The Oudh State (//, also Kingdom of Oudh, or Awadh State) was a princely state in the Awadh region of North India until its annexation by the British in 1856. The name Oudh, now obsolete, was once the anglicized name of the state, also written historically as Oude.
|Status||Mughal Subah (1572-1732)|
Mughal suzernity (1732–1816)
British protectorate (1816–1858)
|Religion||Twelver Shia Islam|
|Government||Mughal Subah (1572–1732) |
Independent State (1732–1816)
Princely State (1816–1856)
|Saadat Ali Khan I (first)|
|Wajid Ali Shah (last)|
• Independence from Mughal
• Annexation of Oudh
|5 – 25 June 1858|
|3 Mar 1859|
• Merger of Oudh to North-Western Provinces
|62,072 km2 (23,966 sq mi)|
As the Mughal Empire declined and decentralized, local governors in Oudh began asserting greater autonomy, and eventually Oudh matured into an independent polity governing the fertile lands of the Central and Lower Doab. With the British East India Company entering Bengal and decisively defeating Oudh at the Battle of Buxar in 1764, Oudh fell into the British orbit.
The capital of Oudh was in Faizabad, but the Company's political agents, officially known as "residents", had their seat in Lucknow. At par existed a Maratha embassy, in the Oudh court, led by the Vakil of the Peshwa, until the Second Anglo-Maratha War. The Nawab of Oudh, one of the richest princes, paid for and erected a Residency in Lucknow as a part of a wider programme of civic improvements.
Oudh joined other Indian states in an upheaval against British rule in 1858 during one of the last series of actions in the Indian rebellion of 1857. In the course of this uprising detachments of the British Indian Army from the Bombay Presidency overcame the disunited collection of Indian states in a single rapid campaign. Determined rebels continued to wage sporadic guerrilla clashes until the spring of 1859. This rebellion is also historically known as the Oudh campaign.
Oudh Subah was one of the initial 12 subahs established by Mughal Emperor Akbar during his administrative reforms of 1572–1580. Subahs were divided into sarkars, or districts. Sarkars were further divided into Parganas or Mahals. As the Mughal empire began to dissolve in the early 18th century, Oudh, like many subahs became effectively independent.
Saadat Ali Khan I was appointed Nawab of Oudh on 9 September 1722, succeeding Girdhar Bahadur. He immediately subdued the autonomous Shaikhzadas of Lucknow and Raja Mohan Singh of Tiloi, consolidating Oudh as a state. In 1728, Oudh further acquired Varanasi, Jaunpur and surrounding lands from the Mughal noble Rustam Ali Khan and established stable revenue collection in that province after quelling the chief of Azamgarh, Mahabat Khan.: 44 In 1739 Saadat Khan mobilized Oudh to defend against Nader Shah's invasion of India, ultimately being captured in the battle of Karnal. He attempted to cooperate with Nader Shah, but died at Delhi.
In 1740, his successor Safdar Jang moved the capital of the state from Ayodhya to Faizabad. Safdar Jang gained recognition from Persia after paying tribute. He continued Saadat Khan's expansionist policy, promising military protection to Bengal in exchange for the forts at Rohtasgarh and Chunar, and annexing portions of Farrukhabad with Mughal military aid which was ruled by Muhammad Khan Bangash.
As regional officials asserted their autonomy in Bengal and the Deccan as well as with the rise of the Maratha Empire, the rulers of Oudh gradually affirmed their own sovereignty. Safdar Jang went as far as to control the ruler of Delhi, putting Ahmad Shah Bahadur on the Mughal throne with the cooperation of other Mughal nobility. In 1748 he gained the subah of Allahabad with Ahmad Shah's official support. This was arguably the zenith of Oudh's territorial span.: 132 : 193
The next nawab, Shuja-ud-Daula, further extended Oudh's control of the Mughal emperor. He was appointed vazir to Shah Alam II in 1762 and offered him asylum after his failed campaigns against the British in the Bengal War.
British contact and controlEdit
Since Oudh was located in a prosperous region, the British East India Company soon took notice of the affluence in which the Nawabs of Oudh lived. Initially, the British sought to protect the frontiers of Bengal and their lucrative trade there; only later did direct expansion occur.
