Forthcoming RAS Lecture – Wajid Ali Shah: The Last King of India

The next RAS Lecture will take place at 6pm on Thursday 9th April when Dr Rosie Llewellyn-Jones will speak on Wajid Ali Shah: The Last King of India.

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.

This story is explored in her recently published book:

Front Cover of Dr Llewellyn-Jones new book

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.

In the New Year’s Honours List, 2015, Dr Llewellyn-Jones was awarded a MBE for her charitable work for BACSA and for British-Indian Studies.

We look forward to hearing about the life of Wajid Ali Shah. Please join us to learn more about this fascinating subject on Thursday 9th April.

Before this event the RAS will be closing for the Easter Holiday Period. The Society will be closed from the evening of Wednesday 1st April, re-opening on Tuesday 7th April. May we take this opportunity of wishing you all a very happy Easter, and we look forward to welcoming you to our events and to use the Library in the coming weeks.