(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)
Shuja-ud-Daula’s only son Asaf-ud-Daula succeeded him. Whether he wanted to live away from the influence of his mother and grandmother, or some other reason, he directed the capital of Oudh to be transferred immediately from Faizabad to Lucknow. The Begums of Oudh, as they are known in history books continued to live in Faizabad. Rumi Darwaza, Bara Imambara, Daulat Khana and Bibiapur Kothi were some of the outstanding buildings built by Asaf-ud-Daula for which Lucknow city is acclaimed even today. These buildings blazed a new trail as these were neither Mughal nor Western in concept but wholly Hindoostani and different. The English found the accession of new Nawab to masnad of Oudh as opportunity to tighten their vice like grip over the affairs of Oudh, which resulted in the rich province of Oudh turning in to a debtor state. Territorial area of Oudh was also reduced by parting gift of Benares and Jaunpur districts to English. Outwardly the city of Lucknow glittered but hollowness of control of Nawab over Oudh affairs was becoming apparent. Reign of Asaf-ud-Daula was also marked by the outburst of Oudh deshi troops against the English officers and troops stationed in Oudh. Not only for the grand buildings he built, but Asaf-ud-Daula will also be remembered for his incongruous act of extorting money from Begums of Oudh in collusion with English. However the general public remembered the Nawab for his benevolence in helping the poor especially during the severe draught times. It is said that every shopkeeper in Lucknow when opened his shop in the morning, placed their faith in Nawab more than God, by chanting, ‘Jis ko naa de Maula us ko de Asaf-ud-Daula’. That simply means a needy person was sure of the help from Asaf-ud-Daula whom God had also forsaken. Even the fakirs in the streets of Chowk area of Lucknow also remembered the Nawab while they used to beg alms from the passersby.
His English friends in Calcutta turned down his request for reduction in Company’s expenditure in Oudh. The deterioration in health and end of Nawab name rather early, which was perhaps accentuated with mounting English debts, and continued poor financial condition of his province. In death, the Nawab found peace, which he could not find in life.
Faizabad to Lucknow
The year 1775 saw the accession of Mirza Amani to the masnad of Oudh, with the assumed name of Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula. Immediately, the capital was also transferred from Faizabad to Lucknow. Some observers say that Asaf-ud-Daula did not see eye to eye the Begums of Oudh. Some are of the opinion that to avoid any possible clash between the two factions i.e. son and formidable combination of mother and grandmother, it was thought to keep the two at separate places. Asaf-ud-Daula was of independent mind and this was one way of proclaiming his independence from the past. The English postulated that a new treaty had to be signed as the old one was buried along with his late father. In the new treaty of 1776, he was confirmed the possession of Allahabad and Karah, which were handed over to Emperor Shah Aalam in fulfillment of the old treaty though these formed the part of Oudh earlier. Nawab had to concede the rich districts of Benares and Jaunpur worth a potential value of Rs 75 lakhs and net revenue yield of Rs 25 lakhs annually. He was also required to pay 312,000 English Pounds on yearly basis to meet the expenditure of posting of additional troops and establishment for better defense of the province. This equation of give and take was rather very strange. The East India Company was meeting the obligations of Mughal Emperor on her own although both the Nawab and the Company being the servants of Mughal Emperor, were not enjoined with the power to negotiate on territorial division of the sort.
After security of the province was ensured with the help of East India Company, Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula diverted his attention towards making the city of Lucknow resplendent with spectacular buildings and creation of luxuries available elsewhere in the world. He wanted Lucknow a jewel of Hindustan and no less than the capitals of other provinces or kingdoms in grandeur. Delhi was gasping for last breadth. Srirangapatnam and Mysore of Tipu Sultan were some of those cities, which Asaf-ud-Daula’s Lucknow was competing to surpass. Peshwa’s Pune in Maharashtra and Hyderabad of Nizam were the other cities. Nawab extravagance reached a high note when his son Wazir Ali was married. There were twelve hundred elephants in the Bridegroom’s party, which formed a part of the long procession. The Bridegroom wore a dress, which alone had 10 lakhs rupees worth jewels stitched to it. For the royal entertainment, two large sized shamianas (tents) were specially fabricated of costly cloth like zardosi, chaneel, satin and silk tapestry with gold and silver threads. Each of these two shamianas measured 60 ft (18m) wide, 120ft (36 m) long and 60 ft (18 m) high which cost to the tune of 10 lakhs.
Shortly afterwards, the Nawab sent a formal peshkash to the Mughal Emperor accompanied with 5000 troops and cavalry to Delhi. The Oudh troops’ arrival in Delhi was a great moral booster for the Mughal Emperor and to get rid from the cliché of Zabita Khan Ruhela. Gratified by the timely help, the Mughal Emperor conferred the nominal Wazarat or Prime minister ship of Hindustan on Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula, which was once held by his father. Asaf-ud-Daula maintained a very cordial relationship with Delhi. Prince Jahandar Bakht Shah escaped from Red Fort, Delhi and sought shelter at Lucknow, The Prince was accorded a cordial welcome with all the respect in commensuration with his status. Later the Prince settled at Benares once again from where he went to help his father in Delhi. The Prince appealed to Lord Cornwallis, then Governor General at Calcutta, for his rightful claim to the throne. His appeal was not entertained and he was forced to live on pension and died in Benares.
Nawab had to survive the two rebellions from his troops, which were more due to his policies and mishandling, His notorious ministers and advisors were no less to be blamed for these happenings. The first one occurred because of increased English presence in Oudh, which shall be discussed later. The second rebellion occurred due to conspiracy of the Minister Mokhtar-ud-Daula and part blame went to Nawab Wazir also. The end was a great human tragedy where a part of the famous Oudh army was completely wiped out to a man for no fault. Basheer Khan was given the command of Oudh troops in Rohilkhand. He was powerful person and his growing popularity alarmed the so-called loyalists who saw in him their doom. Nawab Wazir was fed with all kind of stories about the man and the Nawab Wazir ordered his execution and seizure of all his properties. Basheer Khan had to flee for his life and took refuge with Najib Khan Rohila, serving Minister and Protector of Mughal Emperor. Asaf-ud-Daula wanted to enter in to pact with Rajputs and Jats to take action against Basheer Khan but was prevented from doing so by the English Resident Bristow.
Nawab was also confronted with the open defiance of Gusains Anup Guru and Umrao Guru who were left with the charge of Doaba from the times of Suja. Both the Gosains found the moment right to exert their independence, as both the Nawab and his minister were persons of not much military merit. However the Nawab was not required to open hostilities against them as both the Gosains retracted and granted pardon for mere asking.
