Nawab Amjad Ali Shah

(Detailed Notes : This may not be very good in terms of language, but gives enough sketch for the purpose of research. This text may be using some vernacular terms too, which may be otherwise hard to understand in context but we will be happy to assist in this regard)

Nawab Amjad Ali ShahReign of Amjad Ali Shah cannot be considered remarkable by any measure. Rather, deterioration set in and was visible in every sphere of life. Whatever his father Muhammad Ali Shah was able to achieve in his brief period, a down-wards trend started in Amjad Ali Shah’s reign. Muhammad Ali Shah made every effort of training his son to become a good ruler. Rather imbibing the qualities of becoming a noble ruler, Amjad Ali Shah became more of a religious bigot. The secular character of Oudh that was carefully nurtured by previous rulers was now under threat. Religious doings took precedence over state matters. Religious teachers or leaders were never supposed to take interest in state matters or care for general public. Mujtahid -ul- Asr, the religious head was offered lakhs of rupees in the name of jakat. He was also endowed with other amenities in the name of religion. Law and order problem again raised its head in serious proportion. Common public was sufferer. Revenue dwindled as people avoided to pay the state share. Public utility projects were not many. The metaling of Lucknow Kanpur road was accomplished perhaps more for the convenience of English as it facilitated movement of troops from Kanpur Cantonment. Hazratganj and Aminabad shopping centers were planned. Hazratganj developed into a fashionable shopping center in Civil Lines mostly for English and very rich people. Aminabad took its name after the Prime Minister Amin-ud-Daula who was progenitor of the park and market, which still remains the most, sought marketing center. The steel bridge project across the River Gomti was hanging fire from the times of Nasir-ud-din; it also now saw the light of the day. Other redeeming feature was that the Chief Consort of King, Mallika Kishwar Ara Begum was a very sensible lady but neither her husband nor her son heeded to her advice. Amjad Ali Shah died of cancer (naasur) after remaining on throne for five years. Perhaps Amjad Ali Shah did not have time or foresight to visualize that the end of Oudh ruling dynasty was so near. Wazid Ali Shah, son of late King succeeded but he went down in the pages of history as the last King of Oudh.

Early life and Succession

Amjad Ali Shah was not the eldest son of Muhammad Ali Shah. It was another matter that his clder brother, Ashar Ali died early and therefore claim of his son Mumtaz-ud-Daula was buried too in his grave. Succession was smooth as Muhammad Ali nominated Amjad Ali Shah as Wali Abad or the Crown Prince, during his lifetime.

Muhammad Ali Shah left no stone unturned to provide best of education to his son Amjad Ali Shah and other Princes. He desired that his son Amjad should become a good King who should be remembered for posterity. Religious education at that time formed a very important part of education. The young Prince somehow was greatly influenced by his theology teacher. He started believing that whatever the supreme head of Shia Religion Body instructed or did was the best for not only him but also everybody. So when the new King Amjad Ali Shah sat on the throne in 1842, he expected his subject also to follow the Shia leader. The King offered all the money received as jakat and placed his other resources also at the disposal of the Head of Shia Community at that time. The King thought his duties towards his subject’s especially poor people were fulfilled once the jakat money was handed over to Chief of the Shia sect of Muslims.

One of the early paintings depicts, the King was wearing a green robe, that had rich embroidery work done in gold and silver threads matched by red silk pantaloons and his shoes also displayed beautiful gold thread embroidery. Around his neck there were strings of necklaces of priceless jewels & pearls. A high bejeweled cap adorned the scalp. The portraits always show Amjad Ali Shah in highly decorated robes and wearing priceless jewellery. The King preferred to wear necklaces having at least four strings that were inlaid with costly jewels & pearls. He was also fond of magnificent headwear, and, there used to be a special table where these head wears were kept in an orderly manner. At the end of audience, the King used to present the visitor with golden embroidered garlands in silver threads with the insignia of royal court of Oudh, which had two swords, a tiara, a crown and a fish, all embossed in gold on a silver plate. The King used to place these garlands around the necks of visitors before leading them to the entrance of the palace. Von Orlich, a visitor from Germany visited Lucknow soon after the accession by Amjad Ali Shah. The English Resident, General Nott presented the foreign visitor to the King, Orlich was quite impressed by the demeanor of the King, which his recorded impressions about the meeting show in his memoirs.

