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The Royal Insignia

It cannot be forgotten that at one time
Wajid Ali Shah was and still today considered by some as a


Are these allegations true ?

In this compilation of excerpts from history both vernacular and british, collected and typed by him in the 70's, Prince Anjum Quder reflects on the deliberate falsehood and malicious intention of the British in defaming Wajid Ali Shah, his great grandfather.

Weakness for Music
His Majesty's wives
Britishers on English Art and Craft
Deposition arranged at Coronation
Treaty upheld, annulled or both !


"Because the downfall took place in his (Wajid Ali Shah) reign, he had to bear the butt of all blames, and it was almost accepted that he was the cause of the fall of the kingdom. But, at the time this happened, all the native forces of Hindustan were collapsing and good or bad all the old dynasties were being eliminated.

Why the tables were turned on the Sikhs in the Punjab and the Mahrathas in Deccan, although they were considered brave, great and talented ?

Why the Moghul empire at Delhi, and the Nizamat of the Nawab of Bengal fell ?

None of the aforesaid four potentates was Wajid Ali Shah, although their downfall was not lesser than the fall of Lucknow."

"Guzishta Lukhnau", p.98
By Abdul Halim Sharar


"English Rulers and Indians in their payroll tried their utmost to paint Wajid Ali Shah as a sex-maniac, and an addict to dancing singing and a lavish life. These were given as causes for his loss of kingdom. Simple minded people of India reluctantly believed these concoctions and could not get to the deep designs of expansionism of the British rule. At the same time why did the British snatch Bahadur Shah's domain, and took him prisoner, usurpued Jhansi and devour many other states, no one had the courage to ask.

The English went on systematically to throw and get thrown mud at Wajid Ali shah in order to divert attention from their own tyranny, breach of faith, fraud and lack of character in the matter of Oudh. But no one, not even his so-called descendants, ever bothered to wash the dirt off the good men….. This extremely popular king of Oudh was neither lecherous nor a sex maniac.

Within the Iron Gate of Matiaburj there is a mosque, for laying the foundation of which a public announcement was made inviting anyone who had not missed a day's Namaz in his entire adult life. After waiting for a month when no one else came to claim the distinction, Sultan-e Alam himself laid the stone. Wajid Ali Shah never drank liquor, on attaining majority he never missed a day's Roza (fasting in the month of ramzan) nor a period's Namaz in his whole life. And he never touched a woman without sanction of the tenets of his faith, which is one of the accepted religions of the world. This also means that he never went near a married or a non-muslim woman. Whoever he was intimate with, he first married her according to accepted norms and brought her home for life. Such precaution is not taken by a debauch. This can not be the face of a libertine."

"In a short period of 26 years as many as four successive kings of Oudh died and prince Wajid Ali succeeded to the throne in 1847. By then the British hold on the kingdom was complete. The plan for annexation of Oudh had been made long before Wajid Ali became king, and the excuse of mal-administration would have served just as well if any else san on the throne. Those were the days of the mighty, and a kingdom in India could only be retained by the sword , or rather by the gun. Not only Oudh but Bhurtpur, Lahore of the Sikhs, Poona, Jhansi, the very Bengal, and lastly the Moghul Empire itself were taken by the mightiest power on one excuse or another. It is therefore ignorance to blame Wajid Ali personally for the loss of his kingdom. "

"Meher Quder"
- Prince of Avadh p-4

"Wajid Ali was able intelligent and a people's man. Amjad Ali Shah announced that the was being appointed the crown prince. The (British) Resident was greatly annoyed at this unexpected announcement. He was dreaming of the fulfillment of his plots after the succession of Mustafa Ali Khan (the eldest son). Unsuited to his designs, Wajid Ali was a man of determination. They (the British) required such a Nawab who could be proved worthless and a debauch, and thus violative of the Treaty of 1801. For this purpose Wajid Ali was unsuitable. In their view, Mustafa Ali could fit in the scheme, but Amjad Ali Shah denounced his succession."