However discontent and anger were brewing amongst the nobles of the court, which were not so much directed against the Nawab but more against his minister Murtaza Khan and worthless advisors. The nobles approached Saadat Ali, the stepbrother and former Governor of Rohilkhand to join the conspiracy and to which he readily agreed. The Nawab had in his army a very capable military commander by the name of Basant Ali, a eunuch, who had very good reputation as a brave soldier and possessor of extra ordinary talents. The conspiring leaders sought the help of Basant Ali in the elimination game. The assassination of wretched Murtaza Ali was carried out while Basant Ali and other conspirators in the plot were lavishly entertaining him. The Nawab was furious at the happening and issued orders for immediate execution of Basant Ali. Thus was the end of a loyal and faithful soldier from the times of Shuja. Other conspirators fled from the scene including Saadat Ali who galloped away till he reached Agra and sought refuge with Nazib Khan. The Nawab bereft of his brother, a minister and a capable military General. The Nawab was beseeched with daunting problems. Military and civilian unrest, increased English presence and interference, revenue decrease, multifold increase in expenditure and mounting English dues for their establishment in Oudh were enough to unnerve any ruler.
East India Company provided liberal military help to Nawab in his Rohilkhand campaign. Later, the troops raised temporarily for the campaign were made regular and the Nawab was asked to bear the expenditure, which amounted to some 3120,000 Rupees annually. Nawab also inducted more English officers in Oudh army as a part of modernization plan and also to please his English friends. These English military officers were highly paid as compared to their native counterparts, enjoyed luxurious life style and they also looked down the natives. Their overbearing behavior and arrogance created discontent amongst the Oudh troops. It resulted in outburst. Sepoys of Nawab army rebelled against their English officers while campaigning at Jhansi. At that time, Nawab was engaged in action against Marathas near Etawah. Sepoys of Nawab army fought against the Matchlock men commanded by English officers. The accidental explosion of a tumbrel somehow stopped the fight.
The East India Company was being paid 45 lakhs of rupees annually to meet the expenditure of Oudh establishment. The regularization of troops, which fought against Rohillas, came as additional burden on the exchequer of Oudh. A host of English advisors from Calcutta ranging from agriculture, military matters, trade, and cloth factory were thrust on Nawab to assist in the administration of province. To name few of these: General Claude Martin, Colonel Scott, Hannay, Sir Eyre Coot of Karnataka fame were some outstanding names. All of these so called Lucknow jobs which were highly lucrative in terms of pay, allowances, pension, gratuity and other compensation besides opportunity for additional earnings attracted every English man landing at Calcutta. One of these officers Sir Eyre Coote was serving in Karnataka, fighting Tipu Sultan in southern region assignment but drawing his monthly salary of about Rs 15,500 from the Oudh treasury. Martin amassed a huge fortune by holding lucrative jobs like of in charge arsenal under the Nawab. Colonel Scott had the monopoly in cotton and cotton trade. Hannay held terror over trans-Ghagra region. The charges of these so-called English advisors went on increasing the bill of the Company enormously. The bill stood one crore rupees annually where as the revenue collection was 70 lakhs rupees in spite of relentless coercive measures adopted by the officials. The result was the complete ruin of financial health of Oudh Govt. There were arrear in payment of salaries of Nawab employees and outstanding debts. To compound the difficulties of the general public, the great famine occurred during the years 1784-86. Nawab made great effort in ameliorating the general distress felt by the public by starting relief measures on a large scale. The construction of Bara Imambara was taken up to provide employment to the people. Even well to do families were not left untouched by the famine. Rich people who felt embarassed to work during daytime were provided employment during nighttime at the construction sites. In spite of these efforts thousands of people died in the countryside, With the economy failing. The lawlessness prevailed. A number of marauding small gangs roved in the countryside looting and depriving the public of their belongings whatever left after their own use. The discontented public rose in rebellion at several places against the oppressive officers. One of these was Colonel Hannay who was asked to leave Gorakhpur after he failed to realize substantial outstanding dues for the state. However there was no deficiency in his personal fortune, which was estimated 3 lakhs of rupees as Hannay was perhaps the most corrupt and tyrant company official posted in Oudh.
There was no dearth of many good English men even at that time who have drawn attention towards the evil deeds of their own countrymen in the “Lucknow jobs” and reduction of Oudh province to abject poverty. Torren’s, Empire in Asia’ and Irwin’s, Garden of India’ have aptly drawn the picture before the coming of English and after the English men have stayed for some time in the province of Oudh. From the ancient times, Sultanate period and early Mughals, the province of Oudh always enjoyed prosperity. The influential nobles vied with each other to be the subedars of Oudh, It was once called ‘ Garden of India’ and now in 1779, the same green countryside was reduced to the wretched condition of desert. The revenue which exceeded 4 crores now hardly exceeded even 1 crore. Emulating Hannay, groups of rogue people fanned in the countryside, faked as collection officers of the company, collected dues and market fees by forcing closure of existing mandis (bulk supply markets) and opening their own controlled ones.
