata is India's oldest operating port and its sole major riverine port. The city is widely regarded as the "cultural capital" of India, and is also nicknamed the "City of Joy". According to the 2011 Indian census, it is the seventh most populous city; the city had a population of 4.5 million, while the suburb population brought the total to 14.1 million, making it the third-most populous metropolitan area in India. Recent estimates of Kolkata Metropolitan Area's economy have ranged from $60 to $150 billion making it third most-productive metropolitan area in India, after Mumbai and Delhi.
Kathak is the Hindustani name for one of the eight major forms of Indian classical dance. The origin of Kathak is traditionally attributed to the traveling bards of ancient northern India known as Kathakars or storytellers. The term Kathak is derived from the Vedic Sanskrit word Katha which means "story", and Kathakar which means "the one who tells a story", or "to do with stories". Wandering Kathakars communicated stories from the great epics and ancient mythology through dance, songs and music in a manner similar to early Greek theatre. Kathak dancers tell various stories through their hand movements and footwork, but most importantly through their facial expressions. Kathak evolved during the Bhakti movement, particularly by incorporating the childhood and stories of the Hindu god Krishna, as well as independently in the courts of north Indian kingdoms.
Wajid Ali Shah succeeded to the throne of Awadh when the kingdom was well past its heyday. The British had annexed much of the kingdom under the treaty of 1801, and had impoverished Awadh by imposing a hugely expensive, British-run army and repeated demands for loans. The independence of Awadh in name was tolerated by the British only because they still needed a buffer state between their presence in the East and South, and the remnants of the Mughal Empire to the North.
The Mughal Empire or Mogul Empire, was a large empire in South Asia. It was founded in 1526 and was formally dissolved in 1857.
Wajid Ali Shah was most unfortunate to have ascended the throne of Oudh at a time when the British East India Company was determined to grab the coveted throne of prosperous Awadh, which was "the garden, granary, and queen-province of India"- the royal predecessors and successors of Awadh were one of the major threats to the Mughal Empire before Britain's attempt at usurping full political control in India.
In different circumstances perhaps, he might have succeeded as a ruler because he had many qualities that make a good administrator. He was generous, kind and compassionate towards his subjects, besides being one of the most magnanimous and passionate patrons of fine arts in the Indian tradition. When he ascended the throne, he took keen interest in the administration of justice, introduced reforms, and reorganised the military. Wajid Ali Shah was widely regarded as a debauched and detached ruler, but some of his notoriety seems to have been misplaced. The main case for condemnation comes from the British Resident of Lucknow, General William Sleeman, who submitted a report highlighting "maladministration" and " "lawlessness" he described as prevailing there, although Sleeman himself was strictly opposed to aggressive annexation for reasons political, financial and ethical.. This provided the British with the facade of "benevolence" they were looking for, and formed the official basis for their annexation. Recent studies have, however, suggested that Oudh was neither as bankrupt nor as lawless as the British had claimed. In fact, Oudh was for all practical purposes under British rule well before the annexation, with the Nawab playing little more than a titular role. The British officered Bengal Army was recruited largely from Oudh; while, under direction by the Governor-General Lord Dalhousie in 1855, any tax revenue from Oudh not required for state government costs was appropriated by the East India Company.
Lucknow is the capital city of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, and is also the administrative headquarters of the eponymous district and division. It is the eleventh most populous city and the twelfth most populous urban agglomeration of India. Lucknow has always been known as a multicultural city that flourished as a North Indian cultural and artistic hub, and the seat of power of Nawabs in the 18th and 19th centuries. It continues to be an important centre of governance, administration, education, commerce, aerospace, finance, pharmaceuticals, technology, design, culture, tourism, music and poetry.
The Bengal Army was the army of the Bengal Presidency, one of the three presidencies of British India within the British Empire.
In his book "Awadh Under Wajid Ali Shah", Dr. G.D. Bhatnagargives the following assessment of this ill-starred prince:
Dr. G.D. Bhatnagar, Awadh Under Wajid Ali Shah
A large number of composers who thrived under the lavish patronage of the Nawab rulers of Lucknow enriched the light classical form of thumri; most prominent among these was Wajid Ali Shah. He was not only a munificent patron of music, dance, drama, and poetry, but was himself a gifted composer. He had received vocal training under great Ustads like Basit Khan, Pyar Khan and Jafar Khan. Pyar Khan, Jafar Khan and Basit Khan were the direct descendants of Mian Tansen and were the sons of famous tanseni Chajju Khan. Bahadur Hussain Khan was the favourite musician of Wajid Ali Shah. Bahadur Hussain Khan was the descendant of Tansen's son-in-law Naubat Khan. Although Wajid Ali Shah's pen-name was "Qaisar", he used pseudonym "Akhtarpiya" for his numerous compositions. Under this pen name, he wrote over forty works – poems, prose and thumris. Diwan-i-Akhtar, Husn-i-Akhtar contain his ghazals . He is said to have composed many new ragas and named them Jogi, Juhi, Shah-Pasand, etc.
