|Most Exalted Order of the Star of India|
Insignia of a Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of India
|Awarded by |
Sovereign of the United Kingdom
|Type||Order of chivalry|
|Motto||Heaven's Light Our Guide|
|Awarded for||At the monarch's pleasure|
|Status||Last appointment in 1947|
Dormant order since 2009
|Former grades||Knight Companion|
|Next (higher)||Order of the Bath|
|Next (lower)||Order of St Michael and St George|
Ribbon bar of the Star of India
The Most Exalted Order of the Star of India is an order of chivalry founded by Queen Victoria in 1861. The Order includes members of three classes (regardless of gender):
No appointments have been made since the 1948 New Year Honours, shortly after the Partition of India in 1947. With the death in 2009 of the last surviving knight, the Maharaja of Alwar, the order became dormant.
The motto of the order was Heaven's Light Our Guide. The Star of India emblem, the insignia of order and the informal emblem of British India, was also used as the basis of a series of flags to represent the Indian Empire.
The order is the fifth most senior British order of chivalry, following the Order of the Garter, Order of the Thistle, Order of St Patrick and Order of the Bath. It is the senior order of chivalry associated with the British Raj; junior to it is the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire, and there is also, for women only, the Imperial Order of the Crown of India.
Several years after the Indian Mutiny and the consolidation of Great Britain's power as the governing authority in India, it was decided by the British Crown to create a new order of knighthood to honour Indian Princes and Chiefs, as well as British officers and administrators who served in India. On 25 June 1861, the following proclamation was issued by the Queen:
The Queen, being desirous of affording to the Princes, Chiefs and People of the Indian Empire, a public and signal testimony of Her regard, by the Institution of an Order of knighthood, whereby Her resolution to take upon Herself the Government of the Territories in India may be commemorated, and by which Her Majesty may be enabled to reward conspicuous merit and loyalty, has been graciously pleased, by Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, to institute, erect, constitute, and create, an Order of Knighthood, to be known by, and have for ever hereafter, the name, style, and designation, of "The Most Exalted Order of the Star of India"
The first appointees were:
The Order of the Indian Empire, founded in 1877, was intended to be a less exclusive version of the Order of the Star of India; consequently, many more appointments were made to the latter than to the former. The last appointments to the orders relating to the British Empire in India were made in the 1948 New Year Honours, some months after the Partition of India in August 1947. The orders have never been formally abolished, and Elizabeth II succeeded her father George VI as Sovereign of the Orders when she ascended the throne in 1952. She remains Sovereign of the Order to this day. However, there are no living members of the order.
The British Sovereign was, and still is, Sovereign of the Order. The next most senior member was the Grand Master, a position held ex officio by the Viceroy of India. When the order was established in 1861, there was only one class of Knights Companion, who bore the postnominals KSI. In 1866, however, it was expanded to three classes. Members of the first class were known as "Knights Grand Commander" (rather than the usual "Knights Grand Cross") so as not to offend the non-Christian Indians appointed to the Order. All those surviving members who had already been made Knights Companion of the Order were retroactively known as Knights Grand Commander.
Former viceroys and other high officials, as well as those who served in the Department of the Secretary of State for India for at least thirty years were eligible for appointment. Rulers of Indian Princely States were also eligible for appointment. Some states were of such importance that their rulers were almost always appointed Knights Grand Commanders; such rulers included the Nizam of Hyderabad, the Maharaja of Mysore, the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, the Maharaja of Baroda, the Maharajas of Gwalior, the Nawab of Bhopal, the Maharaja of Indore, the Maharana of Udaipur, the Maharaja of Travancore, the Maharana of Jodhpur and the Maharao of Cutch.
Kashi Naresh Prabhu Narayan Singh of Benares and Sir Azizul Haque were appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire (KCIE) in 1892 and 1941 respectively, Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire (GCIE) in 1898, and Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of India (GCSI) for his services in the First World War in the 1921 New Year Honours.