King’s Religious Bigotry

The King obeyed more the diktat of a religious head rather than the precepts of good governance as expected from head of a political state. He probably gave precedence of his position in the other and unknown world rather than the world in which he lived and worked for. He wanted to be reformist par excellence purging all the evil practices that crept in Shia sect due to influence of Hindu culture. He ordered his faithfuls to stop buying articles and commodities required for daily life from the Hindu shopkeepers. By this simple measure, he wanted to check the interaction between the two communities so that further damaging influence was averted. He took measures to improve the lot of his lost sheep or Shia Muslims in the world of Allah but forgot their welfare in the world where they existed. Overnight, the Muslims became Banias & shopkeepers. Hindus changed their religion and became Muslims if they wanted to continue or coveted state positions. Jagannath Bania became Shurf-ud-Daula and Asst. Minister too though he was an illiterate person.

Breakdown of Administration

Major Bird observed that the new King Amjad Ali Shah’s policy was to maintain cordial relationship with the British Crown so that the King of Oudh was assured of the political support in the fast changing scenario of Hindoostan. British power was in ascendancy and there was continuous eclipse of Maratha, Mughal, and other notable regional and European powers. The political wisdom warranted continuation of such a policy but alas, the King failed to read the British mind that changed the destiny of Oudh in the lifetime of his son.

Amjad Ali Shah spent less time to address the grievances of the public. As a matter of fact, religious matters and royal harem took much time of Amjad Ali Shah. He did not possess the intellect of his father and therefore was not capable of major reforms needed during those times. With the result, general administration went from bad to worse in many districts of Oudh. Most of the times, the state officers overacted without the authority of the King and not knowing and assessing the implications of such actions. One such glaring example was the action taken by one Raja Darshan Singh of Baiswara and Bahraich. Raja of Balrampur who was a respectable and senior member of the court but sometimes came up with rebellious tendency. This time, the state arrears fell due and Raja Darshan Singh, the hard taskmaster, was on the job. Raja Sahib of Balrampur was afraid of some strict action by the Rajput Raja and he fled to the neighboring country, Nepal. The overzealous Nawabi Officer, Raja Darshan Singh entered the territory of Nepal in hot pursuit of Balrampur Raja. It was natural that Gorkha King of Nepal was offended and he sent a strongly worded rejoinder to the King of Oudh, for suitable amendments or else be ready for a military action. Amjad Ali Shah was also angry at such foolhardy action of Raja Darshan Singh and Raja was promptly removed from his job. Oudh state and Nepal crisis was thus averted but not before the English forces were also sounded alert on the border districts.

Lord Ellenborough the Governor General was not happy with what he heard about Oudh affairs and inept handling by the King. He took some time and after conclusion of Afghan War, sent General Nott as Envoy Extraordinary to the Court of Oudh. The General was a most amiable person and developed a good rapport with the King. General mostly focused his attention on matters such as pensions to recognized families, welfare of sepoys, suppression of Thugs and Dacoits, settlement of boundary question and overseeing the supplies of the company’ troops. The King sought his advice often on several matters. After his failing health forced General Nott to retire early, he was succeeded by another good Resident Colonel Richmond. The new Resident strictly maintained the decorum and court behavior. His sympathy and show of respect to local customs won him respect not only from the King and Oudh Nobles but the people of Lucknow as well. In the mean time, Sikh War broke out in Punjab. The Kingdom of Oudh assisted British Government liberally with both men and materials. The Resident took care to specially thank the Prime Minister Amin-ud-Daula for the state help in a specially conducted public meeting.

When Manawar-ud-Daula became Prime Minister again, he recalled Raja Darshan Singh from exile and created a new position of Inspector General. Raja Darshan Singh was authorized to propose restructuring of all the departments and implement the plan on urgent basis. This dream project remained on papers only when Raja Darshan Singh, an old man now, weakened in his body but alert in his soul and mind left in quest for lasting peace.

