Born in Calcutta's oldest Shia Muslim family drawing her lineage from the Royal family of Awadh, Manzilat Fatima is the daughter of Dr. Kaukub Qudr Meerza, grandson of King Birjis Qudr son of Jaan e Alam Wajid Ali Shah and Begum Hazrat Mahal (Queen of Awadh and freedom fighter of India's First War of Independence).
She studied in Aligarh Public School, Aligarh and completed graduation in English (Hons) from Women's College, Aligarh Muslim University. After returning to her hometown she got enrolled in Calcutta University for her Master's in English. A few years after her marriage, she completed a 5-year LL.B course in 2002.
When one hails from a royal and rich heritage like Awadh's, one is bound by a lot of commitment and conviction to take forward the legacy of its ancestors. Apart from the rich cultural heritage of Awadh and that of Wajid Ali Shah's contribution to poetry, art, music, and dance. Awadh to a poet may have looked like a beautiful bride in all its niceties. In the middle of 19th century during the reign of Wajid Ali Shah, Awadh touched its zenith in patronage to all forms of arts including poetry, dance, drama, music, food and Ganga Jamni Tehzeeb (the social harmony and mutual respect between all citizens irrespective of their religion or caste) of which Lucknow was the centre.
Food in Awadh was like a sport for the Nawabs, and the kitchens like the fields with Bawarchis and Rakabdars as the players! There was healthy competition, and challenges were thrown at each other to exhibit better gastronomic skills. A lot of money was spent in maintaining the Royal kitchens and for hiring the best experts available from the culinary field.
The Royal Family of Awadh
ABOUT MY FAMILY
"THE BLUE-BLOODED BIRYANI"
“Manzilat had made her ingredients work to the fullest to show why the biryani of Kolkata is so magical, regal and yet subtle and comforting.
The plate that she served me was a true heirloom and did justice to the legacy of a family to whom we biryani lovers owe a great debt of gratitude.
— Kalyan Karmakar,
Author & Food Blogger (FinelyChopped)
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