British dominance was established at the Battle of Buxar of 1764, when the East India Company defeated the alliance between the nawab of Oudh Shuja-ud-Daula and the deposed nawab of Bengal Mir Kasim.: 25 The battle was a turning point for the once rising star of Oudh. The immediate effect was British occupation of the fort at Chunar and the cession of the provinces of Kora and Allahabad to Mughal ruler Shah Alam II under the Treaty of Benares (1765). Shaja-ud-Daula further had to pay 5 million rupees as an indemnity, which was paid off in one year.: 158 : 252 The long-term result would be direct British interference in the internal state matters of Oudh, useful as a buffer state against the Marathas. The treaty also granted British traders special privileges and exemptions from many customs duties, which led to tensions as British monopolies were established.
Shuja-ud-Daula bought the Mughal provinces of Kora and Allahabad in the Treaty of Benares (1773) with the British (who held de facto control over the area) for 50 lakh rupees, increased cost of Company mercenaries, and military aid in the First Rohilla War to expand Oudh as a buffer state against Maratha interests.: 65 : 75 Done by Warren Hastings, this move was unpopular among the rest of Company leadership, but Hastings continued a harsh policy on Oudh, justifying the military aid as a bid to strengthen Oudh's status as a buffer state against the Marathas. To shape the policy of Oudh and direct its internal affairs Hastings appointed the resident Nathaniel Middleton in Lucknow that year as well. At the conclusion of the First Rohilla War in 1774, Oudh gained the entirety of Rohilkhand and the Middle Doab region, leaving only the independent Rampur State as a Rohilla enclave.
The Turkic and Iranian Persian Twelver Shia Muslim royal family ruling the Oudh (Awadh) state in India obtained their eunuchs (khwajasarais) through crushing Hindu rebellions by their Indian Hindu subjects that they ruled, massacring Hindu men and enslaving the Hindu women and children with the South Asian Indian Hindu boys being castrated and sent into the harems for service as eunuchs, massacring Hindu men and enslaving the Hindu women and children with the Hindu boys being castrated and sent into the harems for service as eunuchs. Jawahir Ali was a eunuch of Oudh state who was born a Hindu. The rulers of Oudh (Awadh) state were Twelver Shia while Rajput Hindus made up most of the local cultivator landholding rajas. The Hindu Rajas of Khairabad rebelled since they refused to pay taxes to the Twelver Shia district administrator Nawab Muhammad Ali Khan so Nawab Muhammad Ali defeated the Hindus in battle and the Muslim historian Muhammad Faiz Bakhsh recorded in his book Tarikh Farahbakhsh that Muhammad Ali sent "hundreds of unbelievers (Hindus) to hell", enslaving their children and women and castrated the Hindu boys among the children. Adult Hindu women, Hindu girls, and Hindu boys like Jawahir Ali were enslaved by their Twelver Shia ruler. One Hindu boy died from being castrated but the rest of the Hindu boys including Jawahir Ali survived the castration and entered Muhammad Ali's service as eunuchs. The castrated Hindu boys were converted to Twelver Shia Islam and given Muslim names after being enslaved and then educated. The Twelver Shia Turkic Nawab of Oudh Shuja-ud-Daula (a descendant of the Turkic Twelver Shia Qara Qoyunlu dynasty through his father Safdar Jang) made Nawab Muhammad Ali Khan give his eunuchs including Jawahir Ali to him. Jawahir Ali (Joahir Ali) served as nazir eunuch to Bahu Begum (Bahu Begam, Bahoo Begum or Buhoo Begum) (Begum Amanat-uz Zahra Bano), the Iranian Persian wife of the Turkic Twelver Shia ruler of Oudh, Shuja-ud-Daula. Bahu Begum owned multiple eunuchs, all of them of Indian Hindu background. One of them was born a eunuch with defective genital and sold to the Nawab by his family, Darab Ali Khan and he was a general agent of Bahu Begam after Jawahir Ali. Another was a Brahmin Hindu boy who was kidnaped by castrators, enslaved and castrated when he was 14 after his famine stricken parents sold him to a woman of Sayyid background and he was the treasurer of Bahu Begam, Bahar Ali. Jawahir Ali was the first general agent of Bahu Begam.
Bahu Begam's estates were managed by Javahir 'Ali Khan. The Twelver Shia cleric Mawlavi Muhammad Munir who came to Faizabad and was there during a riot in 1779 between Sufi pirs and physicians against Twelver Shia clerics. Muhammad Munir was paid a stipend and backed up by Javahir Ali. Javahir Ali sent soldiers to support the Twelver scholars against the physicians. The Twelver Shia Usuli ulama were also supported by Javahir Ali when they implemented Friday prayers 7 years after the riots. Javahir paid 20 people to make people attend the 5 mandatory prayers and Friday prayer during the winter and rainy season. Bahu Begum was of Persian Iranian descent. The British East India Company under Warren Hastings tortured the eunuchs Bahar Ali and Jawahir Ali after they arrested Bahu Begum in 1781 in order to force them to give their treasure over.
