Abode of Fairies: Lucknow’s Parikhana
Wajid Ali Shah, the last King of Awadh, who was accused of misgovernance and deposed by the British in 1856, remained an enigma all through his life time. In addition to soulful writings and innovative dance / musical compositions, his unique contribution to the cultural landscape of Lucknow was the establishment of a finishing school for women, for training them in music and dance. This was called Parikhana, accounts of which were described in his book, Ishqnama, one of his earliest semi-biographical books. The present volume attempts to analyse in an unbiased manner, the king's motives and intentions in establishing Parikhana, taking into account the moral and cultural ethos prevalent in those times. The author also seeks to dispel the viewpoint that numerous mut'ah wives and their induction in Parikhana was part of any ulterior motive of the young king. Instead, it was merely a reflection on his profound love for the performing arts, and his firm belief on the restorative effect of music on himself, as well as on others. Contents: Exordium 1. Prologue, 2. Connoisseur and Maestro, 3. Tawa’if and Mut’ah: A Study in Contrasts, Abode of Fairies 4. The Parikhana, 5. Annotations, 6. Epilogue: The King’s Last Laugh, Select Bibliography, Annexure - I, Annexure - II, Index About the Author: PC Sarkar, Principal Scientist with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Govt. of India, holds a Ph.D in organic chemistry. He studied in St Francis’ College, Lucknow and Lucknow Christian College, followed by Lucknow University. In addition to a specialized book on chemistry and several research publications in national and international journals pertaining to his scientific profession, Dr Sarkar has to his credit, more than 50 articles on Lucknow, which appeared in the Heritage Page of the Lucknow Tribune during 2013-14. He has published two books on the lost heritage of Lucknow: Lucknow - Buildings, Begums and The British (2015) and Lucknow - Ode To A City (2021).