Rulers of other nations in Asia and the Middle East, including the Emir of Kuwait, the Maharajas of the Rana dynasty, the Khedive of Egypt, the King of Bhutan and the rulers of Zanzibar, Bahrain and Oman were also appointed to the Order. Like some rulers of princely states, some rulers of particular prestige, for example the Maharajas of the Rana dynasty or the Sultans of Oman, were usually appointed Knights Grand Commanders.
Women, save the princely rulers, were ineligible for appointment to the order. They were, unlike the habit of many other orders, admitted as "Knights", rather than as "Dames" or "Ladies". The first woman to be admitted to the order was Nawab Sikandar Begum Sahiba, Nawab Begum of Bhopal; she was created a Knight Companion at the Order's foundation in 1861. The order's statutes were specially amended to permit the admission of Queen Mary as a Knight Grand Commander in 1911.
Members of the Order wore elaborate costumes on important ceremonial occasions:
On certain "collar days" designated by the Sovereign, members attending formal events wore the order's collar over their military uniform, formal day dress, or evening wear. When collars were worn (either on collar days or on formal occasions such as coronations), the badge was suspended from the collar.
At less important occasions, simpler insignia were used:
Unlike the insignia of most other British chivalric orders, the insignia of the Order of the Star of India did not incorporate crosses, as they were deemed unacceptable to the Indian Princes appointed to the Order.
Members of all classes of the Order were assigned positions in the order of precedence. Wives of members of all classes also featured on the order of precedence, as did sons, daughters and daughters-in-law of Knights Grand Commanders and Knights Commanders. (See order of precedence in England and Wales for the exact positions.)
Knights Grand Commanders used the post-nominal initials "GCSI", Knights Commanders "KCSI" and Companions "CSI". Knights Grand Commanders and Knights Commanders prefixed "Sir" to their forenames. Wives of Knights Grand Commanders and Knights Commanders could prefix "Lady" to their surnames. Such forms were not used by peers and Indian princes, except when the names of the former were written out in their fullest forms.
Knights Grand Commanders were also entitled to receive heraldic supporters. They could, furthermore, encircle their arms with a depiction of the circlet (a circle bearing the motto) and the collar; the former is shown either outside or on top of the latter. Knights Commanders and Companions were permitted to display the circlet, but not the collar, surrounding their arms. The badge is depicted suspended from the collar or circlet.
Nawab also spelt Nawaab, Navaab, Navab, Nowab, Nabob or Nobab, was a Royal indicating a sovereign ruler often of a south asian state, in many ways comparable to the western title of King, the relationship of a Nawab to the Emperor of India has been compared to that of the King of Saxony to the German Emperor. In earlier time the title was ratified and bestowed by the reigning Mughal emperor to semi-autonomous Muslim rulers of subdivisions or princely states in the Indian subcontinent loyal to the Mughal Empire i.e. Nawabs of Bengal. The title is common among muslim rulers of South Asia as an equivalent to the title Maharaja, however it is not exclusive to muslims only.
The Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire is an order of chivalry founded by Queen Victoria in 1878. The Order includes members of three classes:
General Nawab Sir Sadiq Muhammad Khan V Abbasi was the Nawab, and later Amir, of Bahawalpur State from 1907 to 1966. He became the Nawab on the death of his father, when he was only three years old. A Council of Regency, with Sir Rahim Bakhsh as its President, ruled on his behalf until 1924.
Asaf Jah VI Mir Mahboob Ali Khan Siddiqi Bayafandi was the 6th Nizam of Hyderabad. He ruled Hyderabad state, one of the Princely states in India between 1869 and 1911.
His Exalted Highness Nawab Sir Mir Osman Ali Khan Siddiqi, Asaf Jah VII, was the last Nizam (ruler) of the princely state of Hyderabad, the largest princely state in British India. He ruled Hyderabad State between 1911 and 1948, until it was annexed by India. He was styled as His Exalted Highness the Nizam of Hyderabad. He was one of the wealthiest people of all time. In 1937, he was featured on the cover of Time magazine, labelled as the richest person at the time, the 5th richest man in history and the richest Indian ever.