The source for much information on music in Nawabi Lucknow comes from the text Ma’danul Moosiqui (‘The Mine of Music’) of Hakim Mohammed Karam Imam, courtier of Wajid Ali Shah.During his time, complicated ragas like hori and dhrupad were ignored and easier raginis like tilak, pilu, sendura, khammach, bhairvi and jhanjhauti were encouraged. As these were liked by the king and easily understood by all sections of society, they came to be well-loved by commoners. Wajid Ali Shah has been accused of cheapening the classical tradition and promoting lighter forms of music such as ghazals and thumris. But then, as argued by scholars like Ravi Bhatt, this is how popular music has always been criticised. Popular belief has it that the light classical form, thumri was created by Wajid Ali Shah. However, James Kippen argued that evidence suggests thumri had almost certainly already become an independent vocal form somewhat influenced by khayal by 1800, becoming extremely popular and pervasive in the time of Wajid Ali Shah. Wajid Ali wrote and performed ghazals, and the modern day style of ghazals were certainly evolved by his innovative ideas and experimentations in ghazals, some of which were noted for their inclusion of obscenities and sexually explicit references to his own private life.
Together with music, dance in Lucknow developed strongly and became a pre-eminent art under the patronage of Wajid Ali Shah. In the ancient times Kathak being the part of the temple ritual, was performed at temples. With the change of time the Kathak performers in search of better prospects and rich patronage left the temple and entered into royal courts. Transformation was inevitable. The dance started adapting itself to the demands of the court, but it was under the artistic guidance and patronage of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, that Kathak achieved greater dimensions. He gave a definite form, made it more artistic, and gave to it an aesthetic touch, he enriched it with rasa and bhava, and he added literature to it, lent it sensuality, and furnished it with grandeur and splendor to its presentation, argued Abdul Halim Sharar.During this period, Kathak was also extensively performed by tawaifs, who themselves developed the art in parallel to its refinement in court. They frequently performed on lighter classical music of such as dadra, kajri and tappa as well as thumri. Given the tawaifs' environment, their performance style of Kathak also differed from the court style, involving more of what in Kathak is termed nakhra (mischievous playfulness).
Wajid Ali Shah started two distinct forms one is Rahas and the other one is called Raas. He himself choreographed a dance based on the moves of Kathak called, Rahas, that he danced himself with the ladies of his court. For him Rahas was a dramatic form of theatre including acting, dancing, and music and with different scenes the whole setting and locale changes. On the other hand Raas was purely a religious form. Primarily Dhrupad was sung in Raas and the performance began with its singing. Raas was a circular form of dance where many gopis danced with one Krishna. Radhakamal Mukerjee in his book, The Lord of the Autumn Moons, says that the Raspancadhyayi or the five chapters pertaining to the circular group dance of Krishna with the Gopis, distill the embody the fully maturity of the mystical emotions.
Kathak dance attained new heights of popularity and glory under his expert guidance and lavish patronage. Thakur Prasadji was his Kathak guru, and the unforgettable Kalka-Binda brothers performed in his court. What with the grand pageantry of the Rahas, Jogiya Jashan, Dance dramas, and Kathak performances, Lucknow became the magnetic cultural centre where the most reputed musicians, dancers and poets of the time flourished. The greatest musicians, dancers and instrumentalists of the time enjoyed his munificent patronage and hospitality. It was at his reign that Lucknow Gharana came into existence. It was in this period that the Lucknow Gharana of Kathak attained maturity, through the efforts of the stalwarts like Thakur Prasadji and others. The Lucknow style of Kathak dance is characterized by graceful movements, elegance and natural poise with dance. Abhinaya , concern for movement shape and creative improvisations are the hallmarks of this style. He not only made Kathak as the official court dance, but using it in performances of rahas made it popular among the people.