Under the treaty agreements and cover of security, there was increase in company troops. The increase in cost of two brigades was 80 lakhs where as for the other regularized troops of the company, the increment was 40 lakhs over and above the regular amount charged to the Oudh treasury annually which Nawab was obliged to pay. To the military cost now one should add the cost of civil agencies maintained by the company. The establishment costs of Residency were Rs 6 1/2 lakhs and the cost of private agency for revenue collection was Rs 12 lakhs. The woe of ever mounting expenditure did not end here. There were other charges which company officials were entitled and these came under perks and privileges. Allowances, occasional gifts, death compensation and amounts were some of these privileges which alone amounted a lot to the mounting debt against the empty Oudh treasury. Nawab had to dole out 11 lakhs of rupees as present to the company troops which saw action on 26th October 1794. Again on recovery of English King George-III from a recent serious illness, the Nawab presented to the attending doctor a sum of Rs 25,000 and equal amount given to the charity. The Nawab seeing no end to his coming out from the financial crisis ultimately decided to appeal to the Governor General in Calcutta for reduction of company’s expenditure in Oudh. He submitted that allowances to the family and dependents of ex-Nawab’s family were reduced to one fourth and his own staff had not received their salaries for the past two years. The Governor General treated the petition with contempt and refused to entertain it. Warren Hastings the then Governor General expressed his desire to visit the Nawab and settle the matter of outstanding company’s dues. The Nawab by this time had come to know the fate of Raja Chet Singh of Benares and he was in no mood to entertain Hastings at Lucknow. (Hastings went to Benares to realize the company’s dues, which were in arrear for many years, but the people of Benares rose in favor of their Raja and Hastings had to flee in haste. “Ghore per Hauda, Hathi per jeen; Bhag Chale Warren Hastings”, the Hindi couplet described the state in which Hastings had to leave Benares. The hauda meant for elephant was kept on the horse’s back and the saddle of the horse was kept on the elephant back. The incident resulted in unfortunate Raja Chet Singh losing his kingdom of Benares.) The Nawab therefore took precaution and collecting his officials went to meet Hastings at Chunargarh. Asaf-ud-Daula pleaded that whatever was possible had been paid and he was not in position to pay any further arrear amount. After some bargaining, the Governor General was made to soften his stand after the Nawab presented him with a personal purse of ten lakhs of rupees. A way out was thought in consultation with the English Resident Middleton, the original evil idea seeded by the Governor General himself. On earlier occasions, the Nawab had privately hinted that his mother and grandmother known as Begums of Oudh were the owners of a vast fortune but he was deprived of any help from them. The wily Hastings and Middleton confided Asaf-ud-Daula to extort by force money from the Begums if they did not agree to lend him the money otherwise. The Nawab was horrified to hear the suggestion and withdrew from the meeting and decision. The extortion of money from the Begums of Oudh shall form the subject of another story, which shall be discussed later. It was also agreed in the meeting that the Nawab of Rampur Faizullah Khan should be asked to contribute 15 lakhs of rupees to meet the arrears of the company. Hastings was satisfied for the time being but the problems of Nawab were not coming to end with these temporary measures. There was no money to meet the personal household expenditure of Nawab. It was said that conditions reached to the extent that his personal staff and members were at the brink of starvation. Nawab again approached the Governor General and a meeting took place at Lucknow in 1784. There were several decisions taken in the meeting, which included the curtailment of Residency expenditure, withdrawal of Farrukhabad Brigade and payment of adjusted arrear amount in reasonable time limit. Apparently on ink and paper, the agreement looked fine but as they say the taste of pudding is in eating, the pudding in this case turned out sour in taste. The Farrukhabad Brigade was not withdrawn, The Private Agency retainment charge alone of Rs 12 lakhs continued as agreed that included the annual salary bill of Major Palmer of Rs 2,28,000. Now Hastings was in England after completing his term in Hindoostan and Lord Cornwallis came as the new Governor General. Asaf-ud-Daula sent his emissary Hyder Baig to Cornwallis to express the inability to pay and a prayer to offload the financial burden of the Nawab. To rub salt to one’s wound is a very old idiom. This is exactly what Cornwallis did. Instead of reduction, he increased the amount from Rs 34 lakh to 50 lakh in cash with the advice that cash payments always resulted in betterment of the friendship bond. Lord Cornwallis no doubt studied the malpractices in the Lucknow jobs and tried to remove some but the savings were not substantial and more of white wash. Then the Governor General felt eruditely and gave a scintillant? talk on how to govern when the Nawab met him in October 1795 at Lucknow. The Nawab heard the lecture attentively and swallowed it with a pill of opium to calm off. Cornwallis selected Hyder Baig as minister to Nawab as great hidden qualities were found in the man, which others failed to notice.
Next came Sir John Shore at the helm of affairs of the company in Hindoostan. He visited the Nawab at Lucknow in Feb 1797 with, “-a sight of good advice”, to regain solvency. Shore offered to protect the Nawab from the supposed attack of Zaman Shah of Kabul for protection money of Rs 5 ½ lakhs and enforced two additional regiments to be stationed in Oudh despite the protest from the Nawab and his favorite minister Raja Jhao Lal. The new Governor General expressed his helplessness as he was bound with the directives of East India Company Court of Directors, “-owing to the late very great increase in their military establishment”. Shore however failed to obtain the lease of Allahabad and Doab as his proposal was stoutly opposed by Raja Jhao Lal. Shore was angry and Raja was taken to Patna and kept there as a prisoner much against the wishes of Nawab. Tuffuzul Hussain, a favourite of English men, was made the minister of Nawab. All the good people were shunted out and the poor Nawab remained only a silent spectator. The English society in Lucknow even outshone the Calcutta one if alone the style of luxurious living was taken as an indicator. There were several English families resided in Lucknow who mingled with each other on lavish dinner parties accompanied with music and dance. Several bands were formed to add the charm to these parties. There was one wealthy English merchant by the name of Mr. Orr who owned many cotton cloth factories. He had several houses in other cities also including the one at Tanda near Faizabad. A civil servant Thomas Twining accompanied the Commander-in-Chief of the East India Company forces on an inspection tour of Lucknow circuit in 1794 and he has left interesting account of the English families living in Lucknow at that time. He was invited to attend a dinner party in the house of Orrs. There he met Mr. and Mrs. Arnot and he described Mrs. Arnot as the most “-handsomest lady in India”. He met one Mr. Paul and Dr. James Laird the brother of Head Physician who accompanied Sir Robert Abercrombie from Calcutta. The most colorful personality of Lucknow was General Claude Martin, originally a Frenchman but took service with English East India Company. The Nawab took fancy to the man and asked the Company to depute Martin in his service. The services of Martin were transferred to Nawab although he remained an employee of the Company also till the time of his death. Martin was certainly a clever man and intelligent too, He was made the in charge of arsenal of Nawab, located it in Hayat Baksh Kothi and started manufacturing pistols and fusils comparable to European supplies. He gained the confidence of Nawab and was given lucrative assignments, which earned him a lot of money. He died in Lucknow and a College still stands in his name. More details about this man would follow at suitable space.
As the opulence and grandeur of Lucknow court spread in Hindoostan, many English travelers and professionals landing at Calcutta made it a point to come to Lucknow . There were two English artists whose names were William Hodges and John Zoffany. Both the artists arrived in Lucknow where as Zoffany was successful in receiving the favor of Nawab, Hodges could not progress much. In 1784, Zoffany painted the portrait of Nawab and there in inscribed, ““ John Zoffany this picture at Lucknow A.D.1784 by order of His Highness the Nawab Vizier Asaf-ud-doulah, who gave it to his servant Francis Baladon Thomas.” Perhaps the best-known picture of Zoffany was, ” Colonel Mordaunt’s Cock Match”, painted in 1786. The painting finds a place in the illustrations of this book and depicts the Nawab and many of his contemporaries.
