Kaisar-i-Hind Medal

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Kaisar-i-Hind Medal for Public Service in India
Kaiser-I-Hind driemaal.jpg
Representations of the Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals (George V – second type)
Typecivil decoration
Awarded fordistinguished service in the advancement of the interests of the British Raj
Country British Empire
Presented by Emperor of India
Eligibilitycivilians of any nationality
Campaign(s)dormant since 1947
Established10 April 1900
Kaisar-i-Hind Medal.gif
Ribbon of Kaisar-i-Hind Medal
Next (higher) Order of British India
Next (lower) Order of St John

The Kaisar-i-Hind Medal for Public Service in India was a medal awarded by the Emperor/Empress of India between 1900 and 1947, to "any person without distinction of race, occupation, position, or sex ... who shall have distinguished himself (or herself) by important and useful service in the advancement of the public interest in British Raj." [1]


The name "Kaisar-i-Hind" (Urdu : قیصرِ ہندqaisar-e-hind, Hindi : क़ैसर-इ-हिन्द) literally means "Emperor of India" in the Hindustani language. The word kaisar, meaning "emperor" is a derivative of the Roman imperial title Caesar, via Persian (see Qaysar-i Rum) from Greek Καίσαρ Kaísar, and is cognate with the German title Kaiser, which was borrowed from Latin at an earlier date. [2] Based upon this, the title Kaisar-i-Hind was coined in 1876 by the orientalist G.W. Leitner as the official imperial title for the British monarch in India. [3] The last ruler to bear it was George VI.

Kaisar-i-Hind was also inscribed on the obverse side of the India General Service Medal (1909), as well as on the Indian Meritorious Service Medal. [4]


Empress of India or Kaisar-i-Hind, a term coined by the orientalist G.W. Leitner in a deliberate attempt to dissociate British imperial rule from that of preceding dynasties [3] was taken by Queen Victoria from 1 May 1876, and proclaimed at the Delhi Durbar of 1877.

The medal was instituted by Queen Victoria on 10 April 1900. [5] The name translates as "Emperor of India" (a name also used for a rare Indian butterfly, Teinopalpus imperialis ). The Royal Warrant for the Kaisar-i-Hind was amended in 1901, 1912, 1933 and 1939. While never officially rescinded, the Kaisar-i-Hind ceased to be awarded following the passage of the Indian Independence Act 1947. [6] The awards of the gold medal were often published in the London Gazette , while other classes were published in the Gazette of India .

Medal grades and design

The medal had three grades. The Kaisar-i-Hind Gold Medal for Public Service in India was awarded directly by the monarch on the recommendation of the Secretary of State for India. Silver and Bronze medals were awarded by the Viceroy. The medal consisted of an oval-shaped badge or decoration in gold, silver or bronze with the Royal Cipher and Monarchy on one side, and the words "Kaisar-i-Hind for Public Service in India" on the other. It was to be worn suspended from the left breast by a dark blue ribbon. The medal has no post-nominal initials. [6]

Its most famous recipient is Mohandas Gandhi, who was awarded the Kaisar-i-Hind in 1915 by The Lord Hardinge of Penshurst for his contribution to ambulance services in South Africa. Gandhi returned the medal in 1920 as part of the national campaign protesting in the support of the Khilafat Movement. [7] [8] [9]

Notable recipients

Gold medal

Silver medal

Bronze medal

Unknown grade

See also

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