Princely state

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A princely state, also called native state, feudatory state or Indian state (for those states on the subcontinent), was a vassal state [1] under a local or regional ruler in a subsidiary alliance with the British Raj. Though the history of the princely states of the subcontinent dates from at least the classical period of Indian history, the predominant usage of the term princely state specifically refers to a semi-sovereign principality on the Indian subcontinent during the British Raj that was not directly governed by the British, but rather by a local ruler, subject to a form of indirect rule on some matters. In actual fact, the imprecise doctrine of paramountcy allowed the government of British India to interfere in the internal affairs of princely states individually or collectively [2] and issue edicts that applied to all of India when it deemed it necessary.

A vassal state is any state that has a mutual obligation to a superior state or empire, in a status similar to that of a vassal in the feudal system in medieval Europe. The obligations often included military support in exchange for certain privileges. In some cases, the obligation included paying tribute, but a state which does so is better described as a tributary state. Today, more common terms are puppet state, protectorate, client state, associated state or satellite state.

A subsidiary alliance, in South Asian history, describes a tributary alliance between a Native state and either French India, or later the British East India Company. The pioneer of the subsidiary alliance system was French Governor Joseph François Dupleix, who in the late 1740s established treaties with the Nizam of Hyderabad, and Carnatic.

British Raj British rule on the Indian subcontinent, 1858–1947

The British Raj was the rule by the British Crown on the Indian subcontinent from 1858 to 1947. The rule is also called Crown rule in India, or direct rule in India. The region under British control was commonly called India in contemporaneous usage, and included areas directly administered by the United Kingdom, which were collectively called British India, and those ruled by indigenous rulers, but under British tutelage or paramountcy, and called the princely states. The whole was also more formally called the Indian Empire. As India, it was a founding member of the League of Nations, a participating nation in the Summer Olympics in 1900, 1920, 1928, 1932, and 1936, and a founding member of the United Nations in San Francisco in 1945.

Contents

At the time of the British withdrawal, 565 princely states were officially recognised in the Indian subcontinent, [3] apart from thousands of thakurs, taluqdars, zamindaris and jagirs. In 1947, princely states covered 40% of area of pre-independence India and constituted 23% of its population. [4] The most important states had their own British Political Residencies: Hyderabad, Mysore and Travancore in the South followed by Jammu and Kashmir and Sikkim in the Himalayas, and Indore in Central India. The most prominent among those – roughly a quarter of the total – had the status of a salute state, one whose ruler was entitled to a set number of gun salutes on ceremonial occasions.

Thakur (title)

Thakur or Thakkar is a historical feudal title of the Indian subcontinent, now used as a surname. The female variant of the title is Thakurani or Thakurain, also used to describe the wife of a Thakur.

Taluqdar

The Talukdars or Talukders, were aristocrats who formed the ruling class during the Mughal Empire and British times. As owner of vast amount of lands, consistently hereditary, the Taluqdars were responsible for collecting taxes and they played a helpful role in the progression of the Indo-Saracenic and Indo-Islamic architecture, particularly in Bengal Subah, the most economically developed province in South Asia.

Zamindar Indian hereditary aristocrat

A zamindar, zomindar, zomidar, or jomidar, in the Indian subcontinent was an aristocrat. The term means land owner in Persian. Typically hereditary, zamindars held enormous tracts of land and control over their peasants, from whom they reserved the right to collect tax on behalf of imperial courts or for military purposes. Their families carried titular suffixes of lordship. In the 19th and 20th centuries, with the advent of British imperialism, many wealthy and influential zamindars were bestowed with princely and royal titles such as Maharaja, Raja (King) and Nawab.

The princely states varied greatly in status, size, and wealth; the premier 21-gun salute states of Hyderabad, Jammu and Kashmir were each over 200,000 km2 (77,000 sq mi) in size. In 1941, Hyderabad had a population of over 16 million, while Jammu and Kashmir had a population of slightly over 4 million. At the other end of the scale, the non-salute principality of Lawa covered an area of 49 km2 (19 sq mi), with a population of just below 3,000. Some two hundred of the lesser states had an area of less than 25 km2 (10 sq mi). [5] [6]

Lawa Thikana former princely state of India

Lawa Thikana was a Thikana estate or Thakurat under the Jaipur Residency of the former Rajputana Agency. It was located very close to Tonk town and included its capital, Lawa, a small town and its surroundings. Lawa is located in the northwestern part of present-day Tonk district of Rajasthan, India. Lawa estate near Tonk should not be confused with Sardargarh, a Thikana of Udaipur State (Mewar) which had been known as 'Lawa' before 1738.

