The Last King in India: Wajid Ali Shah (Hardback)
  • The Last King in India: Wajid Ali Shah (Hardback)
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The Last King in India: Wajid Ali Shah (Hardback)

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£27.50
Hardback Published: 30/06/2014
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The Last King in India is the story of an extraordinary man whose memory still divides opinion sharply today. Was he, as the British described him, a debauched ruler who spent his time with 'fiddlers, eunuchs and women' instead of running the kingdom? Or, as most Indians believe, a gifted poet whose works are still quoted today, and who was robbed of his throne by the East India Company? Somewhere in between the two extremes lies a complex character: a man who married over 350 women, directed theatrical events lasting a month, and built a fairytale palace in Lucknow. Wajid Ali Shah was written out of the history books after his kingdom was annexed in 1856. Some even thought he had been killed during the mutiny the following year. But he lived on in Calcutta where he spent the last thirty years of his life trying to recreate his lost paradise. He remained a constant problem for the government of India, with his extravagance, his menagerie and his wives - in that order. For the first time his story is told here using original documents from Indian and British archives and meetings with his descendants.

Publisher: C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd
ISBN: 9781849044080
Weight: 567 g
Dimensions: 216 x 138 x 28 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

'This compelling book ... abounds in vivid details, and draws on an exceptional variety of sources in both English and Urdu. ... Llewellyn-Jones is perhaps the world authority on 19th-century Lucknow.' - Andrew Robinson, History Today

'A great deal of research has gone into this book ... Rosie Llewellyn-Jones presents an honest and balanced portrayal of the legendary emperor who was often misunderstood and has remained an enigma extraordinaire even today.' - The Hindustan Times

'Rosie Llewellyn-Jones has produced the richest picture of the last king of Awadh we have had so far. Focussing on his interactions with the British, she shows him to be a considerable man of the arts but also a man who treated his numerous wives badly. Llewellyn-Jones is the leading historian of Lucknow; this book is a major addition to her achievement.' - Francis Robinson, Professor of the History of South Asia, Royal Holloway, University of London

'Rosie Llewellyn-Jones paints a vivid and poignant portrait of the wonderfully eccentric but woefully misunderstood last king of India, Wajid"Ali Shah. A meticulously researched and illuminating book.' - John Zubrzycki, author of The Mysterious Mr Jacob and The Last Nizam

'A deeply researched and brilliantly told story of the legendary last Nawab of Awadh, as he valiantly sought to recreate his lost world as a pensioner of the English on the outskirts of Calcutta for the last thirty years of his amazing life. An excellent read.' - Shahid Amin, Professor of History, Delhi University

'In this pioneering biography of Muhammad Wajid'Ali Shah, Dr Rosie Llewellyn-Jones treats the many complex characters and events of a turbulent period in Indian history with her usual skilled analysis and originality. In assembling new information from private, state, and colonial records, she succeeds in drawing critical attention to the colourful life of a controversial ruler. In doing so, this major study deserves commendation.' - Saqib Baburi, Department of the Study of Religions, School of Oriental and African Studies

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