"Wajid Ali Shah"
Translated from hindi p.22.
By Anand Sagar Sarishtha.


"Immediately after coronation Wajid Ali Shah started taking keen interest in the affairs of the state and worked hard. He took up residence in Chattar Manzil. He made it a point to go at 9 a.m. every Sunday to the Farah Buksh palace to mourn the loss of his father. Other days he attended office, and diligently worked till afternoon. Heads of all departments also used to attend office daily till afternoon".

"Wajid Ali Shah aur Avadh Raj ka Patan"
Translated from hindi
By Pariputnananda Verma

"In the administration of justice, the new king started an innovation of placing petition boxes at important public thoroughfare in Lucknow, and His Majesty used to deal with the daily complaints from the common man.
Perhaps as it threatened to raise the popularity fo the king, the English Paramount Power go this practice discontinued."

"Ahsan-ut-Tawarikh" pp 68-69

"Similarly the British Resident prevailed upon the young king Wajid Ali to abandon recruitment of armed forces or heir re-organization under his own command."

By Ghani Vol. V. p.126


"Except for music, in every other respect the king was a puritan and a strict follower of Shariat. He did never miss a prayer and used to fast all 30 days. All his life he abhorred and kept away from liquor, opium and every other intoxicant. He used to observe the mourning's of Mohurrum with great devotion and fervor. Although the king was personally a Shia, he had not the slightest communal feeling. His old adage was that of his two eyes one was Shia and the other Sunni. What better proof of his secularism can there be than to find the management of his entire administration in the hands of Sunnis. His Prime Minster Munsarimud Dowla Bahadur was a Sunni. Munshi-us Sultan who at one time was closest to him and was incharge of the king's house hold was a Sunni. Bukshi Amanatud Dowla who distributed the allowances to all his wives and sons was a Sunni. Utaradud Dowla and Daroga Mutabar Ali Khan, who was the highest palace officer, were both Sunnis. What more can be when Sunnis were given the management o Sibtainabad Imambara and the special palace Imambara named Baitul Buka, and it was they who arranged for Majlises and other religious ceremonies. No one ever felt there as to who was Sunni and who a Shia."

"In the eye of that King a Mandir was as sacred as a Mosque. The King of Oudh treated all equally. Where land or zamindari was awarded to an Imambara, land and jagir was also given for the upkeep of Khankahs and Mosques of the Sunnis, Mandirs, Samadhi and Dharamshala of the Hindus. In the same way generosity was shown to the Churches of the Christians. How was it possible to allow Moulavi Amir Ali to demolish a Mandir to build a mosque on it. Yes, this episode (of Hanuman Garhi engineered by Englishmen) was taken full advantage of by the English to blame Wajid Ali Shah and inflame communal passions."

"Tajdar-e Avadh" p.30
by Amjad Ali Khan


"Some qualities of this king are worth mention. The king was so merciful and kind at heart, that in spite of such power and kingdom, and his youth, he was not cruel or harsh to anyone. Even a word of abuse was never uttered by him. Nor did he harm any friend or foe, and neither he put anyone to death. In spite of the majesty and glitter of the throne, this king was free from vanity and pride of which even one in a thousand millionaire is not void. If you get to wealth and don't get drunk with it, you are a man."

"Tarikh-e Avadh"
by Najmul Ghani

"This exalted king was invested with a great many qualities by the Almighty. One, humility and selflessness in that in spite of youth and power he was not cruel or unkind to anyone. Rather, Rather, no harsh or foul word even came out of his mouth all his life. Secondly justice, in that he never let down justice in any matter that he heard and disposed. Thirdly orthodoxy and piety in that although he ascended the throne in the prime of youth, he never thought of liquor or any other intoxicant and abstained to the core from all acts prohibited in his faith. There was no deviation from the tenets of Roza and Namaz. Fourthly ability and capacity, in that in spite of engagements in the affairs of the kingdom, he composed a number of masnavis, a Divan of poems and also wrote books of knowledge and musicology. Fifghtly intelligence and brightness, in that he quickly accomplished any job he set his mind on. Beside these, he was endowed with many other good qualities. In the beginning of his rule when he used to examine files of the administration, experienced men wondered at his grasp and intricacies."