Extortion of money from Begums of Oudh
This incident shall always remain a blot on Asaf-ud-Daula’s escutcheon. The history books level a serious charge against Asaf-ud-Daula that he colluded with his English masters, the then Governor General Warren Hastings and Oudh Resident Nathaniel Middleton in the extortion of money from his grandmother and mother who were popularly known as Begums of Oudh. It would be necessary here to give a little backdrop of the story.
Sadr-i-Jahan Begum always disapproved the extravagance of Asaf-ud-Daula. She could never develop appreciation for some of the acts of omission and commission of the Nawab. She cautioned Nawab not to appoint Murtaza Khan to the highest office and bestowing upon him honorific titles and ranks, which the man did not deserve. The late Nawab Shuja-ud-Daula father of Asaf-ud-Daula banished the two brothers, Murtaza Khan and Muhammad Beg from Oudh for casting some aspersions on the parentage of Sadr-i-Jahan Begum. The return of these two prodigal brothers signaled trouble for the Begums. The two brothers on several occasions kept aside the normal courtesies, which were extended to the two respectable ladies of the realm. Their servants started interfering in the jagir matters of Begums. Sadr-i-Jahan Begum was annoyed with his son when he asked money from her even during the period of mourning of late Nawab. These pinpricks continued unabated. So much so that feeling disgusted, the Sadr-i-Jahan Begum decided to leave Oudh and planned to stay in Mecca. Asaf-ud-Daula never wanted the Begum to leave Oudh as he thought that Begum will bequeath all of her possessions to Imad-ul-Mulk Najaf Khan of Delhi whom she treated as her own son. On the prompting of Nawab, Middleton went to Faizabad to meet the Senior Begum and convince her to drop the idea of going to Mecca. Middleton agreed to all what was explained and written by the Senior Begum about the promise of good behavior of Nawab towards the Begum and non-interference in all their matters including the jagirs. Middleton apprised the Governor General of prevailing distrust between the Nawab and Begums of Oudh. Warren Hastings was already in search of some pretext to extort money from the Begums who were said to be very rich. The revolt of Raja Chait Singh of Benaras gave him such an opportunity. Providing men and materials and rousing the feelings of Zamindars of Gorakhpur and Bahraich in favor of Raja were the trump up charges that Warren Hastings brought against the Begums of Oudh. The charges also included, the Begums men had attacked the troops of both the battalions under command of Colonel Gordon and Colonel Hanny. These charges were reported by the Resident, and repeated by Colonel Hanny, Colonel Gordon and Captain Williams. Sir Elijah Impey who was appointed by the Court of Directors of East India Company to conduct the enquiry also stated that the servants of Bahu Begum fought against the English troops of Oudh at the time of Raja Chait Singh episode. Asaf-ud-Daula also spoke the language of his English masters. The Nawab forefeited the jagir of Bahu Begum for her involvement in the revolt as well as the jagir of older Begum, which were given by her late husband ( on the charge of providing shelter to her son’s widow). The Governor General endorsed the action of Nawab, It is surprising that no Hindoostani historian worth name wrote anything, which could show complicity of Begums in the revolt of Raja Chait Singh. The conspiracy, which was masterminded by Warren Hastings in Chunar garh, was now given a physical shape. Some say that the poor Nawab was trapped by both the Resident and Governor General and although he wanted to back out from the plan at the last moment but he was steam rolled by the two English men.
The events unfolded thus. Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula himself went to Faizabad to personally collect the ransom money from her mother and deprive her of jagjr. Bahu Begum refused to pay and instead called on Sadr-i-Jahan Begurn for advice. Sadr-i-Jahan Begum counseled that if she wanted to fight against her son, she too would join her. As the proverb goes that even the walls have ears, the goings on between the two Begums reached the Nawab. Her grandson retaliated with the order for resumption of jagir of Sadr-i-Jahan Begum, of course. Next Asaf-ud-Daula called the servants of the Begums and tortured them in the hope that they would reveal all the secrets of the wealth of Begurns. The English resident was all the time with Asaf-ud-Daula putting pressure on him for the payments due. Sadr-i-Jahan Begum wrote urgently to Mirza Najaf Khan, an influential man in the court of Delhi, for help. Najaf Khan sent one Mirza Shafi Khan to the Asst Resident of Delhi, James Brown for sending a message to the Resident posted at Lucknow court. Najaf Khan made a passionate appeal to the Resident that the Nawab should be checked for the errant behavior with the Begums of Oudh and if it went unchecked the Begums might take their lives instead putting up with the insults and the blame would be squarely laid on the English men. John Bristow was the English Resident now and he in consultation with Haider Baig Khan, minister shot down a letter repudiating the charges against the Nawab and charged Mirza using discourteous language. Mirza died soon after and was not able to provide any succor to the beleaguered Begums of Oudh. Sadr-i-Jhan Begum was maintaining herself and her staff solely on the revenue realized from her jagir as her accumulated wealth was handed over to Safdar Jung during second Ruhelas war. She never begged for any monetary help either from her son or grandson at any period of time. Her personal establishment of 1000 persons consisted of families of nobles who came from Delhi, men employed for revenue works, personal attendants and eunuchs like Muharram Ali Khan (her trusted Nazir), many learned men like Maulvi Majid and about 400 sepoys to guard the palace. She built and maintained a mosque and Imambara in Faizabad. After her death, her trusted servants Muharram Ali Khan and Matbu Ali Khan were taken to Lucknow interrogated for the hidden wealth of Begum and released only after confiscating their personal belongings. One contemporary historian aptly remarked, “the only riches that he found, beyond treasure at first disclosed, was the good fame of the departed lady”.
To continue the narrative of extortion of money from Bahu Begum, it has been mentioned that both the Nawab and the new Resident John Bristow personally came to Lucknow with a large army commanded by Brigadier Basant Ali the eunuch and Salar Jung. The Nawab was gullible and completely under the control of Murtaza Khan. Murtaza Khan presented himself rudely with the Bahu Begum and her staff. After some initial and nominal resistance by the Bahu Begum, the hapless lady had to succumb to the negotiations. It was agreed that the lady would part with Rs 30 lakhs to be paid in cash and in kind, the items listed as below:
70 elephants, 860 bullock carriages, inlaid hukkah with precious nali or coiled tube worth Rs 70,000, a saddle with gold mounting worth Rs 17,000, 40 chambals (lids of hookah bowels) with chains inlaid with precious stones, and several items costing Rs. 8 lakhs that included pearl necklaces, precious stone, costly cloths like kashani velvets & velvet tents. The ever-revengeful Murtaza Khan got the articles undervalued by his own bankers at Lucknow, and demanded Rs.11lakhs in lieu of the animals, which he claimed belonged to Nawab on accession. The Begum brought to the notice of the Governor General about the behavior of her son and also commented upon the unhelpful behavior of the Resident. Begum charged that the supplies of provisions were cutoff, servants were beaten and people entered the private zanankhana without permission with the full knowledge of the Resident. The Governor General called for an explanation from the Resident where as in his reply, the Resident denied of any such undignified behavior and assured his surety for future good behavior of Nawab towards his mother.