Jawahir Ali Khan ordered 2 fellow eunuchs belonging to Bahu Begum, Sa'adat and Basharat to assist the Qadi (Qazi) at Ali Beg Khan mosque. Due to cold weather, the eunuch minister Darab Ali Khan tried to stop Bahu Begam from reciting Fatiha at Imam Husain's tazia during Muharram but she went regardless and got a fever and cold.
Bahu Begum only allowed Jawahir to enter when she was on her Sedan Chair speaking before British East India Company representative Mr. Lumsden in Lucknow. Darab Ali Khan came from the Salone district, Rusulabad. Jawahir was interred in an imambarah made out of wood after he died in 1799 in Faizabad. Bahu Begum had another favourite eunuch, Tehsin Ali Khan who died on 27 August 1818. He constructed a mosque and owned a Serai. Bahu Begum's name was Amanat-uz Zahra and her eunuch Jawahar Ali Khan built an Imambara in Faizabad. Bahu Begam was the younger sister of Mirza Muhammad
As there is a full account given of Jawahir 'Ali Ķbán in connection with Faizábád, there is no need to speak of him here. Having filled the office of the Nazárat on earth for thirty-four years after the death of Nusrat 'Ali ķhán, he was summoned in 1214 A.H. [1799 A.D.), to superintend the huris of Firdaus, and hastened. to Paradise. Then the lucrative appointments which he had vacated were conferred on Muhammad Dáráb. Ali Ķbán. Although Jawahir . 'Ali Khán had thrice the dignity and opulence of his father,* for his authority extended from the mountain of Butwal on the north to the banks of the Ganges on the south, and he had more than 10,000 horse and foot, and had personal property greater than all the other eunuchs of Faizábád had been able to collect in their whole lives, yet he was never known to utter an arrogant or haughty word, and never assumed any manner or a form of speech which savoured of pride or arrogance. As he had evinced from his early boyhood a taste for literature, he was constantly engaged in reading, and when any literary discussion took place, he used to leave the most urgent business to go and share its advantages. In his early years he was fond of Arabic, and becoming proficient in etymology, syntax, and logic, he entered on the study of Şadra; but owing to his tours and journeys, which he had to make to Lucknow each year and sometimes to the mountain of Butwal, he was unable to make further progress.
He was an able expositor of the ambiguities of Persian poetry. Enigmas and riddles were solved in gatherings around him. Above all, he was especially fond of historical works. He read from beginning to end the Sháhnáma, Hamla-i-Haidarí, the Masnavís of Jalálu'ddín Rúmi, Ma'ariju'nnabuwat, Rauzatu'ssafa, Habibu'ssiyar, Shahjabánnáma, Akbarnáma, Taimúrnáma, Táriķh Farishta, and every other book on which he could lay his hands. The duty of reading these aloud to him was imposed on me. He used to listen to them from sunset until midnight. I heard many narratives and tales while thus privileged with the enjoyment of his society. He always sought the company of scholars, poets, and men of science. He is dead and gone.
* The relation of an old eunuch to a younger one as guru and chelá (priest and novice) is often referred to in this work. When a eunuch adopted another they were spoken of as father and son. This is the relation here alluded to, Jawábir 'Ali being looked on as the adopted son of Nusrat 'Ali, whom he succeeded. Muhammad Faiz Bakhsh, "Memoirs of Delhi and Faizábád: Being a Translation of the Táríḳh Farahbaḳhsh of Muhammad Faiz Baḳhsh from the Original Persian, Volume 1", pages iv-v.
Yusuf Ali Khan and Ambar Ali Khan were 2 other eunuch boys who were raised with Jawahir Ali Khan. Ambar Ali Khan was taken prisoner in the same battle as Jawahir Ali Khan when the Twelver Shia Commissioner Muhammad Ali Khan defeated the Hindu Rajputs of Khairabad (Sitapur) and castrated the Hindu boys. Jawahir Ali Khan used white clothing for Mewatis, black clothing for irregulars and livery in mango green for household troops (Sahib Khanis) when he ordered his servants and soldiers to parade in Lucknow while he was administrator. Jawahir Ali patronized intellectuals and culture as well as engaging in horsemanship and archery practice every day. He did not wear ornate, expensive or elaborate clothing and did not do extravagant grooming, since as a high ranking eunuch (khwajasarai) his mistress did not need to flaunt her wealth through him. Jawahir Ali Khan cone had 1,000 servants shout "Din, Din" while raising banners and wearing white robes after taking off their black robes. One of his officials was Akhund Ahmad. Jawahir Ali had a dispute with his mistress Bahu Begum when he was blocking a road once and she sent a eunuch to tell him to stop it.