by Mirza Md. Taquie

Weakness for Music

"A haunting song is always capable of breaking the best of the pious. But even so, at least during my time and my knowledge in Calcutta he was careful enough not to hear the song from any public woman but his own wives or male singers. So when we see many revered men of religion enjoy songs, ecstatically ( in Khankas and Mazars) and do not object, then we should leave also the case of Wajid Ali Shah to God. Forgiveness is divine, and it is hoped the unfortunate king of Oudh will also be forgiven for this solitary failing in return of his immense goodness."

"Guzishta Lukhnau" p.36

"Fact is that the Sultan had in an artistic sense two loves, music and poetry. The heights he reached in the field of music are still a matter of public knowledge, but are out of our present context. It is enough to say here that this showed the resonance of his temperament. His poetry corroborates this, and from start to finish his verses are so perfect that no word misses the scale and there is no flaw in scansion."

"Lukhnau ka Dabistan-e Shairi"
By Dr. Abul Lais Siddiqui

The Resident Col. Sleeman had toured the districts of Oudh and fabricated a Report on the supposed maladministration in the realm and disaffection of the populace, thereby paving the way for the takeover of the kingdom."

"Tajdar-e Avadh" p.55

"On orders of Maharaj Adhiraj Ishwari Pershad Singh, rule of Benares, there were no illuminations during the great festivals of Holi and Divali in the sacred city of Benares in th eyar of Wajid Ali Shah's deposition in 1856, although the province of Benares had been transferred from Oudh to British suzerainty by the Treaty of 1801. When asked for the reason, the Maharaja said :-

"Shaad kya khak hon, kis say kahen kis ghum may hain;
Apni Sarkar ke loot jaane-ke matam may hain:


"What on earth to celebrate, to whom to tell my grief;
I'm mouirning the ruination of my master"

"Sibtainabad Trust Gazette"
Vol.I, No.2, P.1

Hazrat Mahal, Queen of Wajid Ali Shah and leader of the First War of Independence of 1857, in her famous counter - proclamation to the Proclamation of Queen Victoria, said of the British -
"……… These are old affairs; but recently in defiance of treaties and oaths and notwithstanding that they owed us millions of rupees, without reason, and on the pretence of mis-government and discontent of our people, they took our country and property worth millions of rupees. If our people were discontented with our royal predecessor Wajid Ali Shah, how com thety are content with us ? and nio ruler ever experienced such loyalty and devotion of life and goods as we have done ! What then is wanting that they do not restore our country to us when our pieple wish it".

"Eighteen Fifty Seven" - p.283.
By S. N. Sen


"With the ignoble intentions of justifying their usurpation of Oudh, the Britishers and their purchased Indian stooges indulged in such vile propaganda to denounce Wajid Ali Shah, that his name became synonymous with wickedness. Who would imagine that this ill famed king could take time off his amorous and sexual activities to write books; not two or four, nor ten or twelve, but more than a hundred".

"Nazr-e Maqbool"
By Prof. Masud Hasan Rizvi

"About his books, Wajid Ali Shah himself wrote (more than a decade before death) in his book name "Bani" that they were 46 in number. Some of them are divided into several voluminous volumes which definitely raises this number to well over fifty. Their names are as follows ……… Versified narratives of the martyrs of Karbala and Marsiyas have not been accounted for."

" Tarikh-e Adab-e Urdu"
By Ram Babu Saksena

"Thereafter Wajid Ali Shah lived for another 11 or 12 years, whatever he wrote in this period is not included in the present - treaties, and most of it is now lost. If all there were also available, then the stains of debauchery and license cold have been washed off the dress of Wajid Ali Shah. And his proper place could have been determined after examining his personality and work."