It may be mentioned here that the bitterness between the son and mother so developed in the imbroglio continued for long and the ice melted only when Asaf-ud-Daula was in sickbed waiting for his death. Bahu Begum survived Asaf-ud-Daula for 20 years more. Asaf-ud-Daula was severe to the servants of Sadr-i-Jahan Begum, his grandmother. He did not wait even for 40 days mourning period and took away the trusted servants of the Begum to Lucknow where they were tortured to reveal the hidden wealth of the Begum.
Lucknow of Asaf-ud-Daula
The coming of Asaf-ud-Daula to Lucknow was not a planned movement by the Nawab but was the result of a deep-rooted conspiracy of separating the son from the influences of his mother and grandmother. The brain behind the conspiracy was Murtaza Khan who was barred from entry in the services of Nawab by Suja-ud-Daula. Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula was easygoing person and did not like the strict discipline regimented by the Begums of Oudh. He therefore felt extremely happy to be a free person with no patron saint to check him in the new environment of Lucknow. The city of Lucknow now received the patronage of Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula, which was denied earlier. Lucknow became the capital of Oudh and its skyline was soon dotted with grand buildings. The inherited wealth of Nawab of Oudh was now being utilized in beautifying the city by building new imposing structures that had no parallels existing elsewhere. Scanty attention was accorded to little details like dirt and filth on the ronds leading to such magnificent buildings. Many English and other European travelers, who visited Lucknow of those days, have highly praised the buildings and gardens lay out in the city but were critical of the in-nanitary conditions prevailing in the city area where a large section of the people lived. The Lucknow Gazetteer compiled by Nevill in 1904 has given a long list of the buildings, mohallas (residential areas), market places and gardens built, developed and initiated by Asaf-ud-Daula. Nevill, of-course repeated the list, which Sharar has mentioned in his book. The list includes, “chief are Daulat Khana along the banks of the river to the west of the fort, which contains his palace, the Asafi Kothi; the Great Imambara in the Macchi Bhawan and the Rumi Darwaza; the Residency, completed in 1780; the Bibiapur Palace; country house at Chinhat, since demolished, and the garden pavilions at Aisbagh, Charbagh, as well as the Yahyagunj and the stables annexe. In the city he built Wazirganj, Amamniganj, Fatehganj, Rakabganj, Daulatganj, Begumganj and the Nakkhas. In his time, too, were built the Khansaman, the work of Nawab Chamberlain, Tikaitganj and the bazaar Tikaitrai, by the minister of that name; Tirmaniganj, Tikri, the Chhaoni Hasan-ud-din Khan, the Hasanganj baoli, Bhawaniganj, Balakganj, Kashmiri mohalla, Niwazganj, Tahsinganj, Khudaganj, and Aliganj, both built by the mother of Nawab, Ambarganj, the Tope Darwaza, and Khayaliganj. The Jhaulal bazaar in Wazirganj was founded by his Kayastha finance minister Maharaja Jhaulal; and Hasanganj on the north side of the river by Hasan Raja Khan. General Claude Martin built La Martinere, in which he was buried, and the present Govt. House, which was known as his powder magazine.’
Asaf-ud-Daula built Daulat Khana, Rumi Darwaza and his unparalleled Bara Imambara in the west of Macchi Bhawan situated near the river Gomti. The province of Oudh, which was famous for its bountiful crops was experiencing large scale famine raging in the years 1784 to 1786. Not only the poor but also even the well to do people of the city were facing hunger and famish. They were natives and felt below dignity to work by their hands in the daylight lest someone known sees them in their wretched condition. The building work of Imambara was therefore carried on during the nighttime in the torch-lights or mashals when the poor and needy both worked. Asaf-ud-Daula was an inspired builder and went to build the Imambara with great religious fervor and unprecedented zeal. He invited maps and plans for the royal edifice from all the known reputed architects and builders. The plan of the building submitted by one Kifayat Ullah was approved and the construction was started. The building was not just another copy of Mughals, Indo Persian or early Islamic class of architecture. Even the building materials were different Unlike the Mughals buildings using stones and marbles, these buildings made use of bricks and lime mortar. The engineering skill was of very high order when one is simply amazed to find the support less wide span roof central hall alone are 163 ft (49 m) in length, 53ft (16 m) wide and standing 49.5 ft (15 m) high. The Nawab Wazir Asaf-ud-Daula found his lasting peace only here in the year 1797 when his remains were interred in the middle of the Hall. An octagonal room in the cast side and a square room on the west side flank the central hall. There are series of galleries running on the top stories, which are popularly called Bhulbhulaiya. A person can be lost in finding his way out once one enters in to these zigzag puzzle ways and hence the name Bhulbhulaiya was given. It is said that the Nawab and courtiers used to play the game of hide and secek in these passageways. The overall length of the imposing Imambara building is 303 ft (91m) where as the width occupies 163 ft (50 m) with height of 63 ft (19m). The thickness of supporting walls is 16 ft (4.8 m), which is massive in any case. One Muslim muczzin leads the prayer in the mosque built in the premises. A bawl or the water source is located nearby. The whole area of Bara Imambara looks fortified with high walls and twwo entry gates. In concept and design, the Imambara building is quite different from the early buildings. As stated carlier, the Imambara structure is entirely Asiatic in outlook without any shadow of European Gothic style. The building looks simple, yet is capable of attracting people’s gaze for long. Common building materials were used, yet the effect created by the interplay, mosaic and interweave is lasting and awesome. The building was never seriously attended after the death of Asaf-ud-Daula. After occupying Lucknow in 1857, the British removed all the structures and smaller buildings which were obscuring the view and made Imambara a fortificd building with Rumi Darwaza as the main entrance way. The Imambara building was now overlooking plain fields on the three sides and the fourth side facing riverfront. At that time just after mutiny, the English forces used to reside in the Imambara. The big hall inside was used as arsenal. Gun carriages and all other heavy equipment used to run in the premises of Imambara but there was no damage to the building construction. The Imambara building is standing high with same glory as when built more than 200 years ago. Bricks are in their places and lime plaster has not left the joints. The Imambara was again handed over to the Muslim Board. The Muslim festival of Muharram is celebrated with great enthusiasm when the whole Imambara complex is illuminated brilliantly. During this mourning festival in remembrance of Imam Hussain and Hassan, taziadari is being held in the Imambara. Night vigils are kept. Persons recite the gruesome story of Hussain the son in law of Prophet Muhammad and his young and infant children who died of thirst in the battlefield of Karbala. The cruel Yazid who was in command of Muhammad Sahib’s followers by manipulation did not want Hussain to comeback and occupy the centre stage of Islam. Large sized Tazias are kept permanently in the hall. These are taken out along with other tazias in a huge procession where Shia Muslim followers beat their bare chests with leather whips or iron chains chanting “Hai Hussein Hum Na Huye”. Blood oozes out but people do not care. The tazias are then taken to the grounds named as Karbala and are buried in the sacred memory of Hazrat Imam Hussain. Huge chandeliers hang in the roof of the hall where Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula is buried in his eternal sleep.