Accomplishments if any

King Amjad Ali Shah was a person of amenable character who was liked by his people and almost all the foreign visitors whom he met. Yet, the King lacked the determination, foresight and wisdom of his aged father. By coming under the influence of clergy, his thinking was constrained and that broadband spectrum was missing. He failed to make any improvement in the administration. Though, it must be said that he also wanted his subjects to be enlightened with the western thoughts and with this purpose, he arranged for the translation of Lord Brougham’s treatise on Science. Lord Brougham was a very happy man with the translated work and he presented another of his book on Political Economy for translation.

To his credit side, it must also be added that despite of his Shia Muslim religious moorings and apparent coolness shown towards the public interest works, King Amjad Ali Shah was able to plan and build an entirely new locality called Hazratganj, a part of civil lines, which to date remains the most beautiful, clean and modern shopping center. He also rebuilt the road linking Lucknow to Kanpur, a conversion from already existing kutcha road to a pucca road. Another notable public work accomplished was the installation of the iron bridge, which was brought from England during the times of Ghazi-ud-din Haider, and English Engineer Sinclair had the well foundation dug in the river during Nasir-ud-din’s times. The bridge remained incomplete during the reign of Muhammad Ali Shah but Amjad Ali Shah saw to its completion. However the steel bridge which stands today does not belong to Amjad Ali Shah as the original hanging type suspension bridge outlived its life and was pulled down by the British to replace by the present one. During Amjad Ali Shah’s times, his Prime Minister Amin-ud-Daula inhabited the famous Aminabad, which has become the old city main shopping center. So long the names of Hazratganj and Aminabad are not erased or superseded by other splendid shopping areas, these two are sufficient to carry forward the name of Amjad Ali Shah for generations to come.

Amjad Ali Shah managed to leave for his reserved treasury, ninety-two lakhs of rupees, one hundred and twenty four thousand gold mohurs, and twenty-four lakhs of rupees in Government papers. Although it can be stated that he was not prudent in financial management as his father enjoyed a better reputation in handling financial matters.

Mallika Kishwar Taj Ara Begum and other Begums

Chief Consort

Khatun Mauzzamah Badshah Bahu Nawab Malika-i-Kishwar Fakhr-us-Zamani Nawab Taj Ara Begun was the daughter of Amir Hasin-ud-din of Kalpi, but the family resided in Lucknow since Nawab Siraj-ud-Daula’s times. Her lineage can be traced to Khan-i-Khanan of Delhi. Her mother Vilayti Begum was the daughter of Nawab Saadat Ali Khan. Mallika was Chief Consort of Amjad Ali Shah and mother of Wajid Ali Shah. She was popularly called Janab-i-Alia. Some European historians also addressed her as Alia Begum.

Her exquisite beauty coupled with her qualities of head and heart, won her the admiration of King Amjad Ali Shah and she became the Chief Consort. She was of delicate build, her broad shoulders dominating and a smile always played on her lips. Her whole countenance and graceful movements provided impressive personality that demanded a natural respect from the others. She had a cheerful disposition and greatly devoted to her husband. A highly cultured and a pious lady, given to the cause of charity and to whom her women subjects looked for justice. In her court, she had company of eminent ladies well versed in several departments like religious teachings, storytelling and host of other art forms. She liked to devote her living between Chhatar Manzil, Chaulakhi Mahal and Dwarkadhish. During winter, she used to enjoy the reflections in the clear water of River Gomti and sunlight at Chhatar Manzil. Natural scenic beauty of the dense vegetation and tall shaded trees across the River was most fascinating view, which caught the attention of Begum who used to spend her afternoon siesta on the terrace of Chhatar Manzil. Once during rainy season, Begum saw an old woman carried away from great currents of the River Gomti, Begum immediately ordered for the rescue of the woman. The old lady was saved and after providing her with food, clothing & money, she was allowed to go. Begum arranged for food distribution to the poor throughout the year but warm clothing items were distributed only during the winter months. She always showed great concern for the poor. The summer months were spent in Chaulakhi Mahal, which was larger than Chhatar Manzil and had basements in plenty. It also had a beautiful garden with fountains, waterfalls cascades and had a collection of scented flower plants of summer season like Bela, Chameli, Champa and Jubi. Mornings were the usual hours when ladies of harem collected there. When the Begum desired to have a walk, all the male servants were asked to leave and only the close friends and maids were allowed to provide the company whose number some time exceeded 100 on the occasion. Moonlit nights were also special when the Begum and ladies of the royal harem frolicked around like children and made lot of noises. The expansive green areas of the palaces, which boasted high quality soft grass turfs, were ideal for the Begum’s regular two miles (3.2 kms) walk taken throughout the year except the rainy season. She never used horses but preferred either riding in silver howdah on an elephant or palanquin for any official or private visit.

