Over the centuries, Indo-Islamic and European ideas merged with Hindu traditions to make Lucknow a powerhouse of creativity and the centre of what was known as Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb, the evocative Awadhi phrase for Hindu–Muslim syncretism. A city known for its art and artisans, the courts of the nineteenth–century rulers of Lucknow swarmed with people from all over the subcontinent as well as European painters and photographers. In the third quarter of the eighteenth century, poets from Delhi’s Mughal court migrated to Lucknow in the hope of better emoluments. Lucknow’s legendary status as a city of culture waxed with every new influx of creative geniuses. A Shadow of the Past celebrates the people responsible for the city’s fame—its nawabs, painters, writers, revolutionaries, and freedom fighters. At a time when Uttar Pradesh has been reduced to one of the most backward states of the country, Mehru Jaffer shows us how Lucknow’s glorious cultural heritage ensures that it remains a city of substance.