Ever since the Indian independence it has been normally understood that the Indian States and Estates which numbered six hundred on 15th August 1947 were the symbols of incompetence, oppression and vices. The States had a very peculiar status in the political theory which grew up in India in the nineteenth century. They did not form part of the British Indian Empire nor were they sovereign powers. The States were neither feudatories of the Government of India, nor protectorates, and nor merely allies either.
In this publication of the biographical sketches of the Princes and leading officials and non-officials of the erstwhile States and Estates of Indian sub-continent, the editor and the compiler intends to show that they symbolised progressiveness and also the conservators of Indian social and cultural traditions. Some of the States showed a zeal for welfare and progress that left the work, that was being attempted in British India far behind and people enjoyed benefits and privileges unknown in the British administered areas. Socially the States had certainly been more backward than British India, but the trends of progress, through weaker, had been in the same direction. At least in the larger States there grew a professional middle class, and private commercial enterprise created something of a modern economic system. One could hear a stirring of constitutionality and democracy from the princely governed territories. Some of the States set examples in enlightened advance for the Provinces to follow.
The editor is sure that it is going to make a lively study for the laymen as well as serious students of history. The detailed introduction sets forth the historical context and an analytical framework.
Dr. J.C. Dua (b. 1944) is at present working as Reader in the Department of History, Dayal Singh Evening College, University of Delhi. Earlier he has also served as Principal, NBGSM College (M.D. University), Sohna (Haryana).
Dr. Dua was awarded Research Fellowship by the Andhra Pradesh State Archives, Hyderabad (1966- 69). He was member of the Editorial Board for the Proceedings of the Indian History Congress for the years 1972-74. In 1989, he acted as Programme Coordinator for the Orientation Programme (History) conducted by the Centre for Professional Development in Higher Education, University of Delhi. He was also awarded Gold Medal by the Government of Bulgaria in 1983. In 1995, he was invited to deliver the prestigious Dr. Kalaignar Thiru M. Karunanidhi Endowment Lectures, Madras University, Chennai, and also delivered extension lectures in the Department of History, Osmania University, Hyderabad.
Apart from contributing a number of research papers in national and international seminars, Dr. Dua has several books to his credit, they are: (i) (1990) Agrarian System in South India: Some Aspects; (ii) (1992) British Historiography Eighteenth Century Punjab: Their Understanding of the Sikh Struggle for Power and Role of Jana Singh Ahluwalia (iii) (1994) British In'am Policy & Palegar Resistance in Ceded Districts: Select Documents relating to Narshimha Reddy's Resistance 1846-47; (iv) (1996) Palegars of South India: Forms and Contents of their Resistance in Ceded Districts; (v) (1998) Glossary of Revenue and Allied Terms of South India.
This book is being brought out to commemorate the golden jubilee year of the Indian independence. The Indian subcontinent, which has long exerted a fascination over people from other lands, was the first non-white nation to emerge from colonial control. Its independence from Great Britain on 15 August 1947 undermined the whole fabric of the British empire which had dominated the world affairs in the preceding several decades. Since its independence, India has not only retained its territorial integrity, but has, in contrast to most African ex-colonies, proved politically stable.
In this book an attempt has been made to depict the picture of Indian India i.e. the India of the Princes. The Princes were not merely the symbols of incompetence, oppression and vices but in some ways symbolised progressiveness and were the ones who conserved the Indian social and cultural traditions. This book covers the biographical sketches of the majority of the erstwhile princes of the present India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Burma as they stood during the forties of the twentieth century (upto 1947).
I am happy to acknowledge the fact that a book on identical subject was also published by The Imperial Publishing Co., Lahore in the year 1942 and some information contained therein has been reproduced in this book.
