The greatest civilizations of the world have been shaped by the regional cultures they encompassed, and the Indian civilisation was no exception. Universally acknowledged as the hub of rich culture manifestation, it too is indebted to its many regions in the subcontinent.
Lucknow is just a dot on the world map, but its sophisticated and refined culture, evolved over the years, has contributed considerably to the composite Indian culture. In fact, though this culture originated with the Mughal dynasty, which ruled from Delhi, it was promoted, patronized and taken to its zenith by the rulers of Awadh, better known as the Nawabs of Lucknow. These Nawabs were initially administrative cogs on the Mughul Empire, but in the year 1819, the seventh Nawab, Ghazi-ud-din Haidar, snapped ties with Delhi and declared himself an independent king. In practice though, even after their rebellion, they continued to be referred to as Nawabs, rather than kings.
It is interesting to note that the rulers of Lucknow, probably one of their kind, are remembered not so much for their war victories, but for the unique culture they espoused. This culture, without a trace of imperiousness, advanced a secular tradition that nurtured communal harmony and respect for others' feelings and faith. It was due to the strong influence of this culture that Lucknow never witnessed any communal riots, not even during Partition. This clearly proves that Lucknow's culture succeeded where the best of sermons failed.
The book tries to bring alive the colourful and idiosyncratic lifestyle of the Nawabs of Lucknow, who, knowingly and unknowingly, wove the fabric of this peerless culture.
Back Of The Book
Lucknow under the rule of the idiosyncratic Nawabs was a heady mix of flourishing arts, literature, architecture, sports, and - most famously - a culturally evolved lifestyle. In The Life and Time of the Nawabs of Lucknow, Ravi Bhatt depicts the life, history and culture of the Nawabs of Lucknow through over a hundred pithy, colourful anecdotes. Wily prime ministers, powerful begums, and eccentric chefs, this book is replete with little-known information, and, accompanied with beautiful illustrations, gives an interesting overview of the lives of the different Nawabs who gave the city its distinctive history and culture.
An eminent writer and columnist, Ravi Bhatt is visiting faculty at the University of Lucknow. His area of research is history, culture and the Nawabs of Lucknow. Currently he writes two weekly columns on the history of Nawabs: one in the Hindustan Times and the other in leading Hindi daily Dainik Jagran. His columns have also regularly appeared in the Time of India and the India Express.
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