The Full Wiki

Princely state: Map


Wikipedia article:

Map showing all locations mentioned on Wikipedia article:

For other uses, see Principality, Other princely states.

A Princely State (also called Native State or Indian State) was a nominally sovereign entity of British rule in India that was not directly administered by the British, but rather by an Indian ruler under a form of indirect rule such as suzerainty or paramountcy. There were as many as 568 states in India before independence.

The British Raj and the Native States

India under the British Raj or the British Indian Empire consisted of two divisions: British India and the Native States or Princely states. In its Interpretation Act of 1889, the British Parliament adopted the following definitions: 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. The expression India shall mean British India together with any territories of a 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. (52 & 53 Vict. cap. 63, sec. 18)

(In general the term "British India" had been used (and is still used) to also refer to the regions under the rule of the British East India Company in India from 1600 to 1858. The term has also been used to refer to the "British in India.")

Suzerainty over 175 Princely States, some of the largest and most important, was exercised (in the name of the British Crown) by central government of British India under the Viceroy; the remaining, approximately 500, states were dependents of the provincial governments of British India under a Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, or Chief Commissioner (as the case might have been). 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 laws passed 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.

Princely status and titles

The Indian rulers bore various titles — including Maharaja ("great king"), Badshah ("emperor"), Raja ("king"), Nawab ("governor"), Nizam, Wāli, and many others. Whatever the literal meaning and traditional prestige of the ruler's actual title, the British government translated them all as "prince," in order to avoid the implication that the native rulers could be "kings" with status equal to that of the British monarch.

Some Hindu rulers used the title Thakur or its variant Thakore.

More prestigious Hindu rulers (mostly existing before the Mughal Empire, or having split from such old states) often used the title "Raja," or a variant such as "Rana," "Rao," "Rawat" or "Rawal." Also in this 'class' were several Thakur sahibs and a few particular titles, such as Sar Desai.

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 Cochinmarker 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 Chitralmarker) 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 historically by the Mughal emperor, and later by the British rulers succeeding it as paramount power (first the HEIC, de facto; later the British crown, and ultimately assuming the style Emperor of India as successor to the emperor of the abolished Mughal realm). 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 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. There is also no strict relation 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.

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. 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. (There were many minor rulers who were not entitled to any gun salutes, and as a rule the majority of gun-salute princes had at least nine, with numbers below that usually the prerogative of Arab coastal Sheikhs also under British protection.) 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.

While the states of all these rulers (about 120) were known as salute states, there were far more so-called non-salute states of lower prestige, and even more princes (in the broadest sense of the term) not even acknowledged as such. On the other hand, the dynasties of certain defunct states were allowed to keep their princely status — they were known as Political Pensioners. Though none of these princes were awarded gun salutes, princely titles in this category were recognised as among certain vassals of salute states, and were not even in direct relation with the paramount power.

After independence, the (Hindu) Maharana of Udaipurmarker displaced the Nizam of Hyderabad as the most senior prince in India, and the style Highness was extended to all rulers entitled to 9-gun salutes. When these dynasties had been integrated into the Indian Union they 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 exist under Indian law, although many families continue to retain their social prestige informally; some descendants 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 Barodamarker and the Maharaja Scindia of Gwaliormarker — were entitled to a 21-gun salute. Five more rulers — the Nawab of Bhopalmarker, the Maharaja Holkar of Indoremarker, the Maharana of Udaipurmarker, the Maharaja of Kolhapurmarker and the Maharaja of Travancore — were entitled to 19-gun salutes. The most senior princely ruler was the (Muslim) Nizam of Hyderabad, who was entitled to the unique style Exalted Highness. 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 a (male) heir to the throne.

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. Even 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 possible (Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of India).

Many Indian princes served in the British army (as others in local guard or police forces), often rising to the high official ranks; some even served while on the throne. Many of these were appointed as ADC etc., either to the ruling prince of their own house (in the case of relatives of such rulers) or indeed to the British King-Emperor. Many also saw action, both on the subcontinent and on other fronts, during both World Wars.