The Nawabs of Bhopal were the Muslim rulers of Bhopal, now part of Madhya Pradesh, India. The nawabs first ruled under the Mughal Empire from 1707 to 1737, under the Maratha Empire from 1737 to 1818, then under British rule from 1818 to 1947, and independently thereafter until it was acceded to the Union of India in 1949. The females nawabs of Bhopal held the title Nawab Begum of Bhopal.
Shahjahan Begum was the Begum of Bhopal for two periods: 1844–60, and secondly during 1868–1901.
Shrimant Jayajirao Scindia of the Scindia dynasty of the Marathas was the ruling Maharajah of Gwalior from 1843 to 1886 under the British rule.
General Maharaja Sir Ganga Singh,, was the ruling Maharaja of the princely state of Bikaner from 1888 to 1943. As the only non-white member of the Imperial War Cabinet was present in the Palace of Versailles during the The Signing of Peace in the Hall of Mirrors.
Maharaja Sir Bhupinder Singh or Bhuppa GCSI GCIE GCVO GBE was the ruling Maharaja of the princely state of Patiala in British India from 1900 to 1938.
Sir Jagatjit Singh Sahib Bahadur was the ruling Maharaja of the princely state of Kapurthala in the British Empire of India from 1877 until his death in 1949. He ascended the throne of Kapurthala state on 16 October 1877. He assumed full ruling powers on 24 November 1890 and then commenced a career as a world traveller and Francophile. He was born into Alhuwalia Sandhu family. He received the title of Maharaja in 1911. He built palaces and gardens in the city of Kapurthala; his main palace Jagatjit Palace there was modelled on the Palace of Versailles.
Hajji Nawab Hafiz Sir Hamidullah Khan was the last ruling Nawab of Bhopal, which merged with the state of Madhya Pradesh in 1956. He ruled from 1926 when his mother, Begum Kaikhusrau Jahan Begum, abdicated in his favor, until 1949 and held the honorific title until his death in 1960. A delegate to the Round Table Conference in London, he served as Chancellor of the Chamber of Princes from 1944–1947, when India became independent. During the Second World War, Nawab Hamidullah Khan was present at the Battle of Keren and the Battle of El Alamein. Nawab Hamidullah, as he was popularly known was very close to Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan. He also had very good terms with Louis Mountbatten, Viceroy and Governor General of India. In spite of pressure from Jinnah, he reluctantly agreed to have Bhopal as a part of Indian Union. At his death, he left no sons and so was succeeded by his second daughter, Sajida Sultan, Begum of Bhopal.
Lieutenant-General Pratap Singh, was a career British Indian Army officer, Maharaja of the princely state of Idar (Gujarat) and heir to Ahmednagar later renamed as Himmatnagar from 1902 to 1911, when he abdicated in favour of his adopted son.
Sir Jai Singh Prabhakar, was the Maharaja of the princely state of Alwar from 1892 to 1937. The only son of the previous ruler, Sir Mangal Singh Prabhakar Bahadur, Sir Jai Singh initially was noted as brilliant, erudite and charming. However, he was later forced into exile. He died in 1937 at the age of 54. He was succeeded by a distant relative, Tej Singh Prabhakar Bahadur.
Prabhu Narayan Singh was ruler of the Indian Princely State of Benares State from 1889 to 1931.
Hajjah Nawab Begum Dame Sultan Jahan was a notable and progressive Begum of Bhopal who ruled from 1901 to 1926.
The following list includes a brief about the titles of nobility or orders of chivalry used by the Marathas of India and by the Marathis/Konkanis in general.
Sir Randhir Singh Sahib Bahadur was the ruling Raja of the princely state of Kapurthala in the British Empire of India from 1852 until his death in 1870.
Rajaram III of the Bhonsle dynasty, was Maharaja of Kolhapur from 1922–1940, succeeding his father Maharaja Shahu. A benevolent ruler, he was instrumental in the uplifting of the dalits and depressed castes in his state. He also established the Kolhapur High Court, modern housing developments, an updated water-supply system, free primary education and higher-level female education. As he only left a daughter at his death, he was succeeded by a distant relation, Shivaji VII.