Last King in India (Rosie Llewellyn-Jones) - скачать книгу , читать онлайн

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Last King in India



Автор: Rosie Llewellyn-Jones


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The thousands of mourners who lined Wajid Ali Shah's funeral route on 21 September, 1887, with their loud wailing and shouted prayers, were not only marking the passing of the last king but also the passing of an intangible connection to old India, before the Europeans came.

This is the story of a man whose memory continues to divide opinion today.

Was Wajid Ali Shah, as the British believed, a debauched ruler who spent his time with fiddlers, eunuchs and fairies, when he should have been running his kingdom? Or, as a few Indians remember him, a talented poet whose songs are still sung today, and who was robbed of his throne by the English East India Company? Somewhere between these two extremes lies a gifted, but difficult, character; a man who married more women than there are days in the year; who directed theatrical extravaganzas that took over a month to perform, and who built a fairytale palace in Lucknow, which was inhabited for less than a decade.

He remained a constant thorn in the side of the ruling British government with his extravagance, his menagerie and his wives.

Even so, there was something rather heroic about a man who refused to bow to changing times, and who single-handedly endeavoured to preserve the etiquette and customs of the great Mughals well into the period of the British Raj.

India's last king Wajid Ali Shah was written out of the history books when Awadh was annexed by the Company in February 1856.

After long years of painstaking research, noted historian Rosie Llewellyn-Jones revives his memory and returns him his rightful place as one of India's last great rulers.



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