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.

The doctrine of lapse

A controversial aspect of Company rule was the doctrine of lapse, a policy under which lands whose feudal ruler had died (or otherwise become unfit to rule) without an heir would become directly controlled by the company. 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 the Maratha states of Nagpurmarker, Jhansimarker, Sataramarker and Awadh (Oudh), whose Nawabs he had accused of misrule. 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 rebellion 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 formation of the Indian Empire, and no further states were absorbed in such a way.

Colonial governance

By the beginning of the 20th century, the four largest states — Hyderabad State, Mysore, Jammu and Kashmirmarker, and Baroda — were directly under the authority of the Governor-General of India, in the person of a British Resident. Two agencies, Rajputana Agency and Central India Agency, oversaw 20 and 148 princely states, respectively. The remaining princely states had political officers, or Agents, who answered to the administrators of India's provinces. Five princely states were then under the authority of Madras, 354 under Bombay, 26 of Bengal, 2 under Assammarker, 34 under Punjab, 15 under Central Provinces and Berar and 2 under United Provincesmarker.

By the early 1930s, the British took over the state whose king had died (Doctrine of Lapse). Most of the princely states under the authority of India's provinces were organised into new agencies, answerable 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 States and Gujarat Agency. Gwaliormarker was separated from the Central India Agency and placed under its own Resident, and the states of Rampurmarker and Benaresmarker, formerly under the authority of the United Provinces, were placed under the Gwalior Residency in 1936. The princely states of Sandurmarker and Banganapallemarker in Mysore Presidency were transferred to the authority of the Mysore Resident in 1939.

A short list of Native States in 1909

The native states in 1909 included five large states that were in "direct political relations" with the Government of India. Of these, Nepal, differed from others, in that it was independent in its internal administration, but was represented internationally by the Government of India. For the complete list of princely states in 1947, see List of Indian Princely States.

Under suzerainty of the Central Government

  {| cellpadding="3" border="1"  class="wikitable"
  ! bgcolor="#DDDDDD" colspan="7" | Five large Princely States in direct political relations with the Central Government in India
Name of Princely State Area in Square Miles Population in 1901 Approximate Revenue of the State (in hundred thousand Rupees) Title, ethnicity, and religion of ruler Gun-Salute for Ruler Designation of local political officer
Hyderabad 82,698 approx. 11.14 million (Hindus and Muslims) 359 Nizam, Turk, Sunni Muslim 21 Resident in Hyderabad
Mysore 29,444 5.53 million (mostly Hindu) 190 Maharaja, Rajput, Hindu 21 Resident in Mysore
Baroda 8,099 1.95 million (chiefly Hindu) 123 Maharaja, Maratha, Hindu 21 Resident at Baroda
Kashmir and Jammu 80,900 2.91 million including Gilgit, Baltistan (Skardu), Ladakh, Chitral and Punch (Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists) 87 Maharaja, Dogra Rajput, Hindu 19 (21 within Kashmir) Resident in Kashmir
Total 445,891 25.54 million 909

Central India Agency, Rajputana Agency and the Baluchistan Agency

20 Princely States forming the Rajputana Agency
Name of Princely State Area in Square Miles Population in 1901 Approximate Revenue of the State (in hundred thousand Rupees) Title, ethnicity, and religion of ruler Gun-Salute for Ruler Designation of local political officer
Udaipur 12,691 1.02 million (Chiefly Hindus and Bhils) 24 Maharana, Sisodia Rajput, Hindu 21 (including two guns personal to the then ruler) Resident in Mewar
Jaipur 15,579 2.66 million (Chiefly Hindu) 62 Maharaja, Kachwaha Rajput, Hindu 21 (including two guns personal to the then ruler) Resident at Jaipur
Jodhpur 34,963 1.94 million (mostly Hindu) 56 Maharaja, Rathor Rajput, Hindu 17 Resident in the Western States of Rajputana
Bikaner 23,311 0.58 million (chiefly Hindu) 23 Maharaja, Rathor Rajput, Hindu 17 Political agent in Bikaner
16 other states 42,374 3.64 million (Chiefly Hindu) 155
Total 128,918 9.84 million 320