The Shahi Baoli in the east of Bara Imambara building complex attracts attention of the visitor for its magnificence. It is said that the Baoli existed before the main building of Imambara came up. It is a seven-storied structure with two stories submerged under water and once served as the royal guesthouse. Its flight of steps leads to the water’s edge. Series of continuous landings and sufficient width mark these steps. An open well was dug her to supply water for construction of the Imambara buildings. The open wall was later joined by means of a waterway to the river for supply of continuous and sufficient water. The waterway was blocked after remaining unused for years. Viscount Valencia stayed here during his visit to Lucknow in 1803. Shahjada Aali Qadar Taimuri along with her wife Jehan Abdi stayed in this guesthouse during Saadat Ali Khan. During the uprising of 1857, when English forces attacked the Imambara Complex, a large quantity of treasure containing gold and silver kept in a locker together with the key were thrown in the well. Nobody now have clue about the disappearance of the treasure although many attempts were made for its recovery.
Amongst other buildings of Asaf-ud-Daula, Rumi Darwaza stands a majestic testimony to that great builder. Rumi Darwaza takes its name from Turkey, which was earlier called Rume also. It is said that the gate was made on the design of one similar gate standing in the city of Constantinople. It may be true for the past but no such gate exists today or was not even true for the past when it was built as someone verified at that time. It is on the western side and signals the visitor that one has entered the Hussainabad now. Before the gate the mosque of Aurangzeb standing high on the Lakshman Qila or Tila on the right hand side greets the visitor coming from the riverfront. The pointed arched Gate has massive proportions. It has decorated floral motifs on both sides. A turret surmounts the archway. The appearance suggests as if a crown is placed over the arched gate. This gate was also the result of great famine that raged in Oudh at that time.
Daulat Khana had the distinction of being the first Palace and old residence occupied by Asaf-ud-Daula when he shifted his capital from Faizabad to Lucknow. It is also located very near to the Bara Imambara, Rumi Gate and Hussainabad Imambara Complex of Hussainabad. The building is more famous by its popular name of Picture Gallery. The building now houses portraits of Nawabs hung inside its big hall, which once adorned the side rooms of Hussainabad Imambara. Hussainabad Trust owns the building, which manages Bara Imambara, and other buildings. Daulat Khana overlooks a beautiful looking tank, A silent Baradari endearing the memories of bygone days stands on the opposite side of the tank and mirrors reflectively. Muhammad Ali Shah built it. The building was used for holding court by the Nawabs but Saadat Ali Khan discontinued its use when he transferred his court to Furhat Baksh. In the latter period the nobility of Lucknow used to meet here to discuss important matters. A Nawab claiming to be the scion of the family of Nawab of Oudh occupied it for considerable period before the coming of Hussainabad Trust. Hussainabad Trust and a trust created by Bahu Begum are also located here., It will be of some interest to the reader that even today the pension holders from these trusts come to receive their pensions from these offices of the two trust howsoever meager the amount may be. They come with the sole purpose of identifying themselves as descendents of the family of Nawabs of Oudh. The Hussainabad Trust distributes pension to some 100 to 125 people and the individual amount of pension ranging from 2 Paisa to Rs. 11 or Rs 12 per year. Nawab Muhammad Ali is said to have created the Hussainabad Trust. Bahu Begum Trust derives its income from the perennial loan given by the Begum to East India Company, which was transferred to the Government of India after independence and the so called wasika office comes under the control of Political Affairs Committee of Ministry of Home Affairs. Bahu Begum Trust pays wasika to some 1500 people who receive individual amount ranging from Rs. 1 to Rs. 560 per year. It is interesting to watch the far off distant relatives of Nawab of Oudh dressed up in their finest attire when they come to take their vasikas, spending more in transport and dresses than the wasika they get and some turn up only after a gap of 5 or even 10 years. Wazid Ali Shah the last Nawab also created a Trust, which is operated from Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) office.
Bibiapur Palace was another building attributed to Asaf-ud-Daula which served as a country house for the Nawab in the style of English manors built in the countryside. General Claude Martin the Nawab’s valuable companion designed and built the building. The palace is located hardly a mile (1.6 kms) away from the Dilkusha Palace and on the right bank of River Gomti. It is a double storied structure and very typical European in style rather more English. The new British Residents on their arrivals preferred the building for their residence. The next day, the Nawab Wazir would come with his full retinue to greet the new Resident and escort him to the Residency. The people of Lucknow with their eyes wide open, witnessed the spectacle of grand ceremonial welcome and procession of the Nawab Wazir and British Resident. They were amazed to find caparisoned elephants and horses with other accompanying flags, umbrellas and symbolic banners in the procession perhaps more confused in thinking the big Why’. Here in this very building the then Governor General Sir John Shore held the durbar or the royal court where he proclaimed the disposition of Wazir Ali who hardly got four months to sit on the masnad of Oudh and succession of Nawab Wazir Muhammad Ali. The building again became infamous for massacre of some English women and children during the revolt of 1857. Later the Palace building was used as a holiday home for the convalescing British troops.
