Roper Lethbridge.

The golden book of India; a genealogical and biograhical dictionary of the ruling princes, chiefs, nobles, and other personages, titled or decorated, of the Indian empire, with an appendix for Ceylon online

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THE GOLDEN BOOK OF INDIA



THE GOLDEN BOOK
OF INDIA



A GENEALOGICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY OF THE RULING

PRINCES, CHIEFS, NOBLES, AND OTHER PERSONAGES, TITLED

OR DECORATED, OF THE INDIAN EMPIRE



WITH AN APPENDIX FOR CEYLON



BY

Sir ROPER LETHBRIDGE, K.C.I.E.



LONDON
SAMPSON LOW, MARSTON & COMPANY

LIMITED
flnbltsbtrs to % |nbta @ffi« /

1900






#



BY SPECIAL PERMISSION

DEDICATED

TO

HER MOST GRACIOUS MAJESTY

Victoria

QUEEN EMPRESS OF INDIA



258460



INTRODUCTION



1.— Sources of Information.

No official authority whatever attaches to this work, or to any statement in
it. The Editor has received the most kind and valuable assistance from all
those Indian officials who have charge of matters relating to Dignities and
Titles ; but he is alone responsible for the contents of TJie Golden Book of
India. Much of the information has been derived from the Princes, Noblemen,
and Gentlemen whose names are included herein.

The task of compiling this much-needed work has been of far greater
difficulty than was expected. Some of the difficulty has been due to its
novelty ; for among those who have sent information regarding themselves and
their families, there has naturally been little uniformity in method or scale.
This difficulty will, it is anticipated, soon disappear. But the chief difficulty
has been owing to the fact that India stands alone among civilized nations in
possessing no special Department, College, or Chancery, charged with the duty
— a very necessary duty from the point of view alike of expediency and of
national dignity — of recording and certifying national honours and titles, of
regulating their conferment, and of controlling their devolution where hereditary.
The Foreign Department of the Government of India, being that Department
which has charge of the relations of the Paramount Power with the Feudatory
States and their Rulers, naturally and properly directs so much of this business
of State as cannot by any possibility be shirked. But the question of the very
necessary establishment of a Heralds' College, or a Chancery of Dignities, has
only once (in 1877) been seriously faced — and then its solution was postponed.

The results of this neglect are already deplorable, and must ere long receive
the attention of the Government of India. Indian titles are officially defined
to be, either by grant from Government, i e. a new creation by Her Imperial
Majesty the Queen Empress through her representative ; or "by descent, or
by well-established usage." The Government alone can be the judge of the
validity of claims, and of their relative strength, in the case of titles acquired
by " descent " or by " well-established usage. And it is clear that this Royal
Prerogative, to be properly used, ought to be exercised openly and publicly
through the medium of a regular College or Chancery. It is, of course, true
that the Foreign Department possesses a mass of more or less confidential
information, and thoroughly efficient machinery, for deciding all questions
of the kind, when such questions are submitted to, or pressed upon, the notice
of Government. But when that is not the case, there seems to be no public
authority or accessible record for any of the ordinary Indian titles, or for the
genealogy of the families holding hereditary titles. Much confusion has already
arisen from this, and more is likely to arise. In the Lower Provinces of Bengal
alone, there are at this moment some hundreds of families possessing, and not
uncommonly using, title* derived from extinct dynasties or from common



viii INTRODUCTION

repute, yet not hitherto recognized formally by the British Government ; and
these, sometimes justly, but more frequently perhaps unjustly, are in this way
placed in a false and invidious position. The State regulation of all these
matters, in a plain and straightforward manner, would undoubtedly be hailed
with pleasure in India by princes and people alike.

In equal uncertainty is left, in many cases, the position of the descendants
of ancient Indian royal and noble families ; as also that of the Nobles of
Feudatory States, the subjects of ruling and mediatized princes.