"Lukhnau ka Dabistan-e Shairi"
By Dr. Abul Lais Siddiqui

"I have seen about 70 books written by Wajid Ali Shah in the library of Prof. Masud Hasan Rizvi Adeeb at Lucknow, and have examined most of them."

Tajdar-e Avadh p.74

"Hazrat Jan-e Alam composed hundreds of Marsiyas and Salaams. He has written so many books in prose and verse, that no one could today keep the count. And all of them bore the same standard of scholarship"."

Preface to "Huzne-e Akhtar" p.13

"Hindi speakers have always been numerous in our country. 'Lok Natak' may jhave been existing in the villages, but in the real sense it was raised to a respectable height by Wajid Ali Shah, the king of Oudh. In fact Lucknow has been the nursery of the hindi stage."

Souvenir dated. 01.11.1972
Of Darpan Smark, Lucknow

His Majesty's wives

"King Wajid Ali had less than a dozen wives during the period of his reigh. By no stretch of imagination could this be called an unusual thing foir an eastern and a muslim ruler. It was long after deposition that His Majesty enlarged his ahrem during his exile in Bengal. It is rthe lowest form of intellectual dishonesty to attribute and thereby to mislead later genarations or the uninformed the - world over."

Wajid Ali Shah, King of Oudh,
By Nayyer Quder

"My early life and youth was spent in Matiaburj particularly under the loving care of His Majesty the King himself. I have seen with my own eyes the great king, his Durbar, the grandeur of life in his palaces, the interesting companies of the royal princes, and the fading glory of Lucknow on the soil of Bengal. I do not know the Wajid Ali Shah of the days of the kingdom, by the Wajid Ali Shah of Matiaburj whom I have seen with my own eyes was piety and Puritanism personified….. In his orthodox shia muslim faith a man is not allowed to look at a woman outside the prohibited degree unless she was his wife. Therefore all those large numbers of women who were necessarily employed in his palaces for domestic and menial work were entered into the harem by being married to the king in the muta form to cover th3e religious tenet. But the king was not intimate with all these - women".

"Guzishta Lukhnau" p.36

"Those critics who point to His Majesty's 250 Muta wives sould do well to count also the 1700 men of letters and 500 physicians and scientists under the king's employ."

By Sherar p.88

"The underlying idea was to provide future security for his female servants, whom the king knew would be stranded on his demise. It goes to the credit of Wajid Ali's foresight that when his men servants were without sustenance, their female counterparts received life pensions from the government as Muta wives, of His Majesty…… Not to speak of the female servants, even some children were presented to Wajid Ali Shah who gladly adopted them as his own sons, and who later got pensions equal to His Majesty's real children, and whose descendants are not in any way differentiated from the member of the ex-royal family".

"Wajid Ali Shah", and
"Oudh Pension Papers" pp 8,17,42,45

"When King Wajid Ali died, he left between twenty-two to thirty-five thousand men, whom he used to support."

"Guzishta Lukhnau"

"Ataturk Mustafa Kamal, in spite of his well known life of license, is regarded as the father of modern Turkey. Lloyd George the famous Prime Minster of Great Britain had an irresistible weakness for the fair sex, so says his own son in a recently published biography. Jean Jacques Rousseau, the celebrated - thinker of France is inspite of his 'Confessions' not a moral criminal. But poor Wajid Ali Shah, under mighty British propaganda was readily condemned in his own country as a libertine even though his deeds fell within the bounds of his ethical and religious laws. "

Meher Quder,
Prince of Oudh p.4


"At the moment I'm collecting my literary work. For this reason I have no time, but I have asked Zulfiqarud Dowla to answer your love letter. I have heard it. If before completing the collection I do not write by my own hand then do not think otherwise, do not construe from this my lack of affection. By the Grace of God when I'll be free from this, I'll write prose and poetry as usual."

