How's my Luck now?

Reflections, views and descriptions during my stay at IIM Lucknow from July 2004 to March 2006

Location: India

Sunday, September 25, 2005

A history lesson - Take 2

Eight months after I last visited Lucknow's three main attractions - the Bada and Chhota Imambara-s and the Residency - I visited them again today with my friends, who were visiting them for the first time. I must say that I enjoyed the trip as much as I had enjoyed it the first time. Those buildings, and the scenes of old Lucknow city, do inspire visions of how Lucknow must have been like a century and a half (and more) ago. The magnificence of the Bada Imambara and its labyrinth (which we tried out this time, with much handholding by the guide); the ingenuity of the Bauli (step-well); the profusion of chandeliers in the Chhota Imambara; and the ruins of the Residency, inspiring, at once, respect for British resilience, sadness for those who lost their lives over five months of oppressive battle on both sides (but particularly, the young Britishers who lie buried in a foreign land now), understanding of how opulently and comfortably the British lived - all these were worth experiencing again. I also learned that the building of the labyrinth was not intentional, but arose out of uncoordinated work by the poor labourers (for whom Nawab Asaf-ud-Daula had ordered the building of it, as relief work in a famine). This time, we also visited the Art Gallery near the Chhota Imambara, which had full-length portraits of the major Nawabs of Awadh, including Asaf-ud-Daula, Mohammed Ali Shah, Saadat Ali Khan and Wajid Ali Shah. Each of them had the quality that as one moved across the painting from one side to another, some part of the painting - the eyes, the shoes, the leg, etc. - seemed to keep turning towards you all the time. It was clever work. Small pleasures, like eating a faaludaa at Hazratganj, sweetened a day well spent. Hearing a few sentences of excellent Urdu was also nice.


Anonymous Ex-Wolverine said...

Maybe you should elaborate on one painting which particularly stood out :D We all know which one that was!!!

4:23 AM  
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