The era of the princely states effectively ended with Indian independence in 1947. By 1950, almost all of the principalities had acceded to either India or Pakistan. [7] The accession process was largely peaceful, except in the cases of Jammu and Kashmir (whose ruler opted for independence but decided to accede to India following an invasion by Pakistan-based forces), [8] Hyderabad (whose ruler opted for independence in 1947, followed a year later by the police action and annexation of the state by India), Junagadh (whose ruler acceded to Pakistan, but was annexed by India). [9] and Kalat (whose ruler declared independence in 1947, followed in 1948 by the state's annexation). [10] [11] [12]

Instrument of Accession Treaty for princely states to join India or Pakistan

The Instrument of Accession was a legal document first introduced by the Government of India Act 1935 and used in 1947 to enable each of the rulers of the princely states under British paramountcy to join one of the new dominions of India or Pakistan created by the Partition of British India.

Jammu and Kashmir (princely state) Former princely state

Jammu and Kashmir was, from 1846 until 1952, a princely state of the British Empire in India and ruled by a Jamwal Rajput Dogra Dynasty. The state was created in 1846 from the territories previously under Sikh Empire after the First Anglo-Sikh War. The East India Company annexed the Kashmir Valley, Jammu, Ladakh, and Gilgit-Baltistan from the Sikhs, and then transferred it to Raja Gulab Singh of Jammu in return for an indemnity payment of 7,500,000 Nanakshahee Rupees.

Hyderabad Metropolis in Telangana, India

Hyderabad is the capital of the Indian state of Telangana and de jure capital of Andhra Pradesh. Occupying 650 square kilometres (250 sq mi) along the banks of the Musi River, Hyderabad City has a population of about 6.9 million and about 9.7 million in Hyderabad Metropolitan Region, making it the fourth-most populous city and sixth-most populous urban agglomeration in India. At an average altitude of 542 metres (1,778 ft), much of Hyderabad is situated on hilly terrain around artificial lakes, including Hussain Sagar—predating the city's founding—north of the city centre.

As per the terms of accession, the erstwhile Indian princes received privy purses (government allowances), and initially retained their statuses, privileges, and autonomy in internal matters during a transitional period which lasted until 1956. During this time, the former princely states were merged into unions, each of which was headed by a former ruling prince with the title of Rajpramukh (ruling chief), equivalent to a state governor. [13] In 1956, the position of Rajpramukh was abolished and the federations dissolved, the former principalities becoming part of Indian states. The states which acceded to Pakistan retained their status until the promulgation of a new constitution in 1956, when most became part of the province of West Pakistan; a few of the former states retained their autonomy until 1969 when they were fully integrated into Pakistan. The Indian Government formally derecognised the princely families in 1971, followed by the Government of Pakistan in 1972.

In India, the Privy Purse was a payment made to the ruling families of erstwhile princely states as part of their agreements to first integrate with India in 1947 after the independence of India, and later to merge their states in 1949 whereby they lost all ruling rights. The Privy Purse was continued to the royal families until the 26th Amendment in 1971, by which all their privileges and allowances from the Central Government ceased to exist, was implemented after a two-year legal battle. In some individual cases however, privy purses were continued for life for individuals who had held ruling powers before 1947.

West Pakistan western wing of Pakistan between 1947-1970

West Pakistan was one of the two exclaves created at the formation of the modern State of Pakistan following the 1947 Partition of India.

History

Though principalities and chiefdoms existed on the Indian subcontinent from at least the Iron Age, the history of princely states on the Indian subcontinent dates to at least the 5th–6th centuries C.E., during the rise of the middle kingdoms of India following the collapse of the Gupta Empire. [14] [15] Many of the future ruling clan groups – notably the Rajputs – began to emerge during this period; by the 13th–14th centuries, many of the Rajput clans had firmly established semi-independent principalities in the north-west, along with several in the north-east. The widespread expansion of Islam during this time brought many principalities into tributary relations with Islamic sultanates, notably with the Mughal Empire. In the south, however, the Hindu Vijayanagara Empire remained dominant until the mid-17th century; among its tributaries was the future Mysore Kingdom.