When Wajid Ali Shah was a young boy, some astrologers warned his parents that he would become a Yogi, and advised them that the boy should be dressed up as a Yogi on each birthday of his so as to counteract the effect of the evil stars. He established the famous Parikhaana (abode of fairies) in which hundreds of beautiful and talented girls were taught music and dancing by expert-teachers engaged by the royal patron. These girls were known as Paris (fairies) with names such as Sultan pari, Mahrukh pari and so on. On each birthday, the Nawab would dress up as a Yogi with saffron robes, ash of pearls smeared on his face and body, necklaces of pearls around his neck, and a rosary in his hand, and walk pompously into the court with two of his 'paris dressed up as Jogans. Gradually he made it into a spectacular pageant or Mela known as Jogia Jashan, in which all citizens of Lucknow could participate, dressed as Yogis, irrespective of caste and creed. Later, when his favourite venue, the Qaisarbagh Baradari was built, he began to stage his magnificent Rahas (obviously a Persianised name for Rasleela) full of sensuous poetry, his own lyrical compositions and glamorous Kathak dances.
Ranbir Singh gives details of Wajid Ali Shah's book entitled Bani in which the author mentions 36 types of Rahas all set in Kathak style (with colourful names like Mor-Chchatr, Ghunghat, Salami, Mor Pankhi and Mujra), and gives exhaustive notes about the costumes, jewellery, and stage- craft. Rahas, prepared at a fabulous cost of several lakhs (hundred thousands) of rupees, became very popular, and was performed at the Kaisarbagh-Rahas Manzil, (most probably the first Hindustani Theatre Hall). Many have regarded Wajid Ali Shah as "the first playwright of the Hindustani theatre", because his "Radha Kanhaiyya Ka Qissa" staged in the Rahas Manzil was the first play of its kind. It featured the Goddess Radha, Lord Krishna, several sakhis, and a Vidushaka-like character named "Ramchera". Songs, dances, mime, and drama were all delightfully synthesised in these Rahas performances. He dramatised many other poems such as Darya-i-Tashsq, Afsane-i-Isbaq, and Bhahar-i-Ulfat. It is said that Amanat's Inder Sabha was inspired by these dance-dramas, written, produced and staged by Nawab Wajid Ali Shah.
Like the Performing Arts Wajid Ali Shah also patronised literature and several poets and writers in his court. Notable among them were ‘Barq’, ‘Ahmad Mirza Sabir’, ‘Mufti Munshi’, and ‘Aamir Ahmad Amir’, who wrote books at the orders of Wajid Ali Shah, Irshad-us-Sultan and Hidayat-us-Sultan, Amanat the famous author of Indra Sabha and Bekhud wrote Jalwa-Akhatar, Hajjo Sharaf and Afsana-i-Lucknow have presented a picture of the times and life of Wajid Ali Shah. The famous poet Ghalib also received the gracious patronage of Wajid Ali Shah, who granted him a pension of Rupees five hundred per year in 1854.Wajid Ali Shah used to write himself and was a poet of a considerable merit. He used to write under the nom-de-plume of ‘Akhtar’. He had equal command over Persian and Urdu and wrote several books in both languages. According to his court chronicler Masih-ud-Din he received a liberal western education and was well versed in ancient and modern history and literature. Garcin de Tassy, while travelling in the sub-continent during the mid-nineteenth century wrote in his journal about Wajid Ali Shah and noted, "I do not have to appreciate here this very political resolution, neither do I have to appreciate the qualities or defects of Wajid Ali Shah, as a sovereign, but I am interested in him as a distinguished scholar and as eminent poet in Hindustani".
Wajid Ali Shah wrote extensively and adopted a simple language which easily conveyed meaning to all, it showed sprinkling of Awadhi, the local dialect. He was a prolific writer. His work Sawat-ul-Qalub runs into 1061 pages and comprises a collection of 44,562 couplets, and was completed in a short span of three years. Abdul Lais Siddiqi in Lucknow Ka Dabistan-i-Shairi noted that it was common for kings to employ poets to write on their behalf but this was not true of Wajid Ali Shah, and every single word has been written by himself and no one else.One of his most important works is the autobiographical Huzn-i-Akhtar, which is in verse and contains nearly 1276 couplets. It is faithful records of the hazardous journey that he undertook from Lucknow to Calcutta, after having relinquished his crown. It speaks of the unkind and unceremonious treatment metted to him by the British authorities. Vivid details of the people and the places he encountered on his journey. It also evokes his desperation at his arrest and subsequent deportment to Calcutta’s Matiya Burj. Another important work of his is Bani which runs into 400 pages. It is a treatise on Music and Dance, which offers details of the mushairas held at Matiya Burj, of the buildings raised there at his command. There are also descriptions of the animals at his personal zoo, besides vignettes of the life and the time at Matiya Burj. Although it is estimated that he wrote over 60 books but most of his works are not available and hence no critical assessment of his writing has been made till date.
