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The Royal Insignia

Annexation of Oudh - Its Affairs - The Truth

An Extract from
King Wajid Ali Shah of Awadh
By Mirza Ali Azhar
1982 Vol 1 & 2 Royal Book House, Karachi - 3

"Oudh was the garden, the granary, and the queen-province of India".

- Edwin Arnold:
The Marquis of Dalhousie's Administration of British India,
vol. II. P.329 (London 1865).

"The condition of Oude soon attracted his (Dalhousie's) attention, not because the Government was bad and its people were wretched, but because that country might either be a bulwark of safety to our own dominions, or a sea of danger which might overflow and destroy us".

- Sir John Kaye:
History of the Indian Mutiny,
vol.I, p.83 (London 1888)

"There never was on the throne, I believe, a man more inoffensive at heart than he (King Wajid Ali Shah) is"
Sir W. H. Sleeman:
A Journey Through the Kingdom of Oude,
Vol-II, p.421 (London 1858)

"So much has been published in newspapers respecting real and alleged misrule in Oude, during the last thirty years, with no one to write on the opposite side, or explain misstatements that the Kings of Oude have been spoken of in English society as merciless tyrants over their own subjects…….

"Now that sort of language is positively untrue, as regards every one of the last five Kings…………Their general conduct towards us, both as useful public allies of our government, and as individual princes conducting business in a regular, attentive, courteous and friendly manner with our public functionaries, has been unusually meritorious and praiseworthy".

- Sir John Low,
Member, Supreme Council, Calcutta:
Oude Papers:Note 'A' Minute on Oude Affairs,
(dated August 15, 1855) p. 225.

"The King has been charged with being guilty of vices and debauchery; but he (Mr. Jones) was told on good authority, that few people were more moral than the King of Oude in that respect."

Mr. Jones' speech in the Court of Proprietors of the
East India Company on 24th September 1856:
History of the Indian Mutiny,
p-151 (London - New York)

"Wajid Ali is a noble sovereign iniquitously deposed by an ungrateful and faithless usurper."
- Indian Press quoted in the London Times.
Wednesday, April 2, 1856


"It is, however, significant that though, Wajid Ali Shah ruled for another five years, he neither asked for a load from any private banker or from the British Government to pay off any arrears, nor did he leave after his deposition any large arrears or debt. On the other hand, he invested Rs. 2,05,06,000/- in the Government Promissory Notes to stand in the name of different persons, together with 7 lakhs of rupees invested with the British Government in the form of a perpetual loan for the expenses of the late King Amjad Ali Shah's mausoleum."
- Awadh Under Wajid Ali Shah
Dr. G. D. Bhatnagar
p.84 (Varanasi, 1968)

"No portion of India has been more discussed in England than Oude. Afghanistan and the Punjab are modern questions, but for half a century, gentry have been possessed of a vague ideal of a province of India, nominally independent in its home relations but periodically used as a wet-nurse to relieve the difficulties of the East India Company's finances. The several attacks that were made on Warren Hastings, Lord Wellesley and the Marquis of Hastings, have all served to keep up the interest of the Oude question….....We confess that we have been staggered by a study of Oude transactions. Most assuredly Warren Hastings, Lord Teignmouth, Lord Wellesley, Lord Hastings and Lord Auckland would never have acted in private life, as they did in the capacity of Governors towards prostrate Oude……..

"Oude affords but a discreditable chapter in our Indian annals, and furnishes a fearful warning of the lengths to which a statesman may be carried, when once he substitutes expediency and his own view of public advantage, for the simple rule of right and wrong. The facts furnished by every writer on Oude affairs all testify to the same point, that British interference with that province has been as prejudicial to its Court and people as it has been disgraceful to the British name. To quote the words of Colonel Sutherland, an able and temperate writer 'there is no State in India with whose Government we have interfered so systematically and so uselessly as with that of Oude'. He most justly adds, 'this intereference has been more in favour of men than of measures'…. In short, wherever we turn, we see written in distinct characters the blighting influences of our interference."

Sir Henry Lawrence:
The Calcutta Review for January 1845

Sir Charles Napier, in his journal, dated October 8, 1950 says :

"When Dalhousie's father was Commander-in-chief here, he visited the King of Oude at Lucknow, and made a point of introducing her ladyship, which the King did not understand at all, and fancied the Laird wanted to sell her ! After a short time His Majesty of Oude said to his attendants, 'that will do, take her away.'

Referring to this interesting episode Sir William Napier, his brother and biographer, caustically remarks :

"This should certainly have figured among the reasons for annexing Oude. It would have been stronger than anything yet adduced for that spoilation."

Lt. General Sir William Napier:
The Life and opinions of General Sir Charles James Napier.
Vol-IV p.296 (London, 1875)

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