Every day bathing ritual consisted of washing only the face and feet carefully. The wholesome bath was very special and days were fixed, as it needed much effort in preparation and time. Large copper cauldrons were brought and filled with hot and cold waters to provide the mixed water with required temperature for the bath. Three maids were specially trained for the whole bathing process that consisted of careful preparation of bath water of sweet fragrance, disrobing the Begum, preparation & application of the gram flour (Besan) paste on the body parts which was done some twenty times or more. The application of the paste was accompanied by gentle massaging also. The regal bath took more than two hours. After bathing, the Begum wore ordinary type of light cotton clothes and preferred to wear pearl jewellery in place of gold one. Begum despised to wear very heavy brocade regal clothing and heavy gold jewellery but when forced to wear on special occasions, she felt very tired, almost unconscious, fell down on the bed and screamed for relief from the clothes and jewelry immediately. Begum had a very delicate constitution and therefore avoided heavy jewellery. She even left nursing of her son Wajid Ali Shah completely in the hands of her maidservants and probably this neglect of her son cost her dearly later on as it affected the personality of Wazid Ali Shah. After the death of Amjad Ali Shah, her husband, Begum stopped wearing bulaak, nathuni but used to wear other jewellery.

Serving of food was another great occasion especially when King also joined the royal dastarkhwan. The firing of gun salute always marked the arrival of King. With his entry thus announced in the palace, the band started playing scintillating tunes and stopped only when the King took his seat at the dinner place. The royal dastarkhwan that was spread over soft cotton filled mattresses was in square shaped and had beautiful embroidery decoration of floral design done in silk with a beautiful embroidered big sized lotus flower in the middle. A chowki (a low height table) of size 32 in x 42 in (12.5cm x 16.5 cm) and made in solid silver was then placed on the dastarkhwan for the Begum where as the chowki kept for the King was higher and bigger in size. The last food was partaken after sunset. About more than 30 food items were served which consisted of preparations made from meat, vegetables, rice pulao, baked wheat breads and sweets. Sweets were covered with silver & gold foils. Spoons were used in taking food. Silver plates & water glasses of gold were used. The King took wine but Begum refrained from any kind of alcoholic beverages and instead preferred fruit juices. Begum also used to drink water in which pearls were soaked for long time. After the dinner was over, a hookah was served to both the King and Begum. Tobacco in the hookah was prepared after considerable effort so that the required flavor of sweet taste was produced. If the hookah and tobacco were not prepared properly, the King got angry and scolded the hookah bardar or the officer responsible. Court jesters and bhands performed to please the King and then came the storytellers who were experts in creating right type of mood for the occasion.

