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Nawab Wajid Ali Shah

15th July, 2023 History

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  • It is the bicentenary year of the last king of Awadh, Nawab Wajid Ali Shah.
  • In this context many programmes like exhibitions, heritage walk and talk etc. are planned for celebrating the day in Kolkat 

Nawab Wajid Ali Shah

  • Mirza Wajid Ali Shah, known as Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, was born in year 1887 and was the last king of Awadh.
    • Awadh was significant region and was known for its gardens, granary, and was considered a queen-province of India.
  • After the 9 year of his rule, The Awadh was annexed in 1856 by EIC and made a buffer state.
  • Soon after the king was exiled to Garden Reach in Metiabruz and was provided a pension.
  • He was an excellent connoisseur of art and patronized artists around him.
  • He spent the last years of his life in Metiabruz on the outskirts of Kolkata.

Contribution to Art

  • Himself being a poet, a playwright, a gifted composer and an admirer of dance, he patronized various art forms and associated artists.


  • A classical Indian dance form, Kathak, was introduced by him as a court dance.
  • His Kathak teacher was Thakur Prasad ji.
  • He provided artistic guidance, financial assistance to make this dance form achieve greater heights and a definite form.
  • He is also believed to start two distinct forms of dance called Rahas and Raas.


  • He patronized a light classical form of thumri music.
    • Most famous is bhairavi thumri “Babul Mora Naihar Chhooto Jaay”
  • He also supported and encourages ragas like Tilak, pilu, sendura, khammach, bhairvi and jhanjhauti.
  • As a gifted musician he composed various musical compositions such as poems, prose and thumris, under a pseudonym Akhtarpiya.
  • Gazhals
    • Diwan-i-Akhtar and Husn-i-Akhtar
  • Ragas
    • Jogi, Juhi, Shah-Pasand

Hindustani theatre

  • Establishment of Parikhaanaa place to teach music and dance to beautiful and talented girls by expert trainers.
  • By staging Rasleela he promoted this theatre art form.
  • Some historians and experts believe his to be the first playwright of the Hindustani theatre.
  • Playwright
    • Radha Kanhaiyya Ka Qissa;
    • Darya-i-Tashsq;
    • Bhahar-i-Ulfat etc.


  • He was known to use a poetic takhallus, a pen name used by poets, Qaisar.
  • Works in poetry
    • Sawat-ul-Qalub;
    • Huzn-i-Akhtar
  • He also patronized the famous poet Mirza Ghalib.

Buffer State

·It is a region which is situated between two powerful kingdoms/states.

·The two kingdoms are generally rivals to each other and are potentially hostile.

·Hence the buffer state acts as a protection in case of aggression by other state and provides safeguards in case of conflicts.


Consider the following statements about Nawab Wajid Ali Shah.

1. During his reign the Awadh state was annexed and made a buffer state.

2. He is believed to introduce Kathak in a new court form.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

A. 1 only

B. 2 only

C. Both 1 and 2

D. Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: (C)