Asaf-ud-Daula acceded to the nawabship of Oudh with British aid in exchange for the Treaty of Benares (1775) which further increased the cost of mercenaries and ceded the sarkars of Benares, Ghazipur, Chunar, and Jaunpur. From this time onwards Oudh was consistently compliant with the Company, which continued to demand more land and economic control over the state.
The Treaty of Chunar (1781) sought to reduce the number of British troops in Oudh's service to cut costs, but failed in this measure due to the instability of Asaf-ud-Daula's rule and thus his reliance on British aid essentially as a puppet regime.
Saadat Ali Khan II acceded to throne of Oudh in 1798, owing his seat to British intervention including Governor-General of Bengal Sir John Shore's personal proclamation in Lucknow of his rule. A treaty signed on 21 February 1798 increased the subsidy paid to the British to 70 lakh rupees per year.
In light of the Napoleonic Wars and British demands for greater revenue from the Company, in 1801, Saadat Ali Khan II ceded the entire Rohilkhand and Lower Doab as well as the sarkar of Gorakhpur under the pressure of Lord Wellesley to the British in lieu of the annual tribute. The cession halved the size of the polity, reducing it to the original Mughal subah of Awadh (excepting Gorakhpur which was ceded) and surrounded it by directly-administered British territory, rendering it useless as a buffer. The treaty also mandated a government to be put in place that primarily served the citizens of Oudh. It was on the basis of the failure to meet this demand that the British later justified the annexation of Oudh.
The kingdom became a British protectorate in May 1816 (However, the state was an unofficial British protectorate since 1764, having little external autonomy). Three years later, in 1819, the Ghazi-ud-Din Haidar Shah took the title of padshah (king), signaling formal independence from the Mughal Empire under the advice of the Marquis of Hastings.
Throughout the early 1800s until annexation, several areas were gradually ceded to the British.
Sleeman reported that the Nawab of Lucknow "lives, exclusively, in the society of fiddlers, eunuchs and women" The Nawab Vajid Ali shah ordered his eunuchs to look for the mark of the sampan (snake mark) on his concubines and temporary wives in his harem, which was regarded as bad luck in September 1850. 8 of them had the mark. After initially calling for a divorce and asking his Twelver Shia chief mujtahid Sayyid Muhammad Nasirabadi to do it, he was advised to seek advice from Hindu Brahmins who instead advised him to burn the sampan marks off them and 2 of them had them burned off instead of divorcing the Nawab.
On 7 February 1856 by order of Lord Dalhousie, General of the East India Company, the king of Oudh (Wajid Ali Shah) was deposed, and its kingdom was annexed to British India under the terms of the Doctrine of lapse on the grounds of alleged internal misrule.
Between 5 July 1857 and 3 March 1858 there was an upheaval by the son of the deposed king joining the Indian Rebellion of 1857. At the time of the rebellion, the British lost control of the territory; they reestablished their rule over the next eighteen months, during which time there were massacres such as those that had occurred in the course of the Siege of Cawnpore.
After Oudh's territory was merged with the North Western Provinces, it formed the larger province of North Western Provinces and Oudh. In 1902, the latter province was renamed the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, and in 1904 the region within the new United Provinces, corresponding to the former North Western Provinces and Oudh, was renamed the Agra Province.
- Balrampur Estate
- Benares State until 1775
- Bhadri Estate
- Itaunja Estate
- Nanpara Taluqdari
- Pratapgarh Estate
- Tulsipur State
The first ruler of Oudh State belonged to the Shia Muslim Sayyid Family and descended of Musa al-Kadhim originated from Nishapur. But the dynasty also belonged from the paternal line to the Kara Koyunlu through Qara Yusuf. They were renowned for their secularism and broad outlook.
