The rulers of Awadh/Awadh ke Nawab III

I was telling you about the Nawabs of Avadh and was slightly over midway through the dynasty, when I stopped as I did not want to burden you with names and dates.

Before I carry on, I will recapitulate a little from where I stopped…. I had got to Ghazi ud-din Rafaat ud-dowla Abu’l-Muzaffar Haider Khan.

Ghazi-ud-din Haider as he is better known ruled as Nawab Wazir al-Mamalik, from  July 11, 1814 to Oct 19, 1818, when the court cuts its ties to the (by then) enfeebled Mughal court and became a kingdom in its own right.

From Oct 19, 1818 to Oct 19, 1827, Ghazi-ud-din Haider ruled as Padshah-e Awadh, Shah-e Zaman.

He was succeeded by his son, Naseer-ud-din Haidar Suleyman  Jah Shah (more commonly known as Naseer-ud-din Haidar) who ruled as the second Padshah-e Awadh from Oct 19, 127 to July 7, 1837.

Some instability followed the death of Naseer-ud-din Haider, who died without offspring. Some with a brief recollection of Indian history will say “Ah ha…. Doctrine of Lapse.”  A few more gifted will say Dalhousie.

Well, let me put the record straight. It was still 1837, and James Andrew Broun-Ramsay, 1st Marquess of Dalhousie was just 25 at this point in time, not to mention the fact he was not in India too – having just been elected to the House of Commons. However, don’t be fooled by the age factor.  James Andrew did accept the post of Governor General of India ten years later in 1847 (35 being his age) and assumed his post January 12, 1848….

Having cleared this point, lets get back to Avadh in the second week of July 1837.

As I said, Nasir-ud-din Haider died without an offspring and Ghazi-ud-din Haider’s queen put forward Munna Jan, as a claimant to the throne though both Ghazi-ud-din Haider and Nasir-ud-din Haider had refused to acknowledge him as belonging to the royal family. Despite warnings from the British, the begum went ahead and forcibly enthroned Munna Jan at the Lalbaradari. The resident led a little military contingent to intervene and after displaying some force – a ‘whiff of grapeshot’ (though actually this was Napoleon in the days of the Directory earlier in the century. By this time, he had been dead for over a decade and a half ), blew away the challenge and dispersed their supporters. Both the begum and Munna Jan were arrested and imprisoned a safe distance away.

But what about the succession? Well, the late Saadat Ali Khan’s son, the 60-year-old Moin-ud-din Abu’l-Fateh Muhammad Ali Shah was brought out to succeed his nephew – on payment of some money naturally. However, he could only rule five years or so and departed this world on May 17,  1842.

His son – the second, actually – Naseer-ud-daula Amjad Ali Jah Shah took his place. Amjad Ali Shah (as he is generally known) ruled from May 17, 1842 to Feb 13, 1847, when he handed the baton… oh sorry, I mean the sceptre to Naseer-ud-din Abdul Mansur Mohammad Wajid Ali Shah  and you must know him at least.

Wajid Ali Shah ruled till February 7, 1856 till the British pulled the plug. (Well it was Dalhousie but not through the Doctrine of Lapse).

So this brings to an end the line of Avadh’s Nawabs – the bare outlines that is.

Next time, we will again start from the beginning and list their enduring actions and legacies. Till then……

To be continued…

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