Then, too, there is endless confusion in the banners, badges, and devices
that are borne, either by the custom of the country or by personal assumption,
by various families and individuals. Tod's learned work on The Annals of
Edjdsthdn 1 taught us long ago that badges and family emblems were as
characteristic of Rajput chivalry as of the feudalism of Europe — appealing to
similar sentiments, and similarly useful for historical and genealogical pur-
poses. To this day hundreds of Chiefs and country gentlemen in Rajputana,
in Central India, in Kathiawar, and in many other parts, use their ancestral
devices in their seals or accompanying their signature. Thus every petty
Thakur (as well as Chiefs of higher degree), from Oudh iu the East to the
Western Sea, who can trace his descent from the proud Chauhan clan of
Rajputs that gave the last Hindu Emperors to Delhi and Ajmir, still claims
his ancestral right to the Chauhan santak, or device on seal and for signature,
called the "Chakra." Figures of Hanumdn (the Monkey God), of the Sacred
Peacock, and of the Sacred Garur or Eagle, take the place, in the heraldry of
the East, of the lions, the leopards, and the fleur-de-lys of the more elaborate
and artificial coat-armour of the West. The Iculcha, or "lucky chapdti"
(biscuit), with the silver quatrefoils, on the green flag of the Nizam, the
red oriflamme of the "Sun of the Hindus" (the Maharana of Udaipur), the
falcon of Marwar, the Gangetic dolphin of Darbhanga, the white and green
stripes of the late Sir Salar Jang, and many other hereditary devices and
emblems, have long been and still are familiar in India. But there seems
to be no authority by whom the use of such emblems is directed or controlled ;
nor has the Government of India ever had the prudence to avail itself of the
rich store of revenue that might easily, and indeed (from the historical and
genealogical point of view) usefully, be raised from the fees and duties to be
derived from the extended use of armorial bearings. It is hoped that the
publication of this work may have some influence in inducing the Government
of India to establish that very necessary institution, a Heralds' College or
Chanceiy of Dignities, in connection with its Political Department — or,
perhaps better, to petition Her Majesty to attach a duly-constituted Indian
Department to the College of Arms in London under the Garter King of
Arms.

In the existing circumstances — it may be hoped only temporarily existing
— described above, the Editor has felt constrained, very reluctantly in many
cases, to decline to insert the particulars of any titles that have not been more
or less formally recognized by the Government of India, except in about half-a-
dozen very special cases, where there could not by any possibility be any doubt
of the authenticity of the claims. For instance, in the case of the Raikat of

i Colonel Tod says: — " The martial Rajpoots are not strangers to armorial bearings. . . .
The great banner of Mewar exhibits a golden Sun on a crimson field ; those of the chiefs bear
a Dagger. Amber idisplays the panchranga, or five-coloured flag. The lion rampant on an
argent field is extinct with the State of Chanderi. In Europe these customs were not in-
troduced till the period of the Crusades, and were copied from the Saracens ; while the use of
them amongst the Rajpoot tribes can be traced to a period anterior to the war of Troy. In
the Mahabharat, or Great War, twelve hundred years before Christ, we find the hero Bheesma
exulting over his trophy, the banner of Arjoona, its field adorned with the figure of the Indian
Hanumdn. These emblems had a religious reference amongst the Hindus, and were taken from
their mythology, the origin of all devices.' — Annals of Rdjdsthdn, vol. i. pp. 123, 124.



INTRODUCTION ix

Baikanthpur, in the district of Jalpaiguri, Bengal, the title appears to be unique
iu India — and there can be no doubt whatever that it has been borne by some-
thing like twenty generations of hereditary kinsmen of the Rajas of Kuch
Behar ; some account of this singularly interesting title has been inserted,
though there is some reason to doubt whether it appears in any official list.
And so, too, with a few well-known courtesy titles (see § 8 of this Introduction).

2.— Method of Arrangement.

After much thought and deliberation, it has been determined that, at least

for the earlier editions of The Golden Book — which in many respects must

necessarily have something of the nature of an experiment — the arrangement

of the work shall be simply alphabetical. In future editions it is possible

j that the volume may be divided into separate parts, distinguishing between

Ruling Princes on the one hand, and Dignitaries and Titled Personages of

British India on the other — or possibly distinguishing between Territorial

f Titles and others. But the difficulties of classification would be exceedingly

\ great in a large number of cases, and any attempt in that direction would

I certainly greatly delay the appearance of the work. And, after all, even the

most careful and accurate classification would, for practical purposes, be of very

! little use ; for, as the next section of this Introduction will show, there is at

: present no strict gradation of titles — and of some titles the relative values,

1 strange as this may seem, are different in different parts of India.

In India itself, the relative social importance of the various Dignitaries
\ included in this work is well known, and any attempt further closely to define
j precedence would be an invidious as well as unnecessary task.

For European readers it may perhaps be sufficient to give very rough and

I general analogies from the European system. For instance, the relative posi-

j tion of such potentates as the Nizam of the Deccan or the Maharaja of Mysore

to the Indian Empire may not unfitly be compared with that of the King of

Saxony to the German Empire. The hereditary Maharajas, Rajas, and Nawabs

of British India occupy a position very similar to that of the British Peerage at

home ; while the holders of the lower titles may be compared with our Knights

Bachelors, and the Knights and Companions of the Military Orders. Among

the ruling chiefs, their comparative position and importance may also be

; estimated by observing the area and population of their respective States,

as compared with the smaller Kingdoms and Principalities of Central Europe.