{| cellpadding="3" border="1" class="wikitable"
! bgcolor="#DDDDDD" colspan="7" | 2 Princely States forming the Baluchistan Agency 
Name of Princely State Area in Square Miles Population in 1901 Approximate Revenue of the State (in hundred thousand Rupees) Title, ethnicity, and religion of ruler Gun-Salute for Ruler Designation of local political officer
Kalat 71,593 0.37 million (Chiefly Sunni Muslims) 8 Khan or Wali, Brahui, Sunni Muslim 19 Political Agent in Kalat
Las Bela 6,441 56 thousand (Chiefly Sunni Muslim) 2 Jam, Kureshi Arab, Sunni Muslim Political Agent in Kalat
Total 78,034 0.43 million 10

Under a Provincial Government

Burma (52 States)
{| cellpadding="3" border="1" class="wikitable"
! bgcolor="#DDDDDD" colspan="7" | 52 States in Burma: all except the Karen States were included in British India 
Name of Princely State Area in Square Miles Population in 1901 Approximate Revenue of the State (in hundred thousand Rupees) Title, ethnicity, and religion of ruler Gun-Salute for Ruler Designation of local political officer
Hsipawmarker (Thibaw) 5,086 105,000 (Buddhist) 3 Sawbwa, Shan, Buddhist 9 Superintendent, Northern Shan Statesmarker
Kengtungmarker 12,000 190,000 (Buddhist) 1 Sawbwa, Shan, Buddhist 9 Superintendent Southern Shan Statesmarker
Mongnaimarker 2,717 44,000 (Buddhist) 0.5 Sawbwa, Shan, Buddhist 9 Superintendent Southern Shan States
5 Karen States 4,830 45,795 (Buddhist and Animists) 0.5 Superintendent Southern Shan States
44 Other States 42,198 792,152 (Buddhist and Animist) 8.5
Total 67,011 1,177,987 13.5

Other states under provincial governments

Madras (5 States)

5 States under the suzerainty of the Provincial Government of Madras
Name of Princely State Area in Square Miles Population in 1901 Approximate Revenue of the State (in hundred thousand Rupees) Title, ethnicity, and religion of ruler Gun-Salute for Ruler Designation of local political officer
Travancore 7,091 2,952,157 (chiefly Hindu and Christian) 100 Maharaja, Kshattriya, Hindu 21 (including two guns personal to the then ruler) Resident in Travancore and Cochin
Cochin 1,362 812,025 (chiefly Hindu and Christian) 27 Raja, Kshattriya, Hindu 17 Resident in Travancore and Cochin
Padukkottai 1,100 380,440 (Hindu) 11 Raja, Kallar, Hindu 11 Collector of Trichinopoly (ex officio Political Agent)
2 minor states (Banganapallemarker and Sandur) 416 43,464 3
Total 9,969 4,188,086 141

Bombay (354 States)

{| cellpadding="3" border="1" class="wikitable"
! bgcolor="#DDDDDD" colspan="7" | 354 states under the suzerainty of the Provincial Government of Bombay 
Name of Princely State Area in Square Miles Population in 1901 Approximate Revenue of the State (in hundred thousand Rupees) Title, ethnicity, and religion of ruler Gun-Salute for Ruler Designation of local political officer
Kolhapur 2,855 910,011 (chiefly Hindus) 48 Maharaja, Kshatriya, Hindu 19 Political Agent for Kolhapur
Cutch 7,616 488,022 (chiefly Hindus) 20 Maharao, Jadeja Rajput, Hindu 17 Political Agent in Cutch
Khairpur 6,050 199,313 (chiefly Muslims) 13 Mir, Talpur Baloch, Muslim 15 Political Agent for Khairpur
Junagarhmarker 3,284 395,428 (chiefly Hindus) 27 Nawab, Pathan, Muslim 11 Agent to the Governor in Kathiawar
Navanagar 3,791 336,779 (chiefly Hindus) 31 Jam Sahib, Jadeja Rajput, Hindu 11 Agent to the Governor in Kathiawar
349 other states 42,165 4,579,095 281
Total 65,761 6,908,648 420