Le Martiniere or the mansion of Constantia was another famous building, which came up during the reign of Asaf-ud-Daula. The builder was General Claude Martin, a company employee but his services were lent to Nawab Wazir at his request. He became the most favorite of Nawab and served him ably. It is said that the Nawab Wazir was so impressed with the design of the building during its construction stage that he expressed desire to purchase it for one million pound sterling as a price. Before the deal could move further, the Nawab died. Martin who was building the Le Maritiniere as his residence also could not live to see its completion. At his deathbed, he expressed his last wish to be buried in the Martiniere although he died in Dilkusha. The central square tower with four surrounding octagonal towers and a dome formed by intersection of two semicircular arches catch the fancy of the visitor from a distance. The General’s flag was displayed from the top of the tower staff. The founder and builder of this grand looking building lies buried in a vaulted chamber in a basement 18 ft (5.4 m) below and under the central arch. The tomb originally had a grenadier standing with hands reversed in grief on each corner but during the 1857 upheaval, the tomb was broken, remains scattered and the brick statues of these grenadiers smashed, It was said earlier that General died in his residence Farhat Baksh Palace but was removed and interred in Martiniere so that any future claim for possession of the building may not be made by the succeeding Nawab Wazir in pursuance of the dead Nawab’s wishes. The main building with plinth elevated high enough projects a stone platform in front of the entrance hall, which is approached by staircases in the front and curved pathways on the sides. The semicircular shaped side wings are double storied high and were added after the death of the General. Upper stories have arcaded verandahs. Both the semicircular wings have additional arcaded verandahs on the ground floor that provide feeling of expansiveness. The central arcade also contains one large sized bell cast in the foundry of Martin with the inscription Lt.Col Claude Martin 1786′. On the west side of the main building, another historic memorabilia of Martin is preserved in the lawns of the garden. Martin loaned the cannon to Lord Cornwallis who used it in the third Mysore war fought against Tipu Sultan in the years 1790-1792. Tipu fell down fighting when English troops of Cornwallis stormed his Fort and Palace of Srirangapatanam near Mysore city. The cannon was returned to the La Martinere College authorities on the intervention of the Governor General Lord Northbrook and since then standing in the College lawns. The College was established in the year 1740 and is being run by the trust created for the purpose. In the south end of the main College building, a low height walled structure near the roadside; two tombs attract the attention of a visitor. One of these two tombs belongs to Major Hodson of famous Hodson Horse who was responsible for taking Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah and the Princes as prisoners from Humayun’s tomb in Delhi and latter shot dead the Princes near Khooni Darwaza. Major Hodson fell near the spot during the assault of Lucknow in March 1858. The reader must be curious to know a little about the man who built the La Martniere. Born in Lyons, France in 1735, Major General Claude Martin died in Lucknow in 1800. He served as a soldier in Hindoostan under well known French General Lally in 1757, took part in Franco- English war at Pondicherry and taken as prisoner by English in 1761. With his intelligence and industry, he was made as Captain in the English army superseding other English men but later opted to join Oudh under Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula. He soon became a hot favorite of Nawab and helped in the foundry castings, constructing buildings, laying out gardens and imparting the Hindoostanis many new technologies, He remained till death a Company employee, receiving half pay and last promotion as Major General. Under his patron Asaf-ud-Daula, Martin held important portfolios and was able to amass a fortune. A fortune well spent in creating colleges at Lucknow, Kolkata and Lyons. He held Oudh, in the territories of English East India Company and in France. He left enough for his dependents, charities and a Trust created for managing some of the institutions left by him. So here lies in La Martiniere, the adventurer of a man who had risen from an ordinary soldier to a General and who always displayed “-energy, enterprise, and indefatigable industry-“
Kakori near Lucknow is not only famous for its kebabs but Mazar of Shah Kazim out shines for its universal preaching of Sufism and annual Urs festival celebrations. It is said that Shah Mohammad Kazim Kalandar was a soldier in the army of Nawab Wazir Shuja-ud-Daula. After the battle of Buxar, Shah Kazim started living in his native place Kakori and attained enlghtenment. He composed 5000 couplets on Lord Krishna a deity of Hindus that won him respect of his Hindu followers also. The descendents of one of his Hindu follower Lala Beni Ram have been illuminating the Mazar with candles and earthen lamps till today. The Sufi Saint flatly refused the offer of a proper building for the monastery, which came from none other than his well-known Hindu disciple Maharaja Tikait Rai, a minister at the court of Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula. Tikait Rai how- ever looked for an opportunity when the Saint was away for some pressing engagement. Tikait Rai built an open structure with a roof and arches but no doors and one open well dug up nearby for ensured water supply. On return, the Saint surrendered to the wishes of his disciple and the monastery building came up. The single domed structure protected with a compound wall and the built in main gate leads one to the revered Majar. The ground of the Complex holds the annual Urs festival.
From the times of Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula, dance and music assumed still greater patronage. A book on Hindoostani music was written in Persian, which was titled, Usul-ul-Nagmat-ul-Asafia’. Sharar had a copy of this book and he had no hesitation to declare that this book was the best-written one on Hindoostani music. Chhaju Khan Kalawant and Jivan Khan Kalawant were both Dhrupad Singers and Rabab players who migrated from Delhi and joined the court of Asaf-ud-Daula. Both these musicians kept the teaching of Dhrupad to their own family and chosen members and to others they taught non- Dhrupad, a different type of repertoire called Desi raga, Desi raga consisted of Zila, Pilu, Kafi, and Gara. Chhaju Khan’s three sons Basat Khan, Pyar Khan and Jafar Khan started teaching Desi raga on Sitar to many of their disciples who were rich and eager to learn but wanted to spend less time. Basat Khan invented Sur Shingar and Ghulam Ali Khan invented Sarod. Basat Khan taught sarod to his well known disciple Niamat Ullah Khan.
Profile of the Nawab and his Chief Consort
Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula was easygoing person and given to the beautiful things in life. He was fond of building beautiful structures and desired his Lucknow as no less than Shahjahanabad in grandeur. He patronized therefore European men like Martin who created such facilities for him. He was lavish in expenditure. He no doubt cared for his poor people and for whom he started large-scale relief work during the great famine looming large during his regime. His lavish spending resulted in Oudh treasuries empty and for which he had to approach his mother and grandmother not once but on many occasions. He had to be blamed for the painful agony and insults heaped by the English Resident and his men on the person and servants of Begums of Oudh for extortion of money. The fourth Nawab ruled from 1775 to 1797 when he died not so old at the age of 62 years. The rapprochement between the mother and son was possible only towards his last days. His grandmother never pardoned him for all his acts, which he did much against her wishes whether it were appointments of men or other matters. He had no idea about selecting people to run the administration, which may be attributed to his simple nature of believing others too soon. Or may be English Resident was too much aggressive in forcing his decision on him. In any case he cannot be absolved from his primary duty of running state matters satisfactorily keeping the welfare of the people in mind.