3.— Indian Titles : General.

A list of one hundred and ninety-six different titles known to the Govern-
ment of India has been compiled in the Indian Foreign Office. Even this long
list can hardly be regarded as exhaustive, for it does not include many dynastic
appellations which have come to be regarded in the light of titles, such as
Gaekwdr, the dynastic name of the Maharajas of Baroda ; Sindhia, that of the
Maharajas of Gwalior ; ffolkar, that of the Maharajas of Indore. Nor does it
include such titles as that of Yuvardj or Jubardj (Youthful Raja), often applied
(as lately in Manipur) to the heir to the Raj. And it is of course exclusive of
the Military Orders of Knighthood.

The majority of these titles are Hindu (derived chiefly from the Sanskrit
language), or Muhammadan (derived chiefly from the Persian). The Burmese
titles, though lengthy, are few in number ; while still fewer are Arakanese (or
Magh), Thibetan, Afghan, Baluch, Somali, etc. Two distinguished Parsi
families have received the English title of Baronet ; while one Madras family,
the descendants of the old Nawabs of the Carnatic, has the English title of
"Prince of Arcot," called also " Amir-i- Arcot. " The title of Prince is also



x INTRODUCTION

often given by courtesy as the English rendering of the title of "Shahzada,"
conferred by Her Majesty the Empress on certain descendants of the Tippu
dynasty of Mysore, of the old kings of Oudh, and of former Amirs of
Afghanistan.

Some Indian titles are personal ; others have been recognized by Her
Majesty as hereditary. It is intended in this work to distinguish those which
are hereditary from those which are personal.

In the list of one hundred and ninety-six titles mentioned above (which is
given below in section 11 of this Introduction, with a glossary of their meanings
where known), some are specific titles, analogous to the English "Duke,"
"Earl," etc. ; such are Mahdrdjd, Edjd, Naiodb. Some are descriptive titles,
somewhat analogous to the "Defender of the Faith" borne by our Gracious
Sovereign; such are Shamsher Jang ("The Sword of War"), a title borne
by His Highness the Maharaja of Travancore, and Fath Jang, one of the
many titles borne by His Highness the Nizam of the Deccan. Titles of the
latter form are generally confined to a single personage or dynasty ; but a few
are common to more than one State, as Lokendra (" Protector of the World")
borne by the Chiefs of Dholpur and Datia.



4. — Indian Titles : Ruling Chiefs.

The normal or typical title of Chiefs or Nobles of Hindu descent is Edjd (in
the feminine Rdni), or some of its numerous kindred forms. Some of the latter
are Rdnd, Rao, Rdwal, Rdwat, Rai, Raikwdr, Raikbdr, Raikat. To these is
added, to indicate excess of rank, the prefix Mahd ("Great"), as in Mahdrdjd,
Mahdrdna, Mahdrao, Mahdrdj-Rdnd, etc. The afiix Bahadur ("Brave,"
1 * The Hero " ) is very commonly added (as an extra honorific) to all Indian
titles, Muhammadan as well as Hindu, and is placed at the end of the name,
much like the English " Esquire." Saheb is a somewhat similar affix, and is
very commonly used as a courteous form of address ; when used as the supple-
ment of a title it indicates a rank somewhat less than Bahddur, — thus Rao
Bahddur and Khdn Bahddur are titles usually of rather more consideration
than Rao Saheb or Khdn Saheb. Thdkur is also a frequently-used Hindu
title. Some important feudatory Chiefs bear no other title, but it usually
is of less consideration than Rdjd.

Diwdn and Sarddr are titles very similar in character to that of Thdkur ;

but they are common to Hindus and Muhammadans.

P The normal or typical title of a Chief or a Noble of Muhammadan descent is

i Naivdb (with Begam as its feminine form) ; usually with the honorific suffix of

BaMdur, and in forms of courteous address with that of Saheb. The title of

Shdhzdda (" King's Son ") is given to some descendants of the Tippu dynasty of

Mysore, to some descendants of former Amirs of Kabul, and to some descendants

of the old Kings of Oudh. Other Muhammadan titles — sometimes equivalent

in consideration to Nawdb, but not always — are Wall, Sultdn, Amir, Mir,

\ Mirza, Midn, Khdn; also Sarddr and Diwdn, which are common to Hindus

and Muhammadans.