United Provinces (2 States)

Two states under the suzerainty of the Provincial Government of the United Provinces
Name of Princely State Area in Square Miles Population in 1901 Approximate Revenue of the State (in hundred thousand Rupees) Title, ethnicity, and religion of ruler Gun-Salute for Ruler Designation of local political officer
Rampurmarker 899 533,212 (chiefly Hindus and Muslims) 33 Nawab, Pathan, Muslim 13 Commissioner for Bareillymarker (ex officio Political Agent)
Tehri 4,180 268,885 (chiefly Hindus) 3 Raja, Rajput Hindu 11 Commissioner of Kumaun (ex officio Political Agent)
Total 5,079 802,097 36

Central Provinces (15 States)

15 States under the suzerainty of the Provincial Government of the Central Provinces
Name of Princely State Area in Square Miles Population in 1901 Approximate Revenue of the State (in hundred thousand Rupees) Title, ethnicity, and religion of ruler Gun-Salute for Ruler Designation of local political officer
Kalahandimarker 3,745 284,465 (chiefly Hindus) 4 Raja, Rajput, Hindu 9 Political Agent for the Chattisgarh Feudatories
Bastar 13,062 306,501 (chiefly Animists) 3 Raja, Kshatriya, Hindu Political Agent for the Chattisgarh Feudatories
13 other states 12,628 1,339,353 (chiefly Hindus) 16 11
Total 29,435 1,996,383 21

Punjab (34 States)

34 states under the suzerainty of the Provincial Government of the Punjab
Name of Princely State Area in Square Miles Population in 1901 Approximate Revenue of the State (in hundred thousand Rupees) Title, ethnicity, and religion of ruler Gun-Salute for Ruler Designation of local political officer
Bahawalpur 15,000 720,877 (chiefly Muslims) 24 Nawab, Daudputra, Muslim 17 Political Agent for Phulkian States and Bahawalpur
Patialamarker 5,412 1,596,692 (chiefly Hindus and Sikhs) 57 Maharaja, Sidhu Jat, Sikh 17 Political Agent for Phulkian States and Bahawalpur
Nabha 928 297,949 (chiefly Hindus and Sikhs) 12 Raja, Sidhu Jat, Sikh 15 (including 4 guns personal to the then ruler Political Agent for Phulkian States and Bahawalpur
Jindmarker 1,259 282,003 (chiefly Hindus and Sikhs) 15 Raja, Sidhu Jat, Sikh 11 Political Agent for Phulkian States and Bahawalpur
Kapurthalamarker 630 314,351 (chiefly Muslims and Hindus) 13 Raja, Ahluwalia Kolal, Sikh 11 Commissioner of the Jullundurmarker Division (ex-officio Political Agent)
Faridkot 642 124,912 (Sikhs, Hindus, and Muslims) 4 Raja, Barar Jat, Sikh 11 Commissioner of the Jullundur Division (ex-officio Political Agent)
28 other states 12,661 1,087,614 30
Total 36,532 4,424,398 155

Assam (26 States)

26 States under the suzerainty of the Provincial Government of Assam
Name of Princely State Area in Square Miles Population in 1901 Approximate Revenue of the State (in hundred thousand Rupees) Title, ethnicity, and religion of ruler Gun-Salute for Ruler Designation of local political officer
Manipur 8,456 284,465 (chiefly Hindus and Animists) 4 Raja, Kshatriya, Hindu 11 Political Agent in Manipur
25 Khasi States 3,900 110,519 (Khasis and Christians) 0.5 Deputy Commissioner, Khasi and Jaintia Hills
Total 12,356 394,984 4.5


After independence in 1947, the princely states were forced to accede — and thus sign away their political autonomy — either to the secular, mainly Hindu dominion of Indiamarker or the majority Islamic dominion of Pakistanmarker (consisting of West Pakistan and East Pakistan; the latter would later break away as Bangladeshmarker). The accession was to be chosen by its ruling Prince, not by the population, akin to the 16th century European principle of cuius regio eius religio — though, in practice, there were exceptions to this rule. Most acceded peacefully, except for four: Junagadhmarker, Hyderabad, Jammu and Kashmirmarker and Tripuramarker.