This book has been divided, apart from the Introduction and Index, into four sections (i) Princes of India-Salute States; (ii) Princes of India-Non-Salute States; (iii) Who's Who in India -Leading Officials and Non-Officials, Ministers, Members of Legislature and other personages, and (iv) Supplementary Section, which covers the States/Princes about whom information could be procured after the book was already under publication. In order to retain the spirit of the time the biographical sketches have been given in the present tense only.
I have undertaken all possible efforts to complete and publish a presentable pictorial and historical record of States and Estates. Though I have done my best to make the publication as accurate and exhaustive as possible yet some mistakes and difference of views are bound to be there.
I am grateful to the Directors/Curators/Librarians of different Archives and Libraries and certain private families for assisting me in collecting the required information and the photographs, etc.
I am indebted to my teacher Professor B.R. Grover and my Principal, Shri Deepak Malhotra for their encouragement, to my friends Lala Bhagwan Dass Goel, Mr. A.K. Singh, Mr. R.K. Bhargawa, Dr. S.C. Sood and Mr. Vinod Srivastava and Ms. Pooja Dagar for their help at the various stages of the preparation of this work.
It is with great pleasure that I express my thanks to Shri Rakesh Goel, proprietor Kaveri Books, New Delhi, for not only publishing the book with remarkable speed but also for doing it well.
To members of my family, especially my parents, my wife Anita and daughter Silky, my debt is irredeemable.
The eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries India witnessed a political cyclone which perished 'the independence of Indian rulers. Though some of nearly six hundred States that India had at the time of her independence had a long and illustrious history, as was the case with Travancore and many of the Rajput states, most were the creation of magnates who took the opportunity of the down fall of the Mughals to carve out for themselves independent principalities. The ancestors of these rulers were either independent kings or powerful and successful ministers, administrators or genera.1s. They were the persons who believed in the wisdom of bowing to the storm and, as such, could survive the great upheaval, but certainly with far less dignity and stature. In the years before the coming of the British, the States were at constant war with one another and boundaries were continually changing; but with the establishment of British supremacy, the warfare ceased, and boundaries became fixed. They had submitted to the English conquerors and were permitted to continue diminutive existence on condition of unequivocal loyalty to the new masters.
The State's of these maharajas, rajas, nawabs and rulers jointly ruled over a total area of about 1,813,000 Sq. Kilometers with a population of nearly 80 million. Their States differed widely in size, in wealth, in geographical position, as well as in their people, their history, and their government. The States like Hyderabad, Kashmir, Baroda, Mysore, Gwalior and Travancore rivalled in size or population some of the independent countries of Europe. The great majority of the States, especially those in Kalhiawar peninsula near Bombay were, however, very small indeed, some having a population of less than one thousand and an income of a few thousand rupees a year; those could indeed be more fittingly termed 'Estates', as was made clear by the way in which they were often ranked in importance according to the size of their revenues. Not all the States formed compact units. More than half the territory belonged to the twenty four largest States, while over four hundred princes ruled States smaller than fifty square kilometers. The relative importance of States could also be judged by the number of guns in the salutes to which their rulers were entitled. Rulers of Hyderabad, Kashmir, Baroda, Mysore, and Gwalior received a salute of 21 guns, a supreme accolade. Nineteen, seventeen, fifteen, thirteen, eleven and nine gun States were ranked behind them. Altogether 87 princes had salutes of 11 guns or more and were styled His Highness. For 425 unfortunate rajas and nawabs, rulers of insignificant little principalities, there was no salute at all. They were India's forgotten rulers, the men for whom the guns never tolled. Under the circumstances, it would not be wrong to say that during the British period there had been two India's. There was India of its provinces being administered by the English central government in Delhi, and the separate India consisted of princely states being administered by their respective rulers.