After losing the kingdom, the Nawab first went to Kanpur and then progressed to Calcutta in a steamer accompanied by his close relatives and large entourage comprising musicians, nautch girls, cooks and animals from his menagerie and came ashore at Bichali Ghat near Metiabruz, Calcutta on 13 May 1856.He had made up his mind to go and plead his case to Queen Victoria because of his firm belief in the British sense of justice. However, his physicians did not think his health would permit such a long voyage and it was his mother, brother and heir apparent who left for England. A year later when the First War of Independence spread to Lucknow and the sepoys installed one of his sons to the throne of Awadh, Wajid Ali Shah was imprisoned in Fort William by the British along with his Prime Minister, due to apprehensions that he would become a rallying figure for the sepoys. HEA Cotton wrote that on Panic Sunday (14 June 1857), there was widespread apprehension among the white inhabitants of Kolkata because he had "one, two, three thousand" (no one knew) armed men under him. The First War of Independence dashed all his hopes of returning to Lucknow. After his release from Fort William, he was "allotted" a building called BNR House in Garden Reach near the headquarter of South Eastern Railway, Kolkata. In those days, it is said, it was called Parikhana. However, heartbroken after leaving Lucknow, he had carried his dear city in his heart and proceeded to carve out a miniature of Lucknow in Metiabruz. In his exile in Metiabruz, he tried to keep the sweet memories of his Lucknow era alive by recreating the musical environments of his Kaisarbagh Baradari. The banished king had been "given" a number of fine houses with vast grounds stretching along the banks of the river Hooghly three to four miles south of Kolkata. Because of the presence there of an earthen dome (or raised platform), people would refer to it as Matiya Burj. The king spent lavishly out of his income of 12 lakhs (or, 1.2 million) rupees per annum and before long a "second Lucknow" arose in this area.
His bhairavi thumri Babul Mora Naihar Chhooto Jaay has been sung by several prominent singers, but a particularly popular rendition remembered today was performed by Kundan Lal Saigal for the 1930s movie Street Singer .
In a strange manner, this sad song epitomises the pain and agony of the poet king himself when he was exiled from his beloved Lucknow.
बाबुल मोरा, नैहर छूटो ही जाए
बाबुल मोरा, नैहर छूटो ही जाए
चार कहार मिल, मोरी डोलिया सजावें
मोरा अपना बेग़ाना छूटो जाए | बाबुल मोरा ...
अंगना तो पर्बत भयाssss और देहरी भयी बिदेस
जाए बाबुल घर आपनो मैं चली पिया के देस | बाबुल मोरा ...
بابُل مورا، نیہر چھُوٹو ہی جائے
بابُل مورا، نیہر چھُوٹو ہی جائے
چار کہار مِل، موری ڈولِیا سجاویں (اُٹھایّں)
مورا اَپنا بیگانا چھُوٹو جائے ، بابُل مورا۔۔۔
آںگنا تو پربت بھیو اؤر دیہری بھیی بِدیش
جائے بابُل گھر آپنو میں چلی پیّا کے دیش ، بابُل مورا ۔۔۔
Naser ad-Dowla Amjad `Ali Thorayya Jah Shah
| Padshah-e-Oudh, Shah-e Zaman |
13 Feb 1847 – 7 Feb 1856
Berjis Qadr (in rebellion)
Awadh (Hindi and Awadhi अवध, Urdu: اوَدھ,, known in British historical texts as Avadh or Oudh, is a region in the modern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh and a small area of Nepal's Province No. 5. Its inhabitants are referred to as Awadhis.
A tawaif was a highly sophisticated courtesan who catered to the nobility of the Indian subcontinent, particularly during the Mughal era. The tawaifs excelled in and contributed to music, dance (mujra), theatre, and the Urdu literary tradition, and were considered an authority on etiquette. Tawaifs were largely a North Indian institution central to Mughal court culture from the 16th century onwards and became even more prominent with the weakening of Mughal rule in the mid-18th century. They contributed significantly to the continuation of traditional dance and music forms and then emergence of modern Indian cinema.
