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Christopher Snedden

to cohere as a unified entity after the British had departed. In 1947, Maharaja Sir Hari Singh was the ruler of Jammu and Kashmir State. He confronted the most momentous and atypical decision of his 22–year reign: to decide the future international status of his premier princely entity. Singh was uncertain due to finding himself in an ‘anomalous position’. 3 Should he join his Muslim-majority state with Pakistan, a homeland being created on the subcontinent for Muslims? Should he seek to unite J

in Independent Kashmir
Caroline Keen

Indian (employing Indian servants and her notorious Indian Munshi or secretary, Abdul Karim). The Court and Social pages of The Times listed many announcements of the arrival and departure of visiting maharajas (many of whom chose to educate their children in England, most notable among them the Gaekwar of Baroda, the Maharajas of Cooch Behar, Gwalior and Bikaner, the Thakur Sahibs of Morvi and Gondal, and the Rao of Cutch). They

in Royals on tour

In the 1940s, the British king, the Dutch queen and the Japanese emperor reigned over colonial possessions in Asia, whose ‘protected’ indigenous monarchs included Indian and Himalayan maharajas, Shan princes in Burma, and sultans in the Malay states and the Dutch East Indies, as well as the Vietnamese emperor and the Cambodian and Lao king in the French republican empire, and the ‘white raja’ of Sarawak. Decolonisation posed the question about the form of government to be adopted in successor states to the colonial empires and about the fate of local dynasties. As their possessions gained independence, the European and Japanese monarchies also had to adapt to a post-imperial world. This collection of original essays by an international group of distinguished historians argues that the institution of monarchy, and individual monarchs, occupied key roles in the process of decolonisation. It analyses the role of monarchy (both foreign and indigenous) in the late colonial period and with decolonisation. It examines the post-colonial fate of thrones buffeted and sometimes destroyed by republicanism and radicalism. It assesses the ways that surviving dynasties and the descendants of abolished dynasties have adapted to new social and political orders, and it considers the legacies left by extant and defunct dynasties in contemporary Asia.

Sikh jewellery in the collection of National Museums Scotland
Friederike Voigt

Museum interpretations of jewel-encrusted works of art, enamelled gold and world-renowned gemstones from the royal courts of India tend to emphasise the value of these precious items and their refined artistic taste. The focus on their extravagance and technical perfection seems intended to provoke admiration, and the association with a wealthy elite, individual maharajas or Mughal emperors adds further to their fascination. Given the link of these objects to Indian royalty, it is surprising that the question of how these symbols of power and status became

in Dividing the spoils
Abstract only
Rajas, maharajas and others in post-colonial India
Jim Masselos

and his cabinet, were already at work restoring order and facing up to the huge challenge of building the nationalist dream of a sovereign and free united nation. Among the many complex issues that had to be addressed was the critical one of how to handle the princely states and their proud rulers, monarchs who variously sported titles such as raja , maharaja , rana , rao , maharao , nizam or nawab , or had other honorifics specific to the custom of their territories. What was to be their place in the new order? As primal survivors of India’s ruler warrior

in Monarchies and decolonisation in Asia
Christopher Snedden

their role as the paramount power and guarantor of the Indian princes’ autocratic regimes, had maintained superiority and power over some 562 rulers for nearly ninety years via various treaties and other arrangements. These would end, or lapse, after the British departure. Thereafter, some princely rulers, along with the leaders of the soon-to-be-created political entity of Pakistan, believed that the princely states (‘Princely India’) would be independent. That is, they would not have to join either India or Pakistan. Maharaja Hari Singh, the ruler of the princely

in Independent Kashmir
Robert Aldrich
Cindy McCreery

’s authoritative monograph provides an analysis of how the maharajas navigated through the last decades of British rule and the transition to independent India, and Yaqoob Khan Bangash has provided an account of the hereditary rulers and the independence of Pakistan. 3 Milton Osborne’s classic biography of King Sihanouk offers a portrait of a king whose reign spanned the colonial and post-colonial history of Cambodia, and Geoffrey C. Gunn has examined in detail Sihanouk’s role in bringing about Cambodia’s independence from France. 4 Herbert P. Bix’s biography of Emperor

in Monarchies and decolonisation in Asia
Jim Masselos

India) and indirectly controlled the other third. That third was princely India, territory ostensibly ruled by some 600 to 700 princes known under a range of titles, variously maharaja , raja , rana , rao , maharao , nizam and so on, according to family and lineage tradition. The princes had their own bureaucratic structures by which they governed their territories while they ensured

in Crowns and colonies
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To be independent, or not to be independent? That is the question1
Christopher Snedden

that J&K would fall into Pakistan's ‘lap like a ripe fruit’. 2 The Pakistanis had failed to realise that, apart from needing Maharaja Hari Singh's accession to ‘win’ J&K politically, they also needed Abdullah's support to ‘win’ J&K emotionally. Indians grasped these matters much earlier than Pakistanis. Also extraordinary, at least in hindsight, was the fact that J&K existed as an independent entity for seventy-two days from 15 August until 26 October 1947. Seemingly, Maharaja Hari Singh wanted an independent J

in Independent Kashmir
Race and the migrant self
Satadru Sen

multigenerational ties to India: his grandfather had been a judge in Calcutta, and his father a senior official in Whitehall. 25 The students in Rajkot were not his first princely pupils; he had previously been the tutor of the Maharaja of Darbhanga. In these roles as educator to the princes, Macnaghten was instrumental in a deliberate attempt made by colonial administrators and teachers to transform the indigenous elites into imperial subjects who were simultaneously modern and exotic, useful and ornamental. 26 He had himself been an

in Migrant races