The constitutional position of these States was rather peculiar. The East India Company which, during the second half of the eighteenth century had emerged to be one of the important powers in India, was not a sovereign body. It signed treaties and engagements with the Indian rulers directly or by implication, on behalf of the Crown. Whenever the Company entered into any treaty with an Indian State, except that with Mysore, it did soon the basis of equality and reciprocity. These treaties guaranteed the absolute authority of the rulers over their subjects and most unequivocally repudiated any claim to intervene in the affairs of the States. The first quarter of the nineteenth century saw the Company making Indian States subordinate to itself by making them enter into subsidiary alliance with itself. The Indian States were made to accept Company as the paramount power. Lord Dalhousie by enunciating the doctrine of lapse and escheat annexed several states. This policy implied that on the failure of the natural heirs, the sovereignty of the independent States, of those created by the English government or held on subordinate tenure, lapsed to the paramount power. The revolt of 1857 made the British government firmly declare, through the Queen's Proclamation of 1858, ''We hereby announce to the native princes of India, that all treaties and engagements made with them, by or under the authority of the East India Company, are by us accepted, and will be scrupulously maintained, and we look for the like observance on their part. We desire no extension of our present territorial possessions; and while we will permit no aggression upon our dominions or our rights to be attempted with impunity, we shall sanction no encroachment on those of others. We shall respect the rights, dignity, and honour of native princes as our own. The Indian rulers were given the right of adoption in case they had no son to succeed them. As many as 160 sanads were issued to the Indian rulers assuring them that no harm would be done to them "so long as your House is loyal to the Crown and faithful to the conditions of the treaties, grants and engagements which records its application to the British Government". However, Lord Canning made it clear that the grant of sanads "will not debar the Government of India from stepping in to set right such serious abuses in a native Government as may threaten any part of the country with anarchy or disturbance, nor from assuming temporary charge of a native State when there will be sufficient reason to do so. The significance of these sanads was that, the States were to be perpetuated as an integral pan of the Indian system. The princes were no longer looked upon as rulers driven by force into an unequal alliance. They had become members of the British Empire, and the new position was accepted not unwillingly. The British Government in India emphasized time again (e.g. Declaration made by Lord Canning in 1858; The Gazette Notification No. 1700-E dated August 21, 1891; Resolution of the Government in 1920; the occasion of assuming of the title of Kaiser-i-Hind by Queen Victoria in 1876; Letter written by Lord Reading to the Nizam of Hyderabad in March 1926; or the occasional statements made by different Viceroys) that the Crown of England was unquestioned ruler and paramount power in all India. The Indian Princes had absolutely no independence of action. They were under the control of the Residents. The Resident watched the British interests in the State and offered friendly advice to the Prince. He acted as a channel of communication between the State and the Paramount Power. In reality he was the real ruler and master of the Prince and his advice was usually an order or command. The government had the right to control the use and grant of all title, honour, salutes and matters of precedent. The ruler of a State could not accept foreign title without the consent of the paramount power. The number of salutes to which a native ruler was entitled was fixed by the British government. It shows the Indian States had lost their supreme sovereignty. There was no international recognition of their independence. Their defence and external relations were entirely in the hands of the suzerain. The rights and dignities of the rulers of the Indian States were guaranteed by their separate treaties with the Crown, or otherwise recognised. All of them acknowledged the suzerainty of the King-Emperor but within their own borders, in purely internal matters, in large and small measures the more important States were in full enjoyment of all the authority, possessed and exercised sovereign powers that were associated with the government while the powers enjoyed by others were more restricted. Even in this sphere the paramount power could and did interfere to prevent a State from falling into administrative disorder or financial chaos, but such interference was infrequent though it was never ineffective.
