Wajid Ali Shah was the last Nawab and the ruler of Awadh. He is often brushed aside as the least important historical figure apart from being the fact that he was the last ruler to ascend the throne of Awadh. This was largely due to the Britishers described him as a debauched ruler who spent his time with ‘fiddlers, eunuchs and women’ instead of running the kingdom.
The Last King in India: Wajid Ali Shah by Rosie Llewellyn-Jones has revived another picture of this banished Nawab, robbed of his throne by the East India Company, as a great patron of art, architecture and culture. Nawab Wajid was himself a creative genius. A very eminent poet, playwright, dancer. He is credited with the revival of Kathak as a major form of classical Indian dance.
After exile from Lucknow, Nawab lived for another 30 years about which no records have been maintained. It was this period which was the special interest of the author. And she has managed to unearth many details about the Nawab during this period even minute details about the hairstyle which Nawab flaunted.
The book is expected to release by 30th of June, 2014 both in India and UK. It will be a great read for the History students and historians equally. Beside even Lucknowites are also looking forward to read more about their Last Nawab.
The author Rosie Llewellyn-Jones (PhD) graduated from SOAS in Urdu and is now an acclaimed historian of the colonial history of India from the eighteenth to the twentieth century. She has published extensively on this period and her particular interest is in the political interaction between the British and their Indian subjects. She is also Secretary to the British Association for Cemeteries in South Asia and editor of its journal Chowkidar.
Dr Rosie Llewellyn Jones knows more about Lucknow than any other average Lucknowite. Her fascination with the city started when she was a student at the London University reading Urdu and Hindi. She has several publications about Lucknow to her credit like Lucknow: ‘City of Illusions’, ‘Engaging Scoundrels: True Tales of Old Lucknow’ and several others, including the one she read out from on Sunday.