Oudh State

This article is about the state during the British Raj. For the natural and historical region in Uttar Pradesh, see Awadh.
"Oudh" redirects here. For the Oudh tree, see agarwood. For the Arabic musical instrument, see Oud.
Oudh State
अवध रियासत / اودھ ریاست
Princely State of British India

Flag Coat of arms
Oudh in "Northern India 1857" map
  Established 1732
  Indian rebellion 1858
  1901 62,072 km2 (23,966 sq mi)
  1901 12,833,077 
Density 206.7 /km2  (535.5 /sq mi)
Today part of Uttar Pradesh, India
Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "article name needed". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 
Portrait of a Bibi, Lucknow 1785

The Oudh State or Kingdom of Oudh (Awadh State) was a princely state in the Awadh region during the British Raj until 1856. Oudh (IPA: /ˈaʊd/),[1] the now obsolete but once official English-language name of the state, also written in British historical texts as 'Oude', derived from the name of Ayodhya.

The capital of Oudh State was in Faizabad, but the British Agents, officially known as 'residents', had their seat in Lucknow. The Nawab of Oudh, one of the richest princes, paid for and erected a splendid Residency in Lucknow as a part of a wider programme of civic improvements.[2]

Oudh joined other Indian states in an upheaval against British rule in 1858 during one of the last series of actions in the Indian rebellion of 1857. In the course of this uprising a few detachments of the British Indian Army from the Bombay Presidency overcame the disunited collection of Indian states in a single rapid campaign. Even so, determined rebels continued to wage sporadic guerrilla clashes until the spring of 1859. This ill-fated rebellion is also historically known as the 'Oudh campaign'.[3]

After the British annexation of Oudh, the North Western Provinces became the North Western Provinces and Oudh.[4]


The Oudh in 1760.

In 1732, under Mughal sovereignty, a senior official of the Mughal Empire established a hereditary polity in Oudh. As the power of the Mughals waned, with the rise of the Maratha Empire, the rulers of Oudh gradually affirmed their own sovereignty. Since the state was located in a prosperous region, the British East India Company soon took notice of the affluence in which the Nawabs of Oudh lived. The result would be direct British interference in the internal state matters of Oudh, and the kingdom became a British protectorate in May 1816. Three years later, in 1819, the ruler of Oudh took the style of Padshah (king), signaling formal independence under the advice of the Marquis of Hastings.

On 7 February 1856 by order of Lord Dalhousie, Governor General of the East India Company, the king of Oudh was deposed, and its kingdom was annexed to British India under the terms of the Doctrine of lapse on the grounds of internal misrule. After Oudh's territory was merged with the North Western Provinces, it formed the larger province of North Western Provinces and Oudh. In 1902, the latter province was renamed the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, and in 1904 the region within the new United Provinces, corresponding to the former North Western Provinces and Oudh, was renamed the Agra Province.[5]

Between 5 July 1857 and 3 March 1858 there was a brief upheaval by the son of the deposed king joining the Indian Rebellion of 1857. At the time of the rebellion, the British temporarily lost control of the territory; they reestablished their rule over the next eighteen months, during which time there were massacres such as those that had occurred in the course of the Siege of Cawnpore (Kanpur).[6][7]

Feudatory states

The following were feudatory estates —taluqdaris[8] or parganas— of Oudh:


Main article: Nawabs of Oudh

The first ruler of Oudh State belonged to the Shia Muslim Sayyid Family and descended of Musa al-Kadhim originated from Nishapur. But the dynasty also belonged from the paternal line to the Kara Koyunlu through Qara Yusuf. They were renowned for their secularism and broad outlook.[13]

All rulers used the title of 'Nawab'.[14]

Subadar Nawabs

Nawab Wazir al-Mamalik

Subadar Nawab

Nawab Wazir al-Mamalik

Kings (Padshah-e Awadh, Shah-e Zaman)


See also


  1. Oudh – definition of Oudh in English from the Oxford dictionary
  2. Davies, Philip, Splendours of the Raj: British Architecture in India, 1660–1947. New York: Penguin Books, 1987
  3. Michael Edwardes, Battles of the Indian Mutiny, Pan, 1963, ISBN 0-330-02524-4
  4. Ashutosh Joshi (1 Jan 2008). Town Planning Regeneration of Cities. New India Publishing. p. 237. ISBN 8189422820.
  5. Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. V 1908, p. 72
  6. Ben Cahoon. "Princely States of India – Oudh". Worldstatesmen.org. Retrieved 2014-08-08.
  7. William Barton, The princes of India. Delhi 1983
  8. The Feudatory and zemindari India, Volume 17, Issue 2. 1937. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  9. Balrampur (Taluqdari)
  10. Bhadri (Taluq)
  11. Itaunja – Raipur Ekdaria (Taluq)
  12. The Indian Year Book, Volume 29. Bennett, Coleman & Company. 1942. p. 1286. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
  13. Dr. B. S. Saxena (1974). "Repertoire On Wajid Ali Shah & Monuments of Avadh – Nawabs of Oudh & their Secularism". Avadh Cultural Club (Lucknow). line feed character in |publisher= at position 21 (help)
  14. Ben Cahoon. "List of rulers of Oudh". Worldstatesmen.org. Retrieved 2014-08-08.

Coordinates: 26°47′N 82°08′E / 26.78°N 82.13°E / 26.78; 82.13

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