Among the Ruling Chiefs there are some exceptional titles, due sometimes
to differences of language, sometimes to other known causes, and sometimes of
unknown origin. The first and greatest of all the Princes of the Empire is
^ always known as the Nizam of the Deccan — a relic of the time when His High-
, ness's ancestors were mediatized kings under the Emperor of Delhi. The title,
though implying in itself fealty to an Imperial authority, is one of the highest
dignity, and can hardly be translated by any European title less august than
"king"; it is therefore a suitable title for the first mediatized prince under
the Indian Empire, charged with the absolute rule over an area more than



INTRODUCTION xi

twice as large as that of Bavaria and Saxony combined, and a population
greater than that of the two kingdoms named.

Holkar and Sindhia are rather of the nature of dynastic names than of
titles ; and the GaeJcwdr (the title of one of the greatest of the Ruling Chiefs)
is of a similar nature, having been originally a caste name ; and all these three
are relics of the Mahratta Empire J

Among the exceptional titles due to difference of language may be noticed
that of Jam, which is of Sindhi or Baluch origin ; there are two Jams of ruling
rank in Kathiawar, and one in Baluchistan. The ruler of Spiti, an outlying
Himalayan principality in the Punjab, is known as the Nono of Spiti — " Nono "
being a Thibetan form. One of the Assamese Rajas is known as " the
Bohmong " ; another simply as "the Mong Raja." Some of the Madras
Chiefs have peculiar titles of local origin. Thus, the Maharaja of Calicut
bears the historic title of "theZamorin" — probably a local corruption of the
Malayalam Samundri, or "sea-king." The Maharaja of Puducotta is known
as "the Tondiman"; and some other Madras Rajas are called "the Valiya
Raja." Nine Feudatories (eight in the Bombay Presidency and one at Muscat
in Arabia) bear the title of Sultdn. The descendants of the ancient chiefs of Sind
are called Mirs ; the Chief of Afghanistan is called Amir. The Chief of Kalat
in Baluchistan is both a Mir and a Wali, and has been created (like the Amir
of Afghanistan) a Grand Commander of the Star of India. In the Aden
territory, which is subordinate to the Bombay Government, some of the
chiefs bear the title of Girad, which is of Somali origin ; others are known
by the Arabic titles of Sultdn, Amir, and Shaikh. Some of the heads of
Hindu religious bodies are hereditary feudal chiefs ; and their title is Mediant.

All, or most of the titles mentioned above, though recognized by the
British Government, have come down to us from earlier times. Her Majesty
has, in a few very special cases, authorized a change of title among the
Feudatories ; as, for instance, when a Thdkur Saheb has been "authorized to
use the higher title of Mahdrdjd Bahddur. But, generally speaking, when
it is wished to confer honour on a ruling prince, it is conferred, not by a change
in the ancient title of chiefship, but by appointment to one or other of the
classes of the orders of the Star of India or the Indian Empire — by the addition
of descriptive titles — by an increase in the number of guns authorized for the
salute, such increase being usually a personal one — or by the conferment of
Honorary military rank in the Imperial army.

5. — Titles Recognized, and Regularly Conferred by Her Majesty
through the government of india.

In British India there is now a well-established order and gradation of
nobility ; in which creations and promotions are made by Her Gracious
Majesty's representative, the Viceroy, just as similar creations and promotions
are made in England. In the higher ranks of this nobility, an additional step
or grade in each rank is made by the custom, unknown as yet in England, of
making the creation or promotion in some cases personal, in others hereditary.
But no rank below that of Raja for Hindus, or Nawab for Muhammadans, is
now created hereditary.

Rai (or Rao in Southern and Western India) for Hindus, and Khdn for
Muhammadans, are the first or least considerable titles- conferred by the British
Government. These, with or without the affix of Saheb, which adds to the
dignity, are very commonly ex officio titles, held by the subordinate officers of
civil departments*. Next above Rai Saheb, Rao Saheb, or Khdn Saheb comes
the title Rai Bahddur, Rao Bahddur, or Khdn Bahddur ; and this is the title —
though it has sometimes also been made simply an ex officio title — which is
usually first conferred on. Indian gentlemen who, have distinguished themselves.,



xii INTRODUCTION

by their munificence, by tlieir patriotism, or in any other way. Mai Bahadur
is commonly used as the Hindu title in the Bengal Presidency, Mao Bahadur as
that in the west and south of India, and Khan Bahadur for Muhammadans



Online LibraryRoper LethbridgeThe golden book of India; a genealogical and biograhical dictionary of the ruling princes, chiefs, nobles, and other personages, titled or decorated, of the Indian empire, with an appendix for Ceylon → online text (page 2 of 63)