Uska Nawab Asafuddaula. (One who has no one to look after him, has Nawab Asafuddaula to do that.) This is a saying guide will tell you about if you visit Imambada in Lucknow. It was recounted by the professor in yesterday’s Macroeconomics class. And it was very interesting to see how he linked the story of Imambada with Keynesian Economics. It was not a stretch either.
For those who do not know the story behind Imambada – it was started by Nawab Asafuddaula in the year 1784 (I did not remember the year, before yesterday’s class!). When somebody remarked about it as “Nawabi Shauk” (the closest translation in the context is “Whim of Nawabs”), the professor retorted that it was not “Nawabi Shauk”, but “Nawabi Economics”. There was a great famine in Oudh at that time and people were really miserable. Then Nawab decided to build the Imambada to provide employment to the people (so that they are able to buy the stored food). Government Expenditure to boost the demand and improve the level of economic activity! And why, it was only in 1934 that the father of Macroeconomics Keynes suggested that government should spend to bring the economy out of recession…
Seriously, it seems Nawabs have given us something more than just “shauks”.
And back to the Imambada story. It was fine to provide employment to the lower strata of the society through the construction, but after a while even the elites of Oudh ran out of money. They had to be given the work, but there was this social dignity to take care of. So, the solution Nawab came up with was to let elites work at night, while the ordinary people will work in the day. What these people built during the day was broken by the elites during the night. (And all this taken together probably resulted in the saying mentioned in the beginning)
Now, somebody rightly asked, what was the point in breaking it at night? He could have built more buildings, but then think over it. Elites would not really know how to lay down the bricks, right? And it would too much to expect them to learn it, especially in those days! (This explanation is my own though, with no historical validity 🙂 )