The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory and protohistory of humankind. It was preceded by the Stone Age and the Bronze Age. The concept has been mostly applied to Europe and the Ancient Near East, and, by analogy, also to other parts of the Old World.

The Middle kingdoms of India were the political entities in India from the 3rd century BCE to the 13th century CE. The period begins after the decline of the Maurya Empire and the corresponding rise of the Satavahana dynasty, starting with Simuka, from 230 BCE. The "Middle" period lasted for about 1500 years and ended in the 13th century, with the rise of the Delhi Sultanate, founded in 1206, and the end of the Later Cholas.

Gupta Empire geographically extensive ancient Indian empire founded by Gupta

The Gupta Empire was an ancient Indian empire existing from the mid-to-late 3rd century CE to 543 CE. At its zenith, from approximately 319 to 543 CE, it covered much of the Indian subcontinent. This period is considered as the Golden Age of India by some historians. The ruling dynasty of the empire was founded by the king Sri Gupta; the most notable rulers of the dynasty were Chandragupta I, Samudragupta, and Chandragupta II alias Vikramaditya. The 5th-century CE Sanskrit poet Kalidasa credits the Guptas with having conquered about twenty-one kingdoms, both in and outside India, including the kingdoms of Parasikas, the Hunas, the Kambojas, tribes located in the west and east Oxus valleys, the Kinnaras, Kiratas, and others.

The Turco-Mongol Mughal Empire brought a majority of the existing Indian kingdoms and principalities under its suzerainty by the 17th century, beginning with its foundation in the early 16th century. The advent of Sikhism resulted in the Jat sikh creation of the Sikh Empire in the north by the early 18th century, by which time the Mughal Empire was in full decline. At the same time, the Marathas carved out their own states to form the Maratha Empire. Through the 18th century, former Mughal governors formed their own independent states. In the north-west, some of those – such as Tonk – allied themselves with various groups, including the Marathas and the Durrani Empire, itself formed in 1747 from a loose agglomeration of tribal chiefdoms that composed former Mughal territories. In the south, the principalities of Hyderabad and Arcot were fully established by the 1760s, though they nominally remained vassals of the Mughal Emperor.

British relationship with the princely states

India under the British Raj (the "Indian Empire") consisted of two types of territory: British India and the Native states or Princely states. In its Interpretation Act 1889, the British Parliament adopted the following definitions:

(4.) The expression "British India" shall mean all territories and places within Her Majesty's dominions which are for the time being governed by Her Majesty through the Governor-General of India or through any governor or other officer subordinate to the Governor-General of India.
(5.) The expression "India" shall mean British India together with any territories of any native prince or chief under the suzerainty of Her Majesty exercised through the Governor-General of India, or through any governor or other officer subordinate to the Governor-General of India. [16]

In general the term "British India" had been used (and is still used) also to refer to the regions under the rule of the East India Company in India from 1774 to 1858. [17] [18]

The British Crown's suzerainty over 175 princely states, generally the largest and most important, was exercised in the name of the British Crown by the central government of British India under the Viceroy; the remaining approximately 400 states were influenced by Agents answerable to the provincial governments of British India under a Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, or Chief Commissioner. [19] A clear distinction between "dominion" and "suzerainty" was supplied by the jurisdiction of the courts of law: the law of British India rested upon the legislation enacted by the British Parliament, and the legislative powers those laws vested in the various governments of British India, both central and local; in contrast, the courts of the princely states existed under the authority of the respective rulers of those states. [19]

Princely status and titles

His Highness Sayajirao Gaekwad III Sena Khas Khel Shamsher Bahadur GCSI, GCIE, KIH (21-gun salute) - the Maratha Maharaja of Baroda Sayajirao Gaekwad III, Maharaja of Baroda, 1919.jpg
His Highness Sayajirao Gaekwad III Sena Khas Khel Shamsher Bahadur GCSI, GCIE, KIH (21-gun salute) – the Maratha Maharaja of Baroda

The Indian rulers bore various titles – including Chhatrapati (exclusively used by the 3 Bhonsle dynasty of the Marathas) ("emperor"), Maharaja or Raja ("king"), Sultan, Nawab, Emir, Raje, Nizam, Wadiyar (used only by the Maharajas of Mysore, meaning "lord"), Agniraj Maharaj for the rulers of Bhaddaiyan Raj, Chogyal, Nawab ("governor"), Nayak, Wāli, Inamdar, [20] Saranjamdar [21] and many others. Whatever the literal meaning and traditional prestige of the ruler's actual title, the British government translated them all as "prince," to avoid the implication that the native rulers could be "kings" with status equal to that of the British monarch.

