Awadh Symphony: Notes on a Cultural Interlude

by Aslam Mahmud

  • Category History
  • Format Hardback
  • Imprint Rupa
  • Price 395
  1. ISBN: 978-81-291-4650-2
  2. Pages: 343 pages
  3. Date: May 2017


Lucknow, the cultural capital of erstwhile Awadh region, has charmed generations into writing about the city. But there is no book that captures all the aspects of Awadhi culture, history and traditions of the region.

Awadh Symphony: Notes on a Cultural Interlude is an extensively detailed volume which takes you on a journey to a bygone era and gives a glimpse of everyday life in this North Indian kingdom. Revisiting Awadh, it offers almost all aspects of human activity—from culture, cuisine, craft and religious ritual to games, fairs and bazaars; from life of ordinary Muslim women to courtesans, who were a part of the famous Sham-i-Awadh; from the tradition of dastangoi to the recitation of marsiya; and much more.

A staunch bibliophile and an ardent admirer of Lucknow, author Aslam Mahmud had collected every possible book on Awadh throughout his life, consulting each of these to pen the work of a lifetime—a compendium on Lucknow with rare information and an exceptional guide to the life and times of Awadh.


Aslam Mahmud (1940–2016) was a well-known literary figure of Lucknow and a staunch bibliophile. During his lifetime, Mahmud had built a collection of more than 15,000 books in his personal library in Lucknow. The major part of his collection comprised English, Urdu and Persian literature, Islamic calligraphy and books on Awadh. He also had an extensive stock of old postal stamps; picture postcards; and rare photos, books and movie posters. A number of celebrated scholars of India and Pakistan used to visit his library to benefit from his collection.

Mahmud did his schooling from St Francis College and La Martinière College, Lucknow. Later, he graduated in science and law from the University of Lucknow. Aslam Mahmud joined the Indian Railway Traffic Service and held various important positions all over India, including Lucknow and Delhi. He retired as Additional Member, Railway Board, in 2000.

Featured Books