About his person some has been said in the beginning. He was of medium height and gave an appearance of stocky built. His rather oval faced had drooping moustaches on both sides. He wore curved, long pointed gold embroidered shoes, in vogue those days and even now called Luckhnawi or sometimes Jaipuri shoes. His broad bordered angarkha or the upper body garment worn over is prominent in the portrait hanging in the Picture Gallery of Lucknow.
An English man Twining has observed about the Nawab, “- in polished and agreeable manners, in public magnificence, in private generosity, and also, it must be allowed, in wasteful profusion, Asaf-ud-Daula, Nawab of Oudh, might probably be compared with the most splendid sovereign of Europe.” Sidney Hay has mentioned that the Nawab was very fond of anything English and had a large collection of English watches, clocks, instruments, firearms, glass and furniture stocked in his Ina Khana built especially for such curios. The foreign visitors always spoke eloquently about the splendor of the court of Lucknow, palaces and gardens but were critical of the unsanitary, filthy and wretched conditions of the socially and economically underprivileged subjects of the Nawab. In the eyes of another English visitor “It was evident that splendor was confined to the Palace while misery pervaded the streets: the true image of despotism”. This fact was true at that time as well as today, if same Miss Mayo returns from the past and visits the same places again in the city of Lucknow.
Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula had his chief consort Shams-un-Nisa Begum, a daughter of Nawab Khan Khanan Intazam-ud-Daula, an influential Turrani Leader and ex Wazir of the Mughal Court at Delhi. After his father’s death, she started residing with her brother Imam-ud-Din Khan and grandmother Sholapuri Begum at Delhi before moving out to Kalpi. Shuja-ud-Daula knew how the family of Late Intzam was undergoing through bad days and therefore invited his son Imam to Faizabad and proposed his sister’s hands for his son Mirza Amani later Asaf-ud-Daula. Sholapuri Begum was too happy to receive the proposal and came to Faizabad under the escort of 7000 men led by Ali Beg Khan and Latafat Ali Khan. Sholapuri Begum was shown due honor and cordiality befitting to the status and very soon the engagement ceremony was held with pomp and show on the occasion. The month of November 1770 was fixed for the marriage. Sachaq ceremony was held on 6th when 5000 silver trays and vessels containing assorted sweets, fruits, costly clothes, jewels & ornaments, perfumes were sent in procession to the Bride’s place with the accompaniment of colorful, gorgeously dressed officers and elites of the town. Another grand procession of Mehndi ceremony started from the Bride’s residence that followed the Palace of the Bridegroom’s father. The formal nikah or marriage ceremony was solemnized on 10h Nov. 1770. The Bridegroom’s party arrived at the bride’s place attended by the leading nobility of the Oudh court. Such amazing display of splendor in the marriage procession was rarely seen and this occasion was a feast for the cycs of people living in Faizabad. The palanquin carrying the bride arrived at the in-laws place on 12% of the month amidst showers of silver coins throughout the route. One account estimates the marriage expenditure to the tune of Rs 24 lakhs comparable or more than the weddings of Mughal Princes. All through the marriage ceremony, the Mughal Emperor Shah Aalam was present and as a matter of fact it was his initiative that brought the union of two noble families of Mughal court together although the bride belonged to Sunni Muslims and bridegroom came from Persian Shia Muslim family. Begum was assigned several titles that included Dulhan Bahu, Nawab Bahu Begum Saheba, and Bhabhi Begum. She was very beautiful, graceful, and well adept in the culture of a Mughal noble family and a chaste lady indeed. Tragedy remained however that Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula never took any interest in her as was evident from the statement she made to the British Resident when the succession of Wazir Ali was challenged. The Begum denied of having any conjugal relationship with Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula. It is stated by several insiders that Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula was an impotent man. She was given Macchi Bhawan in Lucknow to reside and granted the jagir of Pratap gunj with annual revenue yield of Rs. 60,000 for maintenance appended with a kitchen allowance of Rs 60 per day.
However the Begum had to face bad days when her husband died and Saadat Ali Khan became the new Nawab. Saadat Ali Khan for some reason started misbehaving with her, encroached upon her jagir, appropriated the inherited property from her father’s side and stopped payments of her staff from the Oudh Govt. The Begum had to appeal to the Resident and the Governor General for help and made proposal that she was prepared to leave Oudh and stay under the Company protection after leaving the management of her jagir to the East India Company. The English Resident John Baillie and Governor General Lord Minto, both saw in it yet another opportunity to interfere and influence the domestic affairs of Nawab. Nawab could see with consternation, the English game and tried hard to placate the assuaged feelings of the Begum but she was unrelenting in her demands. The Begum proceeded first to her jagir and then to Allahabad where she took her permanent abode. The English authorities extended her all due courtesy and help in settling down at Allahabad. Finally the Nawab agreed to grant her annual pension equal to the revenue of her jagir, reimbursement of her kitchen money and her inclination to settle permanently at Allahabad. As regards her properties at Delhi, she was told that the matter would be settled after verification of the claims of her nephew. The highhandedness shown by the English Resident with the support of Governor General was a clear indicative of the English policy which was gradually unfolding in dealing with Oudh affairs. However the Nawab himself had to be blamed for the situation, which he created for himself and brought the English interference in the Royal House hold. This was the second incident of interference in the ruling family after the famous extortion case relating to Begums of Oudh where Asaf-ud-Daula was a willing partner to the conspiracy of the then English Resident and Governor General. The Begum spent most of her time in composing some highly praised Urdu poetry and died after few months of her Allahabad stay. During the reign of Nawab Ghazi-ud-Din Haider, mortal remains of the Begum wvere brought back to Lucknow and interred by the side of her husband in the great Imambara. A silver arih cloth similar to the one, which adorned the grave of her husband, was now offered on her grave also. It can be appended here that the secondary wives of fourth Nawab remained unknown in History.
Thus ends the story of life and times of ‘Nawab Jis Ko Na De Maula, Us Ko De Asaf-ud-Daula’ and Builder of modern Lucknow. He died on Sept. 21st in the year 1797 at Lucknow and buried in the Bara Imambara. The Nawab on whose death, several poor cried and mourners wailed, till today the people are not tired of telling the tales of his benevolence. Sharar has written that all his personal failings were hidden by his caring and sharing nature. People saw in him not the figure of a pleasure loving ruler but that of a selfless and saintly person. Hindu shopkeepers till today while opening their eyes, they recite, as a mantra, the first thing in the morning, ‘Yaa Asaf-ud-Daula Wali’.