Junagadhmarker, the largest state in the Kathiawar peninsula (now in Gujarat), was a princely state with a Muslim ruler over a Hindu majority. It had originally announced to join Pakistanmarker by its Nawab Muhammad Mahabat Khanji III. He was traveling in Pakistan's capital Karachimarker to sign the treaty of accession when the Indian Army, with the support of Junagadh's Hindu majority, took over control of the state. The Nawab fled into exile and the Indian-appointed Prime Minister of the state announced its merger with Indiamarker.

In Hyderabad, a similar fate befell a Muslim dynasty which had been the highest in rank since the abolition of the Mughals at Delhi and the Kingdom of Oudh. The Muslim ruler of Hyderbad Osman Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VII, the last Nizam, and his followers, Razakars, wished to remain independent. The Indian Government carried out the so called “Hyderabad Police Action” against the Nizam. Code-named “Operation Polo” by the Indian military, this action by the Indian armed forces' ended the rule of the Nizams of Hyderabad and led to the incorporation of the princely state of Hyderabad into the Indian Union.

Jammu and Kashmirmarker had a Muslim majority but was ruled by a Hindu Raja. The Muslim League-dominated legislative assembly issued one statement that represented the will of the Muslim people: “After carefully considering the position, the conference has arrived at the conclusion that accession of the State to Pakistan is absolutely necessary in view of the geographic, economic, linguistic, cultural and religious conditions… It is therefore necessary that the State should accede to Pakistan."

The Maharaja Hari Singh, reluctant, would have preferred to remain independent, but was advised by his later Prime Minister, Mehr Chand Mahajan, that a landlocked country such as Kashmir would be soon engulfed by foreign powers such as the USSR or China.

However, M.A. Jinnah, creator and Governor-General of Pakistan, included Kashmir in his concept of Pakistan. The British-controlled Gilgitmarker Scouts staged a rebellion in the Northern Areas, as a result of which this region became effectively a part of Pakistan, unilaterally without a referendum and is up to the present being administered by Pakistan as a part of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK)

The Tribal Kabailis of the North West Frontier Provincemarker attacked and ravaged Kashmir proper, with the help of the Pakistan armed forces which were still controlled and administered by British officers.

With an independence no longer an option, the Maharaja now turned to India, requesting troops for safeguarding Kashmir. Though Indian Prime Minister Nehru was ready to send the troops, the acting Governor General of India, Lord Mountbatten of Burma advised the Maharaja to accede to India before she can send her troops. Hence, considering the emergency situation he signed the instrument of accession to the Union of India. However, evidence proved that long before the Maharaja could meet the Indian Prime Minister, Nehru, and sign the instrument of accession,India had sent forces into Kashmir. After not being able to push back the Pakistani tribals and people of gilgit, Nehru under Mountbatten's advise took the matter to the UN, insisting that Jammu and Kashmirmarker's accession to India was legal,the UN did not agree and Nehru promised the people of kashmir the choice to join either India or Pakistan after a plebiscite and also mentioned if the people don't want to be part of the Indian union then even though it might hurt us we will accept their choice.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 47 was adopted on 21 April, 1948, stating that "(...) After hearing arguments from both India and Pakistan, the Council increased the size of the Commission established by United Nations Security Council Resolution 39 to five members, instructed the Commission to go to the subcontinent and help the governments of India and Pakistan restore peace and order to the region and prepare for a plebiscite to decide the fate of Kashmir".

