We humans are the children of chance and circumstance, and the civilisations and cultures we straddle, and the connections between them, are woven through the quirks of fate. Chance, too, directed the connection between the city of Nishapur in the province of Khorasan in Northeastern Iran, known for its high-quality turquoise, and Calcutta. The first Nawab of Awadh, Sadaat Khan Burhan-ul-Mulk, was a Persian noble from Khorasan who came to India in 1708. The last was Wajid Ali Shah, who spent the last 31 years of his life in Calcutta.
Born on July 30, 1822, Wajid Ali Shah was not in the direct line of succession and received no special treatment during his early years. As Nasiruddin Haider died heirless, his grandfather’s brother, the 63-year-old Nawab Mohammad Ali Shah, was crowned the third king of Awadh. His son Amjad Ali Shah took over after four years. When he died of cancer, the young Wajid Ali Shah was crowned in 1847.