It was exactly on this day – 13th March 1856, that the last Nawab of Avadh, Wajid Ali Shah, left Lucknow, after the wrongful annexation of his kingdom by the East India Company.
The English were afraid that his deposition might spark a revolt and insisted he leave in the quiet of the night. They did the same later, with Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Moghul emperor of India.
A heart-broken Wajid Ali Shah, who was also a fine poet, wrote these lines as he left the city that he so loved, never to return:
Babul mora naihar chuto hi jaye
Char kahar mil mori doliya sajave
Mora apna begana chuto jaye
(O father, I’m leaving my home behind,
four men have gathered to lift my palanquin.
My near and dear ones will soon become strangers, my home unreachable…)
These lines were later immortalised by K.L. Saigal who sang them in the Bollywood movie, Street Singer – Babul mora… The song became so popular that it was sung at most Indian weddings.
(You can read more about the last nawab, his last days in Avadh and how his beloved Lucknow, which was one of the richest and most beautiful cities in India during his rule, was annihilated in the space of just 3 years, in my novel – The World Beyond.)