Begum Hazrat Mahal [name in Urdu], also called as Begum of Awadh, was the second wife of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah. Wajid Ali Shah met her in his palace. She rebelled against the British East India Company during the Indian Rebellion of 1857. She finally found asylum in Nepal where she died in 1879. After her husband had been exiled to Calcutta, she took charge of the affairs in the state of Awadh and seized control of Lucknow. She organised an army of women and placed Uda Devi as its commander. She actively took part in the revolt of 1857 against the Doctrine of Lapse under which Dalhousie wanted her to surrender Lucknow. She gave stiff resistance. But after the fall of Lucknow she escaped to Kathmandu. She was a very brave women and such bravery in a male-dominated society was unprecedented. She made her son, Prince Birjis Qadr, the Wali (ruler) of Awadh; However, she was forced to abandon this role after a short reign. "Pasi respondents first documented the story of Begum Hazrat Mahal in print in the 1971 Census records. Though the name of Uda Devi was not mentioned, the respondents mentioned that, in the war of 1857, a Pasi Palton rescued Begum Hazrat Mahal from imprisonment by the British. It was only later that the story of Uda Devi came to be incorporated into the narrative. After 1990, the story found organisational support for its transmission and celebration with the formation of the Virangana Uda Devi Smarak Sansthan."
The Chattar Manzil, or Umbrella Palace is a building in Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh which served as a palace for the rulers of Awadh and their wives.
Babul is an old Urdu-Hindi term for father indicating a daughter's affection. The term is now mainly used in Bollywood songs in the context of a newly married daughter leaving her father's home.
Saadat Ali Khan was the fifth nawab wazir of Oudh from 21 January 1798 to 11 July 1814, and the son of Muhammad Nasir. He was of Persian origin.
Nasir-ud-Din Haidar Shah was the second King of Oudh from 19 October 1827 to 7 July 1837.
Pandit Shambhu Maharaj was a celebrated Guru of the Lucknow Gharana (school) of the Indian classical dance form, Kathak.
Muhammad Ali Shah was the third King of Oudh from 7 July 1837 to 7 May 1842.
Ghazi-ud-Din Haidar Shah was the last nawab wazir of Oudh from 11 July 1814 to 19 October 1818 and first King of Oudh from 19 October 1818 to 19 October 1827.
Shatranj Ke Khilari is a 1977 Indian film written and directed by Satyajit Ray, based on Munshi Premchand's short story of the same name. Amjad Khan plays the role of Wajid Ali Shah, King of Awadh, and Richard Attenborough plays the role of General James Outram. The film also features the actors Sanjeev Kumar, Saeed Jaffrey, Shabana Azmi, Farooque Shaikh, David Abraham, and Tom Alter, as well as Amitabh Bachchan as the narrator. This is the first hindi feature film of filmmaker Satyajit Ray and second being 'Sadgati'- another adaptation of Premchand's short story.
Amjad Ali Shah was the fourth King of Oudh from 7 May 1842 to 13 February 1847.
Birjis Qadr was the Nawab of Awadh from 1857 until 1858.
Babul Mora Naihar Chhooto Jaye is a popular Hindustani classical music song (thumri) in Raag Bhairavi.
The earliest reference made to Fyzabad or now Faizabad is said to be in the Ramayana, in which the city is referred to as Saket, the mythical private estate of King Dashrath, father of Lord Ram but the other sources indicate that Saket, which means Heaven in Sanskrit, is the ancient name of holy city of Ayodhya not Faizabad. However, more accurately, the reference is found in Medieval and Modern history, when Nawab Saadat Ali Khan, Burhan-ul-Mulk was given the charge of the Subah of Awadh around 1722 by the Mughal Court. Nawab Sa'adat Khan made the first settlements along the banks of Ghaghra with a cantonment consisting of a fortress and mud barracks. Due to these temporary dwellings, Faizabad was first known as 'Bangla' .
The Safed Baradari, is a white marbled building in Lucknow Uttar Pradesh, India.
Raja Chakradhar Singh Bahadur was the Raja of Raigarh and Chief of Bargarh ruled by Gond dynasty. He was the ruler of Princely state of Raigarh from 1924 till his death in 1947. He was son of Raja Bhup Deo Singh, who died in 1917.
The Oudh State was a princely state in the Awadh region of North India until annexation by the British in 1856. Oudh, the now obsolete but once official English-language name of the state, also written historically as Oude, derived from the name of Ayodhya.
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