From the above discussion it is quite implicit the States had a very peculiar status in the political theory which grew up in India in the nineteenth century. They did not form part of the British Indian Empire nor were they sovereign powers. The States were neither feudatories of the Government of India, nor protectorates, nor merely allies and to explain their position there was invented the principle of paramountcy. This asserted, tout court, that the British Government was paramount in India, and, as such, had the right to intervene with the Princes in any way it saw fit in the least matter or in the gravest. Normally the Crown guided its behavior towards the Princes by the letter of the treaties which it had negotiated with them when they originally came to terms; yet by the virtue of paramountcy the Crown stood towards them as it were in a second and superior relation. Paramountcy gave it the right to intervene where and how it pleased-to compel a Prince to carry out general reform, to enforce a particular command, to secure the redress of a particular grievance, to send away favourites, to curb extravagance, to effect a change of ministers, and even compel an abdication. The real, as opposed to the theoretical status of the Princes, had been apt to change according to the way in which the government of the time exercised its paramount rights. However, the time of Lord Minto and onwards witnessed a tendency to treat them as all but sovereign associates of the British Crown. But it must not be thought they gained no advantage from their relations with British Crown. In return for their submission the British assumed the obligation of protecting them. In the eighteenth and the early nineteenth centuries this meant protection against rival potentates. In the later half of the nineteenth and the period of twentieth century before Indian independence it came to mean protection against the popular movements for their over throw which may be organised in British India by the nationalist parties. Socially, though the States had certainly been more backward than British India, the trends of progress though weeker had been in the same direction. At least in the larger States there grew up a profesional middle class, and private commercial enterprise created something of a modern economic system.
In all the larger States (175 of them) the paramountcy of the Crown was exercised directly through the Political Department of the Government of India, which was under the personal control of the Viceroy. He appointed the British Residents and Political Agents through whom were conducted the relations of the States with foreign nations, with each 'other, and with the paramount power.
Railways and postal services, where maintained by the States, were run in conjunction with those of British India. Maritime customs, owing to geographical considerations, were in the main under central control, but in all internal affairs the more important States were self-governing. They had their own systems of administrations their own laws, their own courts, their own taxes. Hyderabad bad its own coinage.
These maharajas, nawabs, rajas and princes served for almost two centuries the surest pillars of the English rule in India. Theoretically speaking the British government could dethrone any ruler on the charge of misrule. However, in practice, a ruler could get away with any kind of outrageous behaviour down to and including a few discreet murders without being disturbed by the British, provided, of course, his loyalty had remained intact. It invariably resulted in a series of grateful and generally reactionary princely enclaves studded like anchors against a revolutionary wind throughout the directly British administered parts of India.
The 'Indian States had, by and large, a general similarity in out look, administration and social atmosphere as distinct from British India. There was a strong personal link between the ruler and his subjects. They were attached to him in most cases by ties of loyalty and affection, knowing fully well that the traditions and customs of the State would pass on from one ruler to the next. Despite having autocratic powers, almost all the large States were governed through a Council of Ministers, of whom the chief was generally known as the Diwan. Several of the most progressive States, such as Mysore, Bikaner, Baroda, Bhopal and Travancore, had instituted advisory legislatures with a partly elected membership, and others had also started following their examples. The States like Travancore and Mysore were even advancing towards democratic government. Speaking generally, the Indian princes were men WIth high sense of duty, genuinely anxious for the welfare of their people. The life of the humble people in the States had changed far less than life in British India. The population was less dense, industrial centres were very few, but old handicrafts still survived that had died out elsewhere, together with old customs and old-world courtesy. Many of them preferred quiet dignity to ostentatious display. No doubt quite a few of these princes had large harems and took their pleasure in the indulgence of extravagant tastes, it was only rarely that there was such flagrant misrule that the paramount power found it necessary to interfere and to suspend a ruler or dethrone him.
The rulers of the Indian States have often been noted for their passion for gold and precious stones, hunting, cars, palaces and harems and also for their substantial achievements in various fields.
