Lord Dalhousie’s annexations created disaffection in all the areas and principalities that were annexed but nowhere more so than in the kingdom of Awadh in the heart of North India.
The takeover of Awadh in 1856 was expected to complete a process of territorial annexation.
Nawab Wajid Ali Shah was dethroned and exiled to Calcutta on the plea that the region was being misgoverned.
This emotional upheaval was aggravated by immediate material losses. The removal of the Nawab led to the dissolution of the court and its culture. Thus, a whole range of people – musicians, dancers, poets, artisans, cooks, retainers, administrative officials and so on – lost their livelihood.
A chain of grievances in Awadh linked prince, taluqdar, peasant and sepoy. In different ways they came to identify firangi raj with the end of their world – the breakdown of things they valued, respected, and held dear. The annexation displaced not just the Nawab. It also dispossessed the taluqdars of the region.