Talookdars of Oude (Taluqdars of Awadh)

late 19th century

Oude is the anglicisation of Awadh—itself a derivation of Ayodhya, capital of the ancient kingdom of Kosala. Awadh was one of the 12 original provinces or subahs defined by Mughal emperor Akbar. It was governed by a subedar, under whom sprawled a network of taluqdars, members of a land-owning aristocracy responsible for collecting revenues from the peasantry.

When the East India Company arrived on the scene with its imperial agenda, capturing the wealthy Awadh would not be as simple as deposing its last Nawab, the beloved Wajid Ali Shah (1822-1887). To gain control over land revenues, the Company enacted laws that disrupted the region’s far older power structure, the one held by the ‘Barons of Oude’, i.e. the taluqdars. The resulting animosity nudged these men to throw their considerable might behind the sepoys and citizens who revolted against the British in 1857. By the late 1800s, the taluqdars had been restored their possessions.

Talookdars of Oude (Taluqdars of Awadh)
late 19th century
attributed to Bourne and Shepherd
H: 27.9 cm x W: 23.5 cm
Accession No.
2016.26.5 (b)