An old image of the British Residency in the city of Quilon, Kerala British Residency in Kollam.jpg
An old image of the British Residency in the city of Quilon, Kerala

More prestigious Hindu rulers (mostly existing before the Mughal Empire, or having split from such old states) often used the title "Raja,"Raje" or a variant such as Rai, "Rana," "Rao," "Rawat" or Rawal. Also in this 'class' were several Thakurs or Thai ores and a few particular titles, such as Sardar,Chaudhry, Mankari (or Mānkari/Maankari), Deshmukh, Sar Desai, Raja Inamdar, Saranjamdar.

The most prestigious Hindu rulers usually had the prefix "maha" ("great", compare for example Grand Duke) in their titles, as in Maharaja, Maharana, Maharao, etc. The states of Travancore and Cochin had queens regnant styled Maharani, generally the female forms applied only to sisters, spouses and widows, who could however act as regents.

There were also compound titles, such as (Maha)rajadhiraj, Raj-i-rajgan, often relics from an elaborate system of hierarchical titles under the Mughal emperors. For example, the addition of the adjective Bahadur raised the status of the titleholder one level.

Furthermore, most dynasties used a variety of additional titles, such as Varma in South India. This should not be confused with various titles and suffixes not specific to princes but used by entire (sub)castes.

The Sikh princes concentrated at Punjab usually adopted Hindu type titles when attaining princely rank; at a lower level Sardar was used.

Muslim rulers almost all used the title "Nawab" (the Arabic honorific of naib, "deputy," used of the Mughal governors, who became de facto autonomous with the decline of the Mughal Empire), with the prominent exceptions of the Nizam of Hyderabad & Berar, the Wāli/Khan of Kalat and the Wāli of Swat. Other less usual titles included Darbar Sahib, Dewan, Jam, Mehtar (unique to Chitral) and Mir (from Emir).

Precedence and prestige

However, the actual importance of a princely state cannot be read from the title of its ruler, which was usually granted (or at least recognised) as a favour, often in recognition for loyalty and services rendered to the Mughal Empire. Although some titles were raised once or even repeatedly, there was no automatic updating when a state gained or lost real power. In fact, princely titles were even awarded to holders of domains (mainly jagirs) and even taluqdars and zamindars (tax collectors), which were not states at all. Various sources give significantly different numbers of states and domains of the various types. Even in general, the definition of titles and domains are clearly not well-established.

An 1895 group photograph of the eleven-year-old Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV, ruler of the princely state of Mysore in South India, with his brothers and sisters. In 1799, his grandfather, then aged five, had been granted dominion of Mysore by the British and forced into a subsidiary alliance. The British later directly governed the state between 1831 and 1881. Group portrait of the Maharaja of Mysore and his brothers and sisters.jpg
An 1895 group photograph of the eleven-year-old Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV, ruler of the princely state of Mysore in South India, with his brothers and sisters. In 1799, his grandfather, then aged five, had been granted dominion of Mysore by the British and forced into a subsidiary alliance. The British later directly governed the state between 1831 and 1881.
The Govindgarh Palace of the Maharaja of Rewa. The palace which was built as a hunting lodge later became famous for the first white tigers that were found in the adjacent jungle and raised in the palace zoo. Maharaja rewapalace govindgarh1870.jpg
The Govindgarh Palace of the Maharaja of Rewa. The palace which was built as a hunting lodge later became famous for the first white tigers that were found in the adjacent jungle and raised in the palace zoo.
The Nawab of Junagadh Bahadur Khan III (seated centre in an ornate chair) shown in an 1885 photograph with state officials and family. Nawab junagadh1885.jpg
The Nawab of Junagadh Bahadur Khan III (seated centre in an ornate chair) shown in an 1885 photograph with state officials and family.
Photograph (1900) of the Maharani of Sikkim. Sikkim was under the suzerainty of the Provincial government of Bengal; its ruler received a 15-gun salute. Maharani sikkim1900.jpg
Photograph (1900) of the Maharani of Sikkim. Sikkim was under the suzerainty of the Provincial government of Bengal; its ruler received a 15-gun salute.