|Title||Reign Start||Reign End||Name|
|Subadar Nawab||1722||19 Mar 1739||Borhan al-Molk Mir Mohammad Amin Musawi Saʾadat ʾAli Khan I|
|19 Mar 1739||28 Apr 1748||Abu'l Mansur Mohammad Moqim Khan|
|Nawab Wazir al-Mamalik||28 Apr 1748||13 May 1753|
|Subadar Nawab||5 Nov 1753||5 Oct 1754|
|5 Oct 1754||15 Feb 1762||Jalal ad-Din Shojaʾ ad-Dowla Haydar|
|Nawab Wazir al-Mamalik||15 Feb 1762||26 Jan 1775|
|26 Jan 1775||21 Sep 1797||Asaf ad-Dowla Amani|
|21 Sep 1797||21 Jan 1798||Mirza Wazir ʾAli Khan|
|21 Jan 1798||11 Jul 1814||Yamin ad-Dowla Nazem al-Molk Saʾadat ʾAli Khan II Bahadur|
|11 Jul 1814||19 Oct 1818||Ghazi ad-Din Rafaʾat ad-Dowla Abul-Mozaffar Haydar Khan|
|King (Padshah-e Awadh, Shah-e Zaman)||19 Oct 1818||19 Oct 1827|
|19 Oct 1827||7 Jul 1837||Naser ad-Din Haydar Solayman Jah Shah|
|7 Jul 1837||17 May 1842||Moʾin ad-Din Abu'l-Fath Mohammad ʾAli Shah|
|17 May 1842||13 Feb 1847||Naser ad-Dowla Amjad ʾAli Thorayya Jah Shah|
|13 Feb 1847||7 Feb 1856||Naser ad-Din ʾAbd al-Mansur Mohammad Wajed ʾAli Shah|
|5 Jul 1857||3 Mar 1858||Berjis Qadr (in rebellion)|
|Nathaniel Middleton||1776||1779 (second time)|
|John Bristow||1780||1781 (second time)|
|Nathaniel Middleton||1781||1782 (third time)|
|John Bristow||1782||1783 (third time)|
|Edward Otto Ives||1785||1794|
|George Frederick Cherry||1794||1796|
|John Ulrich Collins||1804||1807|
|Richard Charles Strachey||1815||1817|
|Felix Vincent Raper||1820||1823|
|Thomas Herbert Maddock||1829||1831|
|James Caulfield (interí)||1839||1841|
|J. D. Shakespear||1844||1845|
|T. Reid Davidson||1845||1847|
|Sir William Henry Sleeman||1849||1854|
|Sir James Outram||1854||1856|
In the early eighteenth century, the population of Oudh was estimated to be 3 million. Oudh underwent a demographic shift in which Lucknow and Varanasi expanded to become metropolises of over 200,000 people over the course of the 18th century at the expense of Agra and Delhi. During this period the land on the banks of the Yamuna suffered frequent dry spells, while the Baiswara did not.: 38
The Nawabs of Oudh were descended from a Sayyid line from Nishapur in Persia. They were Shia Muslims, and promoted Shia as the state religion. Ghazi-ud-Din Haidar Shah instituted the Oudh Bequest, a system of fixed payments by the British paid to the Shia holy cities of Najaf and Karbala. These payments, along with lifelong stipends to the wives and mother of Ghazi-ud-Din served as interest on the Third Oudh Loan taken in 1825.
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Out of regard for Zainu'labdin and in remembrance of Bahar Ali Khan's kindness to me , I went to Jawahir Ali Khan and interceded and pleaded until I ... She bought a Brahman boy from his father and mother in year of famine and brought him up as her son . ... The castrators lifted him , carried him off , castrated him and sold him to the Nawab , who made him over to Shuja'u'ddaulah . The latter entrusted him for education and board to Khushnazr Ali Khan , who was a very old eunuch .
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The Qazi came and took his seat at Ali Beg Khan's mosque . Basharat and Sa'adat , two of the Bahu Begum's eunuchs , attended at the mosque by Jawahir Ali Khan's order to support the Qazi . The Qazi sent a verbal order to Bani Khanam ...
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In this connection an account of the death of his royal consort Bahu Begam who outlived him by 41 years may , in fitness of things , be recorded here . ... This year she prepared to go as usual but Darab Ali Khan , her eunuch minister , tried to prevent her on account of the fear of a ... She was borne with great respect and ceremony to the Jawahir Bagh on the shoulders of the nobles of Faizabad ; around ...
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Salih , leaving the service of Jawahir ' Ali Khan joined the service of Bani Khānam . He entreated that his wife Nūrjahān ... and it was not expedient to stay in . She again spoke to the Bahū Begum who sent a eunuch to Jawāhir ' Ali Khān saying ... Jawahir ' Ali Khān was so much in the heat of passion that he became reckless , and forgetting the relations of master and servant , he returned no answer ...
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On the contrary the annexation of Oudh in 1856 was viewed by the Muslim elite and the Hindu majority population of Oudh
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