There were several incidents that shall be told now to show the facet of kindhearted Begum. Although on one of these, the quaint Reader might question the measure of kindness bestowed. Narration of the old lady floating in the River Gomti during rains and her rescue had already been done. The old lady was granted a pension and thereafter lived happily with her family, spending the rest of life showering praises on Begum. Yet in another bizarre incident, a maidservant of trust who was in charge of the royal treasure betrayed the belief of Begum and stole valuables from the Khichri wala Box. The royal treasure of Begum was kept in basement where several large sized Shisham wood boxes and steel almirahs were kept. The boxes contained dresses and steel almirahs had all the jewellery stored. There was one large sized steel box or trunk right in the middle, which was there since the times of Muhammad Ali Shah. It was called Khichri wala box as it contained assorted valuables like gold & diamond pieces, gold-silver coins, Asharfies and all types of valuables, which were stored for emergency purpose only. The entry to the basement was heavily guarded by soldiers and the bunch of keys of this basement & royal boxes were kept with the Begum and was in the knowledge of only few trusted ones. Once this young lady who was in charge of the keys, somehow got hold of the keys of Khichri wala box while Begum was away and removed some of the valuables. Incident of such magnitude seldom remained unnoticed for long. Some of the palace officials, who went to the market the following day, heard the rumor of sale of royal diamonds. The jewelers involved were taken to task and the full story of theft came to the light. The lady was caught, severely punished to disclose the truth and at last she accepted her crime. The lady was paraded for several days in the palace compound, accompanied with repeated announcements that the lady had fought a heinous crime of touching the royal treasure, which was prohibitive for anybody to touch. Finally the Begum felt pity on her and remembering her past and the childhood association with, she was pardoned and restored to her original position. Once the Begum heard that the King had taken a fancy to the ayah of her younger child. The King used to shower presents on the ayah. The ayah also used to wear costly clothes and ride in the Begum’s carriage during her absence. The Begum became furious and seethed with rage at the very thought that her husband had married the ayah. Once while the ayah was asleep after hard day’s work, Begum maneuvered pouring of acid over the face of ayah to disfigure her. The ayah shuddered, cried in agony and her shrieks were frightening. King was amazed to hear the fearful revenge that was beyond his imagination. He could not do anything in the matter as the fault was entirely his and kept mum over the incident lest it became another scandal. The King thought of another plan to teach the Begum a lesson in the matter. The King took fancy for the daughter of a malin or a lady flower seller and married her by mutah practice of Shia sect. In course of time, the young paramour had a baby child of Amjad Ali Shah. When the story reached the ears of Begum, she, like a wounded tigress, appeared before the King and scolded him. The King kept silent and meekly replied that under the directives of Quran Sharif; a Muslim can marry and have four wives. The Begum retorted, “Yes, one could marry and keep four wives but when you have become old, teeth fallen out and body was weak, it does not allow you to marry. And that too with the daughter of a malin with whom the other day your own servants used to enjoy. Will this not create inerasable and permanent insult to the crown of Oudh?”

On another occasion, when Begum was given the information that the King had started displaying his favors to a beautiful lady, she stopped taking food. When this action of her did not get any response, she left the comforts of sleeping on the bed. The King came to know this, he personally visited the Begum and after considerable cajoling, the matter was finally settled amicably.

One of Wazid Ali Shah’s wives, Badshah Mahal alias Khas Mahal never liked her mother in law Malika Kishwar Bahadur Begum and it was rumored that she attempted to take the life of Begum on at least two occasions. Once, a white powder like substance was found inside the mouth pipe of Begum’s hookah. The chemical examination revealed that the substance was a deadly poison. Yet on another occasion, a snake was found crawling in the bed of the Begum. Many snake charmers of Lucknow were called but the snake responded to the been (snake-charmers flute) played by only one person. When that snake charmer was interrogated, he revealed how with the help of a maidservant, the snake was brought inside the palace and left under the bed of Begum with the instructions of Badshah Mahal Sahiba. The maidservant, messenger and the snake charmer were severely punished and confined in the dark basements of the palace.

After the death of Amjad Ali Shah, the Begum took the life of piety. She used to study Quran, listened to the poor and needy persons and helped them as far as possible. She left wearing ornaments and started wearing simple dress and attire. She also spent time in looking after the son of the malin’s (flower seller) daughter.

Difficulties continued to stare the Begum. The East India Company annexed Oudh and Wajid Ali Shah was deposed from the throne of Oudh and sent away to Calcutta. The Begum did not accept the fait accompli lying low. Instead she decided to sail for England to personally meet Queen Victoria and appeal for restoration of the lost kingdom of Oudh. Begum failed in her mission and she died in France while planning to go to Mecca. The story of Begum’s arrival in England and her meeting with Queen Victoria shall be told in a separate chapter to follow.