In addition to their titles all princely rulers were eligible to be appointed to certain British orders of chivalry associated with India, the Most Exalted Order of the Star of India and the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire. Women could be appointed as "Knights" (instead of Dames) of these orders. Rulers entitled to 21-gun and 19-gun salutes were normally appointed to the highest rank, Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of India.

Many Indian princes served in the British Army, the Indian Army, or in local guard or police forces, often rising to high ranks; some even served while on the throne. Many of these were appointed as an Aide de camp, either to the ruling prince of their own house (in the case of relatives of such rulers) or indeed to the British monarchs. Many saw active service, both on the subcontinent and on other fronts, during both World Wars.

Apart from those members of the princely houses who entered military service and who distinguished themselves, a good number of princes received honorary ranks as officers in the British and Indian Armed Forces. Those ranks were conferred based on several factors, including their heritage, lineage, gun-salute (or lack of one) as well as personal character or martial traditions. After the First and Second World Wars, the princely rulers of several of the major states, including Gwalior, Patiala, Nabha, Faridkort, Bikaner, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jammu and Kashmir and Hyderabad, were given honorary general officer ranks as a result of their states' contributions to the war effort.

It was also not unusual for members of princely houses to be appointed to various colonial offices, often far from their native state, or to enter the diplomatic corps.

Salute states

The gun salute system was used to set unambiguously the precedence of the major rulers in the area in which the British East India Company was active, or generally of the states and their dynasties. As heads of a state, certain princely rulers were entitled to be saluted by the firing of an odd number of guns between three and 21, with a greater number of guns indicating greater prestige. Generally, the number of guns remained the same for all successive rulers of a particular state, but individual princes were sometimes granted additional guns on a personal basis. Furthermore, rulers were sometimes granted additional gun salutes within their own territories only, constituting a semi-promotion. The states of all these rulers (about 120) were known as salute states.

After Indian Independence, the Maharana of Udaipur displaced the Nizam of Hyderabad as the most senior prince in India, because Hyderabad State had not acceded to the new Dominion of India, and the style Highness was extended to all rulers entitled to 9-gun salutes. When the princely states had been integrated into the Indian Union their rulers were promised continued privileges and an income (known as the Privy Purse) for their upkeep. Subsequently, when the Indian government abolished the Privy Purse in 1971, the whole princely order ceased to be recognised under Indian law, although many families continue to retain their social prestige informally; some descendants of the rulers are still prominent in regional or national politics, diplomacy, business and high society.

At the time of Indian independence, only five rulers – the Nizam of Hyderabad, the Maharaja of Mysore, the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir state, the Maharaja Gaekwad of Baroda and the Maharaja Scindia of Gwalior – were entitled to a 21-gun salute. Five more – the Nawab of Bhopal, the Maharaja Holkar of Indore, the Maharana of Udaipur, the Maharaja of Kolhapur , the Maharaja of Patiala and the Maharaja of Travancore – were entitled to 19-gun salutes. The most senior princely ruler was the Nizam of Hyderabad, who was entitled to the unique style Exalted Highness and 21-gun salute. [23] [24] Other princely rulers entitled to salutes of 11 guns (soon 9 guns too) or more were entitled to the style Highness. No special style was used by rulers entitled to lesser gun salutes.

As paramount ruler, and successor to the Mughals, the British King-Emperor of India, for whom the style of Majesty was reserved, was entitled to an 'imperial' 101-gun salute—in the European tradition also the number of guns fired to announce the birth of an heir (male) to the throne.

Non-salute states

There was no strict correlation between the levels of the titles and the classes of gun salutes, the real measure of precedence, but merely a growing percentage of higher titles in classes with more guns. As a rule the majority of gun-salute princes had at least nine, with numbers below that usually the prerogative of Arab Sheikhs of the Aden protectorate, also under British protection.

