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Wajid Ali Shah

  • The 201st birth anniversary of Wajid Ali Shah was marked on July 30th, 2023.

This topic of “Wajid Ali Shah” is important from the perspective of the UPSC IAS Examination, which falls under General Studies Portion.

Who

  • Wajid Ali Shah was the 11th Nawab of Awadh.
  • He was a noted poet, dancer, and playwright.

Known for

  • Wajid Ali Shah was known for nurturing the Lucknow Gharana of Kathak dance and providing patronage for thumri music.
  • He is also linked to the development of Galouti kebab, a popular dish containing 160 different kinds of spices.
  • Among his notable works is Ishqnama, a composition focusing on music and women.

Significance

  • He was the last Nawab of Awadh.
  • His deposition by the British contributed to the 1857 Revolt, as he showed no inclination to fight the British and was eventually deposed by them on charges of misgovernance and debauchery. However, in reality, he tried to reform the administration and even wrote a detailed book on administration.

When

  • Wajid Ali Shah lived from 1822 to 1887.
  • He reigned as the Nawab of Awadh from 1847 to 1856.

Where

  • He lived in the region that is now known as Lucknow, India.

Facts

  • After his deposition, Wajid Ali Shah was imprisoned for two years at Fort William.
  • Upon his release, he was given a pension of Rs 1 lakh per month and established himself at Garden Reach, on the outskirts of then-Calcutta.
  • His residence at Garden Reach was named ‘Sultan Khana’, and he created a ‘court’ there.

Wajid Ali Shah was not only a Nawab but also a prolific artist and cultural patron, contributing significantly to the arts and music of his time. His reign and deposition hold historical importance, especially in the context of the 1857 Revolt against British rule.

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