Secondary Begums of the King

Though Amjad Ali Shah was in great love with Malika Kishwar Ara Begum but as was fashionable during those times, he kept host of secondary wives to give company. Some of these at times wielded much power. Nawab Khusroo Begum, Malika Gaetee, Nawab Malika Ahad Taj Muqqadamat, Nawab Faqfur Mahal Sultan Mahal, Mumtaj-ul-Nisa Khanum, Sakina Khanum, Masahib Khanum and Hussaini Khanum were the names that were mentioned by contemporary writers and Col. Sleeman, the English Resident. The triumvirate of Begums like Hussaini Khanum, Sakina Khanum and Masahib Khanum considered, “- the King as fool-“. They wanted to deprive Darshan Singh and his brother from their estate and give to their relations.

Malika-e-Ahad Taaje Makhrdaat Nawab Faqfur Mahal Sultan Mahal was the daughter of a vegetable and flower vendor and the King got infatuated with her in 1846. It was the story of love at first sight and the Bride was just sweet sixteen at that time. The marriage was kept a secret and Malika Kishwar Ara Begum was furious when the gun salutes were fired from the Palace at the time of birth of the baby boy. She and her son were not allowed to see the ailing King by the orders of Malika Kishwar Ara Begum. When the end of King was near, Begum allowed the son to see his father. Ilahi Jan has described this tragic scene in her narration, as given earlier. After her death, King Wazid Ali Shah wanted to appropriate her cash and valuables but the British Resident intervened and provided for her relations.

Another lady, who was already married and having a battery of children but it goes to her credit that still she was able to draw the attention of the King of Oudh and became his wife. She had served as a slave girl of Zeena Begum, the daughter of Suja-ud-Daula.Both she and her son Sulaian Qadr were in great books of the King, which was evident from the high amount of pensions they were allowed. She took part in the uprising of 1857 and tried hard to get his so declared the King of Oudh by the Rebel Leaders but did not succeed. The British tried her after the rebellion was quelled. The puníshment she got was reduction in her pension from Rs 7000 to Rs 1000 and confiscation of her properties.

Last Days of the King

The times were such that intrigues of the royal court and palaces were always talked about in public places with hushed voices in almost all over the countries, Royal Court of Oudh was therefore not an exception. King Nasir-ud-Din Haider was always suspicious of a conspiracy to eliminate him. King Amjad Ali Shah died of cancer (carbuncle) that appeared on his shoulder. Hakims (practitioners of indigenous system of medicine) diagnosed it as naasur (an ailment that cannot be treated). He was in considerable pain for days together. It was said that the Begum had an announcement done that who so ever Hakim would cure the ailing King, that person would be suitably rewarded. A Hakim appeared and claimed that he would cure the King within three days. He applied a kind of balm over the so-called naasur but the poison spread throughout the body and made the condition of King still worse. Sowars were sent to bring the Hakim but the person disappeared and was untraceable. This incident was certainly the type, which created doubts. Moreover Wajid Ali Shah being the heir apparent had a moral duty to look after the health of the King but he did not care much and was busy in his pursuit of pleasure with usual jest. To rub salt over wounds, as the saying goes, the son started preparations for coronation even during the times of his father’s illness. This apathy of the son was really heartbreaking for the mother. On his last day, the King ordered for decorating the court anew New rugs, carpets, cover sheets were spread and large sized pillows were kept. The King groomed himself with new clothes and then lay down. Begum was called and both cried together. All the servants and royal followers present on that occasion also started weeping. The whole atmosphere was full of gloom. Resting his head over the shoulders of his Chief Consort Mallika Kishwar Ara Begum, the King whispered many thìngs to her. It was said that the King again cautioned the Begum of not allowing Wajid Ali Shah to ascend the throne. Amjad Ali Shah later told her to depart, as he felt sleepy. The maidservants covered the sheet over the King, All those present including the Begum thought that the King was sleeping where as he was already dead, Mallika Kishwar Ara Begum always suspected that her own son Wajid Ali Shah was responsible for the death of her husband. She was certain that the King’s physician was bribed to apply poison on the naasur developed on the body of her husband. The English Resident was informed. Camp followers of Wajid Ali Shah congratulated him and soon the atmosphere of gloom was turned in to the one of happiness, merry making and laughter. Without losing time, Wajid Ali Shah put on the coronation robes and called the Resident, the Queen Mother and Prime Minister to attend coronation ceremony in Imambara. The dead body of Amjad Ali Shah was left in the hands of palace servants. It was a strange mix of sadness and happiness. On one side the band was playing and canons were being fired where as on the other side there were people who were busy in preparation of the dead body of Amjad Ali Shah for the janaza procession and final burial ceremony. Begum had to stay till midnight at the Imambara for completion of the coronation ceremony and oath taking by all the leading people of the court. King Amjad Ali Shah died before noon and as soon as the preparations were completed, the body was taken out from the palace after the sunset when darkness prevailed. So it was all over when the Begum returned in the midnight. It was really tragic that the members of royal family did not have the freedom of expression of grief and participation in the final departure of the late King from this world. The palace was agog with rumors that something was wrong and the new King was a part of it.