There were many so-called non-salute states of lower prestige. Since the total of salute states was 117 and there were more than 500 princely states, most rulers were not entitled to any gun salute. Not all of these were minor rulers – Surguja State, for example, was both larger and more populous than Karauli State, but the Maharaja of Karauli was entitled to a 17-gun salute and the Maharaja of Surguja was not entitled to any gun salute at all.

A number of princes, in the broadest sense of the term, were not even acknowledged as such.[ example needed ] On the other hand, the dynasties of certain defunct states were allowed to keep their princely status – they were known as political pensioners, such as the Nawab of Oudh. There were also certain estates of British India which were rendered as political saranjams, having equal princely status. [25] Though none of these princes were awarded gun salutes, princely titles in this category were recognised as a form of vassals of salute states, and were not even in direct relation with the paramount power.

Doctrine of lapse

A controversial aspect of East India Company rule was the doctrine of lapse, a policy under which lands whose feudal ruler died (or otherwise became unfit to rule) without a male biological heir (as opposed to an adopted son) would become directly controlled by the Company and an adopted son would not become the ruler of the princely state. This policy went counter to Indian tradition where, unlike Europe, it was far more the accepted norm for a ruler to appoint his own heir.

The doctrine of lapse was pursued most vigorously by the Governor-General Sir James Ramsay, 10th Earl (later 1st Marquess) of Dalhousie. Dalhousie annexed seven states, including Awadh (Oudh), whose Nawabs he had accused of misrule, and the Maratha states of Nagpur, Jhansi, Satara, Sambalpur, and Thanjavur. Resentment over the annexation of these states turned to indignation when the heirlooms of the Maharajas of Nagpur were auctioned off in Calcutta. Dalhousie's actions contributed to the rising discontent amongst the upper castes which played a large part in the outbreak of the Indian mutiny of 1857. The last Mughal Badshah (emperor), whom many of the mutineers saw as a figurehead to rally around, was deposed following its suppression.

In response to the unpopularity of the doctrine, it was discontinued with the end of Company rule and the British Parliament's assumption of direct power over India.

Imperial governance

Photograph (1894) of the 19-year-old Shahaji II Bhonsle Maharajah of Kolhapur visiting the British resident and his staff at the Residency Group at Residency including the Maharaja of Kolhapur.jpg
Photograph (1894) of the 19-year-old Shahaji II Bhonsle Maharajah of Kolhapur visiting the British resident and his staff at the Residency

By treaty, the British controlled the external affairs of the princely states absolutely. As the states were not British possessions, they retained control over their own internal affairs, subject to a degree of British influence which in many states was substantial.

By the beginning of the 20th century, relations between the British and the four largest states – Hyderabad, Mysore, Jammu and Kashmir, and Baroda – were directly under the control of the Governor-General of India, in the person of a British Resident. Two agencies, for Rajputana and Central India, oversaw twenty and 148 princely states respectively. The remaining princely states had their own British political officers, or Agents, who answered to the administrators of India's provinces. The Agents of five princely states were then under the authority of Madras, 354 under Bombay, 26 of Bengal, two under Assam, 34 under Punjab, fifteen under Central Provinces and Berar and two under United Provinces.

Chamber of Princes meeting in March 1941 Chamber of Princes 17-03-1941 detail.png
Chamber of Princes meeting in March 1941

The Chamber of Princes (Narender Mandal or Narendra Mandal) was an institution established in 1920 by a Royal Proclamation of the King-Emperor to provide a forum in which the rulers could voice their needs and aspirations to the government. It survived until the end of the British Raj in 1947. [26]

By the early 1930s, most of the princely states whose Agencies were under the authority of India's provinces were organised into new Agencies, answerable directly to the Governor-general, on the model of the Central India and Rajputana agencies: the Eastern States Agency, Punjab States Agency, Baluchistan Agency, Deccan States Agency, Madras States Agency and the Northwest Frontier States Agency. The Baroda Residency was combined with the princely states of northern Bombay Presidency into the Baroda, Western India and Gujarat States Agency. Gwalior was separated from the Central India Agency and given its own Resident, and the states of Rampur and Benares, formerly with Agents under the authority of the United Provinces, were placed under the Gwalior Residency in 1936. The princely states of Sandur and Banganapalle in Mysore Presidency were transferred to the agency of the Mysore Resident in 1939.