The magnificent jewels of the Indian princes were famous the world over, and in their treasuries and jewel- houses were shown pearls, diamonds, emeralds and rubies in bewildering array. The Maharaja of Baroda's collection of historic diamonds included the Star of the South, the seventh biggest diamond in the world, and the diamond offered by Napolean III to Eugnie. His court tunic was of spun gold. The Maharaja of jaipur's treasure was guarded from generation to generation by a particularly bellicose Rajput tribe and -each Maharaja was allowed to visit it only once in his life time. The marvels of his treasury included a necklace composed of three tiers of rubies each the size of a pigeon's egg and three enormous emeralds. The largest of which weighted 90 carats. The collection of the Maharaja of Patiala had a pearl necklace which was insured by Lloyds for one million dollars. He also had a diamond breastplate whose luminous surface was composed of 1001 brilliantly matched blue-white diamonds The turban of the Maharaja of Kapurthala had the largest topaz in the world which gleamed like a Cyclopean eye. The Maharaja of Bharatpur's masterpiece were made of ivory.
Many of the princes were notable shots and the jungles of their States were their private preserves. The skins of the tigers killed by the Maharaja of Bharatpur stitched together provided the reception rooms of his palace with what amounted to wall to wall carpeting. The Maharaja of Gwalior killed over 1400 tigers in his life time. The princes were famous too for their lavish hospitality, their splendid banquets and entertainments, and the wonderful sport provided for their guests. No one who had been on a tiger-shoot organized in one of the States was likely to forget the experience. Many princes were first class players of polo. The Maharaja of Patiala adored polo and his stables harboured 500 of the world's finest polo ponies. Ancient forms of sport, such as hawking with falcons and hunting with cheetah were practised in some States; while elephant fights, ram fights, even fights between wild boar and tiger, were occasionally staged on festive occasions, but were stopped before there was serious injury to the animals.
The Maharaja of Patiala not only had a never ending appetite for sex and had a harem containing as many as 350 ladies depicting a variety in appearance and accomplishment in action, he had a great fondness for the cars as well. He was the first to import an automobile into India in 1892, a French made De Dion Bouton and went on to add twenty-seven enormous Rolls-Royce. However, the Maharaja of Alwar had the honour of possessing the most extraordinary princely vehicle in India, a Lancaster gold-plated inside and out, steering wheel in sculptured ivory and reposed on gold-brocaded cushion. The body of the car was perfectly, reproduced replica of the coronation coach of the kings of England. The Maharaja of Bharatpur had the most exotic Rolls in India which was a silver plated convertible. The Nizam of Hyderabad had a fleet of hundreds of cars of different makes which had been acquired with a technique worthy of his legendary reputation for economy. Whenever he happened to see an interesting car in his capital, a word would be sent to its owner that His Exalted Highness would be pleased to receive it as a gift.
Some of the Maharajas had the palaces which surpassed the dimensions of Viceroy's house or rivalled the Taj Mahal in size and opulence. Udaipur's white marble palace in the lake, jaipur's Hawa Mahal, Mysore's 600- room palace, and the replica of Palace of Versailles built by the Maharaja of Kapurthla are some of the extraordinary examples.
The Maharajas of India were not only known for the passions to satisfy their self esteem, they were often noted for substantial achievements as well. Some of the States were showing a zeal for welfare and progress that left the work that was being attempted in British India far behind and people enjoyed benefits and privileges unknown in the British administered areas. One could hear a stirring of constitutionality and democracy from the Princely governed territories. Soon it gained momentum from the federalising process and there was a spate of progressive activity in the States. Some of the States set examples in enlightened advance for the Provinces to follow.