Only few days ago before the occurrence of death of Amjad Ali Shah, Mirza Sulaiman Qadr, the young son of Nawab Faghfur Mahal (daughter of a flower seller and the wife of Amjad Ali Shah by contract marriage) was sent by her mother to see his dying father. The mother knew very well that she herself would never be allowed to see her husband for she was well conversant with the inflamed mood of Mallika Kishwar Ara Begum against her. Khawajasara went and announced the purpose of Sulaiman Qadr to the ailing King, The reply of King was, “Let Saheb-e-Alam be admitted and see me”. Mallika Kishwar Ara Begum who was present at that time in the room expressed with consternation that now who was this daughter of a King or Prince whose son Saheb-e-Alam had come to see his father on deathbed. Then she called the boy for presentation before the King. The Chief Consort took the boy in her lap and lovingly asked him that what his mother was doing. The boy replied that she was crying since my father the King was not keeping well. Tears appeared in the eyes of Begum Kishwar Ara Begum and she stroked his cheeks and gave him a kiss. The King took the hands of Begum in his laps and told her that the mother of the boy was of no consequence and the boy was being handed over to her and she had to look after his well being from now onwards.

The palace intrigues also set aside the claims of Mustafa Ali Khan Haider, the eldest son of Amjad Ali Shah. Mustafa was declared an insane person and confined to a secluded place. Some historians have opined that injustice was done to Mustafa and had he been the next Ruler of Oudh, perhaps annexation would have been delayed if not prevented at all. Mustafa was always considered a person of sound judgment and a balanced temperament. The elder stepbrother of Wajid Ali Shah, Mirza Mustafa Ali was the son of Sultan Mahal Imtiyaz-un-Nissa and he lived in Shahi Deodi, Buniyad Manzil near Sadat Ganj. He moved without a cap throughout his life, which was unusual in those days. He was under the treatment of Hakim Sehat-ul-Daula and Dr. Freyer of Residency. He felt most unhappy when General Outram entered the city with his army. He expressed his grief that it was much better to sweep in Karbala Sharif rather than living in Lucknow now. In June 1857 uprising, British imprisoned him in Residency to prevent any untoward happening as he was in direct line of succession to the throne of Oudh. He died in captivity and was buried in the compound of Residency itself. His grave is right there in front of Residency Museum, built on a raised platform and beneath a tree. When he lived, there was no royal chhatra (umbrella) for him but in death, he found a green canopy, which is tenderly guarding the person in eternal sleep. Amjad Ali Shah departed from this world on 13th of February 1847. Some people put of his death as 1848 when he was hardly 48 years old. His body was taken to the Mendu Khan Risaldar’s cantonment in the western part of his inhabited locality of Hazratganj. Wazid Ali Shah built an Imambara building at a cost of Rs 10 lakhs at the place of burial, which is said to be a low cost version of Hussainabad Imambara. Outside the compound, there exist commercial shops and many Eurasians used to live inside the compound. It used to be the duty of those who resided within the premises to illuminate the Imambara during the days of Muharram.

Wajid Ali Shah, who was the second son and declared as Wali Ahad in lifetime of late King, now ascended the throne of Oudh.



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