Wajid Ali Shah in his letter dt. 17th ZeeQuad 1275 A.H. quoted in
"Tarikh-e-Mumtaz" p.58

"At the moment I'm busy collecting my literary work. Therefore I have sent my reply written by Zulfiquarud Dowla, and have heard it. This is not due to lack of affection. By the Grace of God, when I'll be free I will write by my own hand to your satisfaction. Rest assured."

Wajid Ali Shah in his letter to Ghizala Begum quoted in
"Tarikh-e-Ghizala" p.41

Britishers on English Art and Craft

"The ever verdant and blooming garden of our mutual friendship has been refreshed and embellished…… are impressed upon the heart of every Englishman both here and in Europe…. Nor will the lapse of time or change of circumstances efface from the memory of the British Nation so irrefragable a proof, so irresistible an argument of the fraternal sentiments of Your Majesty."

Letter of Lord Amherst in
"Blue Book of Oude"

Deposition arranged at Coronation

"The arrangements for deposition of Wajid Ali Shah were completed soon after his coronation when Col. Sleeman had prepared his Confidential Report for the East India Company."

"Birds-Eye view of India"
by Sir Erskine

Treaty upheld, annulled or both !

"I do not see any necessity to annul former Treaties……. As our title to the provinces ceded by the Treaty of 1801 depends upon that treaty, I would rather uphold it than declare it to - be annulled."

Mr. Peacock at p.232
"Blue Book of Oude"

"These relations, under the Treaty of 1837, give our Government the right to take upojn itself the administration….. but as I have already stated, neither these relations nor our position as the paramount power gives us any right to annex or to confiscate the territory of Oude."

Letter dt. 2.1.1853 of Col. Sleeman to Sir James Weir Hogg in
"Blue Book of Oude"

"Justice and gratitude nevertheless require that in so doing we should lower the dignity and authority of the Sovereigns of Oude no further that is absolutely necessary for the accomplishment of our righteous ends.

The reform of the administration of the province may be wrought, and the prosperity of the people may be secured without resorting to so extreme a measure as the annexation of the territory and the abolition of the throne.

I for my part do not advise that the province of Oude should be declared to be British territory."

Minutes of the Governor General dated 18.06.1855 in
"Blue Book of Oude"

"So much has been published in newspapers respecting real and alleged misrule in Oude during the last 30 years, with no one to write on the opposite side or explain mis-statements, and it is moreover so frequent a habit on the part of many of my countrymen who have never sojourned in Native States to lay the blame of all acts of violence that occur in those states on the individual Native Ruler at the head of it that it has occasionally happened, to my positive knowledge, that the kings of Oude have been spoken of in English Society as merciless tyrants over their own subjects and as men who had no feelings of gratitude for the protection or the forbearance of the British Governament."

Minutes of Major General Low,
in "Blue Book of Oude" p.225

"The policy of annexing kingdoms resuming and absorbing states whenever opportunity offers on the plausible plea of benefitting the many at the cost of the few would require to be carried out by men possessing none of the imperfections or infirmities of human nature. It is a theory that commends itself to the over zealous as well as the moist unscrupulous and having no defined or fixed principle for its action."

John Shepherd, letter dt. 21.11.1855 East India House,
London to the Board of Directors
on the proposed annexation of Oudh.

"I do not except even the matter of Oude. It is vain to dissemble it. There is a flaw in our title to that kingdom."

Sir James Graham,
"India Debate" published in The Times,
dt. 21st May 1858



His Imperial Majesty King Edward VII message
read before the Supreme Council on 8.9.1914.


"An injured soldier's face (on British victory in Lucknow in 1858) was poked by bayonets and he was baked on slow fire. Smell of burning human flesh was becoming nauseating. A peculiar type of smoke emanated. And all these happened in the nineteenth century, when the Englishman was boasting of his civilization."

Lieut. Majendie quoted in
"East India Company aur Baghi Ulema"


Adam Vick quoted in
"East India Company aur Baghi Ulema"

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