Amongst the Rajput States the city and palace of the Maharaja of Udaipur stood on the shore of the beautiful Pichola Lake. In one of the island palaces, British refuges were sheltered during the revolt of 1857 with chivalrous hospitality. In Chitor many ballads recounted the deeds of heroism and sacrifice of the Rajput clans, of the women as well as the men, in defence of their city. Jodhpur, rich in marbles and sandstones, was also known as Marwar, and all liver India are to be found merchants called marwaris, a name used as a general term for the number of traders and moneylenders who originally came from this State. Jodhpur was famous for its pig-sticking, the sport par excellence of the Rathor Rajputs, and also for its polo. The Jodhpur team often carried off the Polo championship of India. The State had a very fine hospital and a large aerodrome, which was used as port of call by the British and Dutch airmails. The Jodhpur Lancers served during the Great War. Bikaner had turned parts of the Rajasthan desert kingdom into a paradise of artificial lakes and gardens for her subjects' use. An area of nearly 2600 sq kms was irrigated from the rivers of Punjab, by bringing the water from a distance of about 137 kms through a canal lined with concrete, the longest of its kind. Being the land of camels, the army of Bikaner included the famous Camel Corps, with its splendid desert-bred animals and riders in brilliant uniforms of white and gold. The State was run on modem and progressive lines. Jaipur was one of the most frequently visited places by tourists. The descendant of one of history's greatest astronomers, a man who had translated Euclid's Principles of Geometry into Sanskrit, the Maharaja of Jaipur, maintained in his capital one of the world's outstanding observatories. Its rose-coloured capital was planned with mathematical regularity by the well known Maharaja Jai Singh II, in the eighteenth century. Jaipur was the richest town of Rajputana, a centre of trade and banking, and its bazars were famous for their handicrafts, especially for-dyed silk and cotton shawls, jewellery and enamel work on gold and silver. Every year in Jaipur, at the spring festival, the image of Sun-god was carried through the city in a cavalcade headed by the Maharaja and his nobles. Kathiawar, which was also one of the Rajput territories near the western coast, included the state of Nawanagar, whose late ruler was the famous cricketer known as Ranjitsinhji.
Amongst the Maratha States, Baroda was one of the wealthiest and most progressive of all the States. It - had always taken a leading place in educational and cultural progress; and other rulers had followed in the Maharaja Gaekwar's footsteps. Education was made legally compulsory in Baroda as long ago as 1906, had banned polygamy, and it had gone far ahead of British India in regard to social legislation. There was a campaign for the untouchables with a zeal less well known, but no less sincere than Gandhi's. There had been restriction on child marriage in Baroda for very many years, and there were Acts in force regulating the Hindu laws of inheritance and making Hindu divorce possible in certain cases. Baroda had set an example to India in its courageous attack on social evils. It had fine modem buildings, hospital, college, museum, and library, and many self-governing institutions. It had been due to its enlightened ruler, the Maharaja Gaekwar Sayaji Rao. The Maharaja personally financed the education of the man, Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar, at Columbia University in New York. By far the largest of the Maratha states was Gwalior, ruled by the Maharajas of the Scindia family. The Maharaja of Gwalior married a commoner, the brilliant daughter of a civil servant, and moved out of his father's vast palace.
In the south, Hyderabad, Travancore, Mysore, and some smaller States were blazing the trail along many paths of enlightenment. Amongst all the Muslim States, by far the most important was Hyderabad in the Deccan, the largest and richest state in India, ruled by Rustum-i-Dauran, Arastu-e-Zaman, Wal Mamalik, Asif Jah, Nawab Mir Osman, Alikhan Bahadur, Muzaffar-ul-Mulk Nizarn-al-Mud, Sipah Salaar, Fateh Jang, His Exalted Highness, Most Faithful Ally of the British Crown, the seventh Nizam of Hyderabad. The capital Hyderabad, the fourth largest city of the Indian Empire, and its picturesque bazars were thronged with people from all parts of India. Since 1914, a large part of the city had been reconstructed according to modem ideas of scientific town-planning, with wide roads, open spaces, and fine new buildings, such as the High Court and the Osmania Hospital. Some of the crowded slums were also cleared out and new sanitary quarters were provided in their stead. The State was governed by H. E. H. the Nizam through a Council consisting of a President and eight members. Education had made fairly good progress. Hyderabad had its own University having Urdu as the language of instruction. The State produced large quantities of oil seeds, and had cotton mills, flour mills and ginning factories.
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