An interactive session with Rosie Llewellyn Jones, at Miranda House College



Meet Rosie Llewellyn Jones

The halls of Miranda House were graced by eminent historian and author Dr. Rosie Llewellyn Jones who was here for an interactive session on her recent book, ‘The Last King in India’. The event started well on time, commencing with an introduction of the author, and the discussant, Dr. Shweta Sachdeva Jha, professor of English at Miranda House.

Dr. Jones started her talk with a candid curiosity about the name of the college which was satisfied at the end of the event.

She then went on to focus on the two main women in the book, despite the protagonist of the book being Awadh’s last nawab, Wajid Ali Shah. The women in question were  Janab-i Aliyyah Begam, mother of the nawab, and Begum Hazrat Mahal, the divorced wife of the nawab. Janab-I Aillaiyah was appreciated for her strength and courage in taking a journey to England, pleading for the retraction of the annexation in those times. Begum Hazrat Mahaal was praised for her active participation in the uprising of 1857.The topic was well supplemented by images and excerpts from her book, and Jones also read out a passage which she found particularly moving.

Begum Hazrat Mahal was discussed in detail, and so were the lesser known facts about her African heritage. This branched to include the numerous wives of the nawab, and also the fear the British had about women leaders in the wake of the rebellion put up by the Rani of Jhansi.

Dr. Rosie expressed her interest in little known terrains in history. She described some details of her research that went into writing of the book mostly consisting of happy hours spent in the Delhi Archives. She expressed her dissatisfaction at the condition of begum Hazrat Mahal’s derelict tomb, which lies unrecognized at an isolated spot in Lucknow.

After Dr. Jones’ wonderful presentation, Dr. Shweta Sachdeva Jha engaged the author in absorbing questions, which added new perspectives to the discussion, like the question on the link between Awadh and Iraq.

The discussion was then opened to the audience. Questions about the oriental gaze of the British through which the women were viewed were asked. The inquisitive minds also inquired about the possible historic evidence about the women’s lives, specifically diaries, which may have aided Dr. Jones’ research.

The interactive session ended on a positive note with the advice to students to look into local history. The students lingered around for informal talks with talk with the author after the discussion was over.


Know more about ‘The Last King In India’ by Rosie Llewellyn Jones:


Credits:  Alokita Verma and Aparna Srivastava, Miranda House College

About Alokita

A second year student in English Dept of Miranda House. She is curious,  inquisitive, eclectic with an itch on her fingers.


About Aparna

Aparna is an undergraduate student of Literature at Miranda House, Delhi University. She is particularly fond of children’s literature and books on history. Aparna loves to dance, read about quarks and quasars, and watch Tennis.




The Penguin India Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s