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The Life And Times of The Nawabs of Lucknow

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The Life And Times of The Nawabs of Lucknow

The Life And Times of The Nawabs of Lucknow

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Item Code: IDI858
Author: Ravi Bhatt
Publisher: Rupa Publication Pvt. Ltd.
Edition: 2006
ISBN: 8129109891
Pages: 242 (Black & White Illus: 31)
Cover: Paperback
Other Details: 8.3" X 5.4
weight of the book: 250 gms
Preface

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.

Contents
Preface9
An Overview11
Palace Politics15
The First Nawab's Last Decision16
Saasat Khan's Successor20
King for Three-and-a-half Hours24
The Culture of Coins26
The Fall of Nawab Wazir Ali28
A Pawn becomes King31
Why the Prime Minister was not Punished34
The Minister-Maker37
Unique Eunuchs of Awadh40
What's in a Name?42
Corruption in Haider's Court43
Shia Ulama in Awadh46
The Battle between a Mother and her Son50
The Fight to Keep Awadh53
Was Amjad Ali's Minister a Spy?55
Palace to Rented House57
The Nawab who did not Dance60
The Truth behind the Nawab's Marriage61
How the Nawabs were used as Pawns62
Legal Action against the King64
A Palace is turned into a Kennel66
Art and Culture69
Delhi's Loss is Lucknow's Gain70
The Palace of Learning73
The First Institute of Shia Theology75
Underground Poetry Sittings in Lucknow76
Schools of Art in Awadh77
Popularisation of Classical Music78
The Eccentric Singer of Lucknow80
The Artist who refused to sing for the Nawab82
Poets and Politics83
Mirza Ghalib Joins a Debate85
Poets who Ruled Awadh86
The Art of Calligraphy88
Begums93
Procurement of Fairies94
The Nawab's Daughter100
The Chequered Life of Bahu Begum 102
A Fine for not spending the Night106
Blind Love107
Badsha Begum's Last Days108
A Tawaif becomes a Queen111
Iraq in the Heart of Lucknow114
Bribes for a Begum117
A Rags-to-Riches Story119
The Nawab's English Wife123
A Virgin Queen's Apartment125
The Slave who Became Queen127
A Punishment for a Prince129
A Greengrocer's Daughter becomes Queen131
How Royal Harems were managed133
Prostitute Arrested for Opposing Marriage135
A Lucknowi Soap Opera137
The Faithful Alam Ara139
How Wajid Ali Organised his Harem141
The Dastardly Acts of the Nawabs142
The Begum who Ruled Lucknow for a Year146
The Romantic Life of Wajid Ali Shah149
The Begums' Revenge151
Life and Living in Lucknow153
The Tawaifs of Lucknow154
Cult of the Courtesans156
The Nawab and the Djinns159
The Bridegroom's Jewellery161
Cockfights in Lucknow163
Muslims Celebrated Holi, Hindus Observed Muharram166
A Fatwa for Communal harmony168
The Chef and the Prime Minister170
A Chef's Pride is Hurt172
Wajid Ali Shah Plays Lord Krishna173
Did the King only Dance with the barber?174
Pigeons and Parrots176
The Great Storytellers178
The Toots of Lucknow's Carefree Attitude180
The Prince of Wales and the Nawab182
A Courtesan for Ransom183
The Banke of Lucknow186
Lucknow's Darker Side187
The Sport of Quail-Fighting189
Why the Nawab Wanted to Kill his Son191
La Martiniere193
The Prince's Punishment196
What Wine Meant to Different Nawabs197
How Ghararas came to be worn in Lucknow 199
Beneficiaries of the Nawabs' Wealth200
Maulvis in Lucknow203
Why Lucknow's Kababs are so Soft205
A Religious and Fashion Statement207
Wajid Ali Shah's Premonition209
How Chikan came to Lucknow211
Hair as a Fashion Statement213
Settling Scores in the Sky214
Begging-a Big Business216
Recreating Lucknow in Calcutta217
Bibliography219
Glossary223
Index227
Acknowledgements244
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