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The Last King in India [Hardcover]

Rosie Llewellyn-Jones

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Book Description

27 Jun 2014 1849044082 978-1849044080
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.

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'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.' --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, the greatest living authority on Nawabi Lucknow, has written a wonderful appreciation of the most under-appreciated of its Nawabs. She shows how Wajd Ali Shah should be remembered as one of the most important cultural catalysts of his day, and brings back to life the memorable last days of the great city whose ebullient creativity he represented. A cause for celebration.' --William Dalrymple, author of 'The Last Mughal: The Fall of a Dynasty' and 'Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan

About 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.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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