British rule in India: The Maharaja and the rulers

British rule in India: The Maharaja and the rulers

British rule in India: The Maharaja and the rulers

Prior to independence, concepts such as elephants, dancing girls and grand palaces were common among the maharajas or rulers of imperial states of India, but historian Manu Pillai has revisited the legacy of these maharajas or rulers.

If you look away from their ornaments, palaces and magnificent courts, you will notice that they have been widely ridiculed, ridiculed or tried to find fault with them.

The British in their time saw the ‘local’ princes of India as declining figures who were more interested in sex and glitter than the government.

A white officer, for example, described the maharajas as “horrible, disgusting and disgusting in appearance,” who, like a dancer, were “adorned with earrings and necklaces.”

The white officer also said, “Unlike white men, these maharajas are not masculine, but stupid people with feminine attributes.”

A deliberate attempt to discredit the Maharajas

These stereotypes about the Maharajas persisted for decades. In 1947, Life Magazine also reported that a Maharaja had an average of 11 addresses, three uniforms, 5.8 wives, 12.6 children, five palaces, 9.2 elephants and at least three Rolls-Royce vehicles. ‘
As well as being misleading, the figures were ridiculous because they comprised a total of 562 states, mostly small states, and had little political significance.

It was not right to equate the nearly 100 maharajas who ruled over millions of people with the very small landowners. This not only weakened his status but also made him a cartoon character in the eyes of the people.

However, the fact is that the royal territories covered 40% of the subcontinent and did not come under direct colonial control but were linked to the British Raj through various treaties, but not all the Rajas were as presented in the general picture. Was

Life magazine also mentioned in its report that it is more likely that the Maharaja of Cochin State was enjoying a book in Sanskrit instead of being in the lap of a slave girl, while the rulers of Gondal state were enjoying a training. He was a successful doctor.

The big states were not ruled by dictators who “considered themselves great” who were intoxicated with alcohol and sex, but by serious political figures who saw their states as legitimate political places.

Yes, but there is some truth in the allegations of lack of seriousness against the Maharajas. Like once a Maharaja saw a Scottish regiment and immediately dressed his soldiers in skirts while another Maharaja claimed that he was Louis XIV, the ruler of France who was reborn in the Punjabis.

By the way, such stupid stories have also been linked to the British rulers. For example, Lord Curzon, the Viceroy of India, was once found playing tennis naked.
The work of many rulers was magnificent
While researching for my new book, I found that many interesting stories were left behind due to the Maharajas’ image of ‘selfish fools’ and many such important stories were deliberately hidden.

Just as the prince of Mysore had elephants in southern India, but industries were also established during his reign.

A journalist has found out from research that a Maharaja in the western state of Baroda spent five dollars on every 55 of his subjects in the field of education, while the British rulers spent the same amount per thousand in the areas under their control. What happened to the people?

British rule in India: The Maharaja and the rulers whom the British saw as ‘declining’ figures

Prior to independence, concepts such as elephants, dancing girls and grand palaces were common among the maharajas or rulers of imperial states of India, but historian Manu Pillai has revisited the legacy of these maharajas or rulers.

If you look away from their ornaments, palaces and magnificent courts, you will notice that they have been widely ridiculed, ridiculed or tried to find fault with them.

The British in their time saw the ‘local’ princes of India as declining figures who were more interested in sex and glitter than the government.

A white officer, for example, described the maharajas as “horrible, disgusting and disgusting in appearance,” who, like a dancer, were “adorned with earrings and necklaces.”

The white officer also said, “Unlike white men, these maharajas are not masculine, but stupid people with feminine attributes.”

A deliberate attempt to discredit the Maharajas

These stereotypes about the Maharajas persisted for decades. In 1947, Life Magazine also reported that a Maharaja had an average of 11 addresses, three uniforms, 5.8 wives, 12.6 children, five palaces, 9.2 elephants and at least three Rolls-Royce vehicles. ‘
As well as being misleading, the figures were ridiculous because they comprised a total of 562 states, mostly small states, and had little political significance.

It was not right to equate the nearly 100 maharajas who ruled over millions of people with the very small landowners. This not only weakened his status but also made him a cartoon character in the eyes of the people.

However, the fact is that the royal territories covered 40% of the subcontinent and did not come under direct colonial control but were linked to the British Raj through various treaties, but not all the Rajas were as presented in the general picture. Was

Life magazine also mentioned in its report that it is more likely that the Maharaja of Cochin State was enjoying a book in Sanskrit instead of being in the lap of a slave girl, while the rulers of Gondal state were enjoying a training. He was a successful doctor.

The big states were not ruled by dictators who “considered themselves great” who were intoxicated with alcohol and sex, but by serious political figures who saw their states as legitimate political places.

Yes, but there is some truth in the allegations of lack of seriousness against the Maharajas. Like once a Maharaja saw a Scottish regiment and immediately dressed his soldiers in skirts while another Maharaja claimed that he was Louis XIV, the ruler of France who was reborn in the Punjabis.

By the way, such stupid stories have also been linked to the British rulers. For example, Lord Curzon, the Viceroy of India, was once found playing tennis naked.
The work of many rulers was magnificent
While researching for my new book, I found that many interesting stories were left behind due to the Maharajas’ image of ‘selfish fools’ and many such important stories were deliberately hidden.

Just as the prince of Mysore had elephants in southern India, but industries were also established during his reign.

A journalist has found out from research that a Maharaja in the western state of Baroda spent five dollars on every 55 of his subjects in the field of education, while the British rulers spent the same amount per thousand in the areas under their control. What happened to the people?
At the same time, Travancore, now Kerala, was called a “model state” because of the investment made in education and infrastructure.

In fact, these were the royal areas where the initial discussions on constitution-making in India began.

So why is it that whenever we talk about the princes and maharajas of India, we only talk about their harems, cars and sex scandals?

First of all, it was in favor of the British Raj to present themselves as serious teachers who were struggling to correct unserious children.

But acknowledging that wheat-colored men were not only capable of governing but could also defeat the British in many respects could in fact expose the so-called mission of the British Raj to teach ‘civilization’.

His relations with the British Raj were difficult
In fact, this story illustrates the importance of ‘delicacy and madness’ for governance.

Although the Maharaja was officially the ‘pillar of his empire’, in practice he always put his British rulers to the test.

The state of Baroda, for example, was a source of anti-British revolutionary literature, published under the innocent title of ‘Vegetable Medicine’.

The state of Mysore did not tolerate any news against its royal family in the local press, but the editors were allowed to criticize the British rule in a friendly manner.

The rulers of Jaipur provided vague and incomplete details of their accounts and hid the revenue of lakhs of rupees received in the public treasury to avoid making large donations.

In addition, many rulers also financially supported the Nationalist Congress Party in the war of independence. In fact, in 1920, Lord Curzon was convinced that there were many ‘Philip Gillets’ among Indian maharajas (a prince who supported the French Revolution) who had ‘full sympathy’ for nationalism.

You may now find it strange that princes were considered the real heroes in the freedom struggle.

The achievements of the great states were a source of pride for the nationalists, and things began to change in the 1930s and 1940s. In many areas, due to their success in expanding access to education, demands for democratic representation began to emerge, but after the British withdrawal from India, the violent and oppressive style of many Maharajas tarnished their vast legacy.

If history teaches a lesson, it is that everything that appears is much more complicated than that.

It is true that in stereotypes such as dancing girls and elephants, it is a fact that some of the Maharajas were pro-modern and shrewd politicians.

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