The Royal Asiatic Society presents:
Dr Rosie Llewellyn Jones – The Last King in India: Wajid Ali Shah
The lecture will examine the extraordinary story of this 19th century king who continues to divide opinion today. Was he, as the British believed, a debauched ruler who spent his time with fiddlers, eunuchs and fairies when he should have been ruling his kingdom? Or was he, as many Indians remember him, a talented poet and musician who was robbed of his throne by the East India Company? Dr Llewellyn-Jones will postulate that the reality lies somewhere between these two extremes: that Wajid Ali Shah was a gifted, but difficult character, who was written out of history when his kingdom was annexed in 1856, but who lived for another thirty years near Calcutta, recreating the lost paradise that was Lucknow.
Dr Rosie Llewellyn-Jones is an authority on colonial India from the 18th to the 20th century. She studied Indian languages at SOAS, and has lived in India, written extensively about it, and visits at least once a year. She has published a number of books on Lucknow, and her book on the Mutiny, The Great Uprising in India: Untold Stories, Indian and British (2007), won critical praise. She lectures for the Asian Arts course at the V&A Museum. She is founder and editor of ‘Chowkidar’, the Journal of the British Association for Cemeteries in South Asia (BACSA). She works as an archivist for the Royal Society for Asian Affairs and has been a member of the RAS since 1985.
Introduction by Professor Peter Robb (President, RAS):