What do you suggest, then? How do we mitigate this tragedy? Three years of drought . . . three years of starvation!' She realized it was his way of getting back at her. 'There is an answer, Your Majesty. What if a large imambara were to be built, bigger and more magnificent than any constructed so far in Hindustan? Every Mussulman in Allah's creation will remember Asaf-ud-daula with reverence for all time to come.' 1784. Amid famine, poverty, a grand culture rises: Awadh. As Nawab Asaf-ud-daula tries to come to terms with new British masters, his awam seeks comfort in the vibrant poetry of Mir, the buzz of the Chowk, the thrill of the wrestling matches and the gossip of the zenankhana. In masterful prose, A.K. Srikumar tells the story of Asaf-ud-daula's court and his people, of the uncertain fortunes of Begum Shams-un-nisa, Prince Wazir Ali, Nazir-i-Mahal Nuruddin, of the schemes of Naib Haider Baig Khan and Resident John Bristow and pretender Saadat Ali Khan, of the Bada Imambara and a culinary tradition that was born amidst the brick and mortar— dum pukht.