Principal princely states in 1947

The native states in 1947 included five large states that were in "direct political relations" with the Government of India. For the complete list of princely states in 1947, see List of princely states of India.

In direct relations with the Central Government

Five large Princely states in direct political relations with the Central Government in India [27] [28] [29] [30]
Name of Princely stateArea in square milesPopulation in 1941Approximate revenue of the state (in hundred thousand Rupees)Title, ethnicity, and religion of rulerGun-Salute for rulerDesignation of local political officer
Baroda flag.svg  Baroda State 13,8663,343,477 (chiefly Hindu)323.26Maharaja, Maratha, Hindu21Resident at Baroda
Flag of Hyderabad 1900-1947.svg  Hyderabad State 82,69816,338,534 (mostly Hindu with a sizeable Muslim minority)1582.43 Nizam , Turkic, Sunni Muslim21Resident in Hyderabad
Jammu-Kashmir-flag.svg  Jammu and Kashmir 84,4714,021,616 including Gilgit, Baltistan (Skardu), Ladakh, and Punch (mostly Muslim, with sizeable Hindu and Buddhist populations)463.95Maharaja, Dogra, Hindu21Resident in Jammu & Kashmir
Flag of Mysore.svg  Kingdom of Mysore 29,4587,328,8961001.38Maharaja, Kannadiga, Hindu21Resident in Mysore
Gwalior flag.svg  Gwalior State 26,3974,006,159 (chiefly Hindu)356.75 Maharaja , Maratha, Hindu 21 Resident at Gwalior
Total236,89035,038,6823727.77
Central India Agency, Gwalior Residency, Baluchistan Agency, Rajputana Agency, Eastern States Agency
Sikkim, as a Protectorate of the British Government [39]
Name of Princely stateArea in square milesPopulation in 1941Approximate revenue of the state (in hundred thousand Rupees)Title, ethnicity, and religion of rulerGun-Salute for rulerDesignation of local political officer
Sikkim 2,818121,520 (chiefly Buddhist and Hindu)5Maharaja, Tibetan, Buddhist15Political Officer, Sikkim
Other states under provincial governments

Burma

Burma (52 states)
52 States in Burma: all except Kantarawadi, one of the Karenni States, were included in British India until 1937 [46]
Name of Princely stateArea in square milesPopulation in 1901Approximate revenue of the state (in hundred thousand Rupees)Title, ethnicity, and religion of rulerGun-Salute for rulerDesignation of local political officer
Hsipaw (Thibaw)5,086105,000 (Buddhist)3Sawbwa, Shan, Buddhist9Superintendent, Northern Shan States
Kengtung 12,000190,000 (Buddhist)1Sawbwa, Shan, Buddhist9Superintendent Southern Shan States
Yawnghwe 86595,339 (Buddhist)2.13Sawbwa, Shan, Buddhist9Superintendent Southern Shan States
Mongnai 2,71744,000 (Buddhist)0.5Sawbwa, Shan, BuddhistSuperintendent Southern Shan States
5 Karenni States 3,13045,795 (Buddhist and Animist)0,035Sawbwa, Red Karen, BuddhistSuperintendent Southern Shan States
44 Other States42,198792,152 (Buddhist and Animist)8.5
Total67,0111,177,98713.5

State military forces

See article: Indian State Forces

The armies of the Native States were bound by many restrictions that were imposed by subsidiary alliances. They existed mainly for ceremonial use and for internal policing, although certain units designated as Imperial Service Troops, were available for service alongside the regular Indian Army upon request by the British government. [47]

According to the Imperial Gazetteer of India vol. IV 1907 , p. 85,

Since a chief can neither attack his neighbour nor fall out with a foreign nation, it follows that he needs no military establishment which is not required either for police purposes or personal display, or for cooperation with the Imperial Government. The treaty made with Gwalior in 1844, and the instrument of transfer given to Mysore in 1881, alike base the restriction of the forces of the State upon the broad ground of protection. The former explained in detail that unnecessary armies were embarrassing to the State itself and the cause of disquietude to others: a few months later a striking proof of this was afforded by the army of the Sikh kingdom of Lahore. The British Government has undertaken to protect the dominions of the Native princes from invasion and even from rebellion within: its army is organised for the defence not merely of British India, but of all the possessions under the suzerainty of the King-Emperor. [48]

