Friday, July 1, 2011

Wazir Ali, Nawab of Awadh

Wazir Ali  was adopted as the son of Asaf-Ud-Dowlah, who although keeping a Harem of 500 women had no legitimate son. He purchased the pregnant daughter of a servant. Enchanted by the boy he adopted and pampered him. At 13 years of age Ali, who was known to have a cruel streak, was married at the cost of £ 300000 in Lucknow.
After the death of his "father" he ascended to the throne (musnud), with support of the British. Within four month they accused him of being unfaithful. Sir John Shore (1751–1834) moved in with 12 battalions and replaced him with his uncle Saadat Ali Khan II.

Attack on Davis' House (14. Feb. 1799)
Ali was granted a pension of 20000 Rupies and removed to Benares. Government in Calcutta decided that he should be removed further from his former realm. Mr. Cherry, British resident, relayed this order to him on Feb. 14th during a breakfast invitation to which Ali had appeared with an armed guard. During the ensuing argument he struck Cherry a blow with his sabre, whereupon the guards killed the resident and two more Europeans. They then set out attack the house of Mr.Davis, another colonial officer. He defended himself on the staircase of his house until rescued by British troops.
Subsequently Ali assembled an rebellious army of svereal thousand men. A quickly assembled force commanded by Gen. Erskine moved into Benares and "restored order" by the 21st. Ali fled into Rajputana and was granted asylum by the Raja of Jeypore. On request of Arthur Wellesley, Earl of Mornington, the raja turned Ali over to the British on the condition that he neither be hanged nor be put in fetters.
The colonial government complied with this: Ali spent the rest of life - 17 years - in an iron cage in Ft. Williams of Calcutta. He was buried in the Muslim graveyard of Casia Baguan.