The resolution further recommended that in order to ensure the impartiality of the plebiscite, Pakistan withdraw all tribesmen and nationals who entered the region for the purpose of fighting, and that India to also remove all her troops. The Commission was also to send as many observers into the region as it deemed necessary to ensure the provisions of the resolution were enacted" [69782].

In practice, the resolution failed to resolve the problem, which remains unresolved up to the present. At the time and up to the present, Pakistanis and Kashmiri separatists accused India of having acted with a double standard - i.e., acting according to the wish of a majority Hindu population where the ruler was Muslim (as in the case of Junagadh) and according to the wishes of the Hindu ruler where the majority population was Muslim. (As Kashmir was no longer a Princely state, further developments fall outside the scope of the present page, and can be found in Kashmir#Post-1948 developments).

Tripuramarker remained an independent kingdom after the Partition of India, until it joined India 2 years later under the Tripura Merger Agreement.



On accession by a princely state, its territories and administrations merged into the Union of India. The rulers of the princely states were allowed to retain their hereditary titles and official residences. Depending upon their size, importance and revenue they were also allowed to retain additional properties and given privy purses (in compensation of the state's revenue which now would go the new Union). On abolition of the privy purse (and the right to the hereditary titles) by the government in 1971 the princely states ceased to exist as recognised political entities.

Mohammed Abdul Ali Azim Jah, the former Prince of Arcot, is the only former royal in India who was not affected by the abolition of privy purses. In the order of precedence, he enjoys the rank of cabinet minister of the state of Tamil Nadumarker.

The former Nawab hails from a family that traces its lineage back to the second caliph, Umar ibn al-Khattāb. The title 'Prince of Arcot', uniquely using the European style prince, was conferred on his ancestor by the British government in 1870 after the post of Nawab of the Carnatic (a title granted by the Mughal emperor) was abolished.

Former states sometimes still maintain and observe their ceremonies, forms of address etc. either as family traditions or as popular folk-customs. For example, processions during the popular Gangaur festival in Jaipurmarker begin, as per tradition, from the City Palace, which remains the private residence of its former royal family.

Devgadh Baria was one of the princely states in western India which is planned on European town planning principles along with controlled architectural character at selected junctions in the town. The town is surrounded by about 250 mt high hills on three sides which dominate its skyline.


After independence, a new hereditary salute of 15 guns was granted in 1966 by President Ayub Khan, for the Wali of Swat, ruler of one of the last princely states to be created (1926). Before that, there were four Gun-Salute States in Pakistan: Bahawalpurmarker, Chitralmarker, Kalat, and Khairpur. A few lesser non-salute states also acceded to Pakistan, including Dir, Kharan, and Amb. In present-day Pakistan's tribal region in the North-West Frontier Provincemarker, the princely states were maintained until 1971, when all states were abolished by merger into the republic; all princely titles were abolished in 1972.

Kashmir was under a Maharaja, and is disputed and divided with India.

Other princely states

  • British Empire: Princely states existed elsewhere in the British Empire. Some of these were considered by the Colonial Office (or earlier by the BHEIC) as satellites of, and usually points of support on the naval routes to, British India, some important enough to be raised to the status of salute states.
    • A number of Arab states around the Persian Gulfmarker, including Omanmarker, the present-day United Arab Emiratesmarker and Kuwaitmarker, were British protectorates under native rulers.
    • On the Malay peninsula a number of states, known as the Malay states, were administered by local rulers, who recognized British sovereignty; they still reign, but now constitutionally, in most constitutive states of modern Malaysiamarker.

  • Netherlandsmarker: Indirect rule through princely states (or even mere tribal chieftaincies) was also practiced in other European nations' colonial empires. An example is the Dutch East Indiesmarker (modern Indonesiamarker), which had dozens of local rulers (mainly Malay and Muslim, others tribal, Hindu or animist). The colonial term in Dutch was regentschap 'regency', but did not apply to lower-level fiefs.

See also



  • .

External links

Embed code:

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address