In addition, other restrictions were imposed:

The treaties with most of the larger States are clear on this point. Posts in the interior must not be fortified, factories for the production of guns and ammunition must not be constructed, nor may the subject of other States be enlisted in the local forces. ... They must allow the forces that defend them to obtain local supplies, to occupy cantonments or positions, and to arrest deserters; and in addition to these services they must recognise the Imperial control of the railways, telegraphs, and postal communications as essential not only to the common welfare but to the common defence. [49]

The Imperial Service Troops were routinely inspected by British army officers and generally had the same equipment as soldiers in the Indian Army. [50] Although their numbers were relatively small, the Imperial Service Troops were employed in China and British Somaliland in the first decade of the 20th century, and later saw action in the First World War and Second World War . [50]

Political integration of princely states in 1947 and after

India

At the time of Indian independence in August 1947, India was divided into two sets of territories, the first being the territories of "British India," which were under the direct control of the India Office in London and the Governor-General of India, and the second being the "Princely states," the territories over which the Crown had suzerainty, but which were under the control of their hereditary rulers. In addition, there were several colonial enclaves controlled by France and Portugal. The integration of these territories into Dominion of India, that had been created by the Indian Independence Act 1947 by the British parliament, was a declared objective of the Indian National Congress, which the Government of India pursued over the years 1947 to 1949. Through a combination of tactics, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and V. P. Menon in the months immediately preceding and following the independence convinced the rulers of almost all of the hundreds of princely states to accede to India. In a speech in January 1948, Vallabhbhai Patel said:

As you are all aware, on the lapse of Paramountcy every Indian State became a separate independent entity and our first task of consolidating about 550 States was on the basis of accession to the Indian Dominion on three subjects. Barring Hyderabad and Junagadh all the states which are contiguous to India acceded to Indian Dominion. Subsequently, Kashmir also came in... Some Rulers who were quick to read the writing on the wall, gave responsible government to their people; Cochin being the most illustrious example. In Travancore, there was a short struggle, but there, too, the Ruler soon recognised the aspiration of his people and agreed to introduce a constitution in which all powers would be transferred to the people and he would function as a constitutional Ruler. [51]

Although this process successfully integrated the vast majority of princely states into India, it was not as successful in relation to a few states, notably the former princely state of Kashmir, whose Maharaja delayed signing the instrument of accession into India until his territories were under the threat of invasion by Pakistan, the state of Hyderabad, whose ruler decided to remain independent and was subsequently defeated by the Operation Polo invasion.

Having secured their accession, Sardar Patel and V. P. Menon then proceeded, in a step-by-step process, to secure and extend the central government's authority over these states and to transform their administrations until, by 1956, there was little difference between the territories that had formerly been part of British India and those that had been princely states. Simultaneously, the Government of India, through a combination of diplomatic and military means, acquired control over the remaining European colonial enclaves, such as Goa, which were also integrated into India.

As the final step, in 1971, the 26th amendment [52] to the Constitution of India withdrew official recognition of all official symbols of princely India, including titles and privileges, and abolished the remuneration of the princes by privy purses. As a result, even titular heads of the former princely states ceased to exist. [53]

Pakistan

During the period of the British Raj, there were four princely states in Balochistan: Makran, Kharan, Las Bela and Kalat. The first three acceded to Pakistan. [54] [55] [56] [57] However, the ruler of the fourth princely state, the Khan of Kalat Ahmad Yar Khan, declared Kalat's independence as this was one of the options given to all princely states. [58] The state remained independent until it was acceded on 27 March 1948. The signing of the Instrument of Accession by Ahmad Yar Khan, led his brother, Prince Abdul Karim, to revolt against his brother's decision in July 1948, causing an ongoing and still unresolved insurgency. [59]

Bahawalpur from the Punjab Agency joined Pakistan on 5 October 1947. The Princely states of the North-West Frontier States Agencies. included the Dir Swat and Chitral Agency and the Deputy Commissioner of Hazara acting as the Political Agent for Amb and Phulra. These states joined Pakistan on independence from the British.[ citation needed ]

See also

Notes

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    Bibliography

    Gazetteers