This is a miniature silver copy of the gold throne of Mysore. The state had been ruled by the Wodeyar dynasty almost continuously from the 14th century, but had been under British control since 1831. Charmaraja Wodeyar X presented the miniature throne to the Viceroy, Lord Lytton, as part of a diplomatic campaign to regain his kingdom. His initiative was successful and in 1881 Mysore was restored to the Maharaja.
Borrowing from the Mughal tradition of imperial display and authority, the British staged impressive durbars in the historic capital of Delhi. Photographic albums of Indian rulers were compiled to commemorate these events. This example shows that many of the most important rulers attending the Imperial Assemblage of 1877 were minors. Most of the images were taken in Bombay, Calcutta or Delhi when the rulers presented themselves to the Prince of Wales during his tour of the sub-continent in 1875–6.
At the Imperial Assemblage held in Delhi on 1 January 1877, Indian rulers paid homage to Queen Victoria and accepted her new title as Empress of India. Rulers were presented with banners or nishan (literally ‘symbol’), this example being given to Maharaja Jaswant Singh II of Marwar. It bears the kite motif and the motto of the Rathore Rajput clan incorporated into a European-style coat of arms. The Urdu text embroidered on the reverse translates as ‘From the grace of Victoria, Empress of India’.
This painting captures the grandeur of the Delhi Durbar of 1903, held to mark Edward VII’s ascent to the throne. The Viceroy, Lord Curzon, and his wife are shown leading an elephant procession through the heart of the city. They are followed by the Duke and Duchess of Connaught, representing the British royal family, and then by Indian rulers, headed by the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Maharaja of Mysore.
Crown rule in India, known as the Raj (literally ‘rule’), operated as a two-tier system. The British had direct control over three-fifths of the subcontinent, known as ‘British India’, and indirect control over the remaining territory. Although Indian rulers were guaranteed their borders and rights, the British continued to interfere in the day-to-day running of their states and to limit royal authority – most dramatically in deposing rulers they viewed as unsuitable.
The number of Indian princes – as rulers were now termed - grew enormously as the British bestowed titles on landowners and chieftains. A system of imperial orders was introduced to integrate Indian rulers into a western-style feudal hierarchy. The most important states were ranked within a system of gun salutes; Queen Victoria was entitled to 101 guns, the viceroy and members of the royal family to 31, while the princes had between 21 and 9 depending on their status.
राज (यथाशब्द ‘राज करना’) नामक भारत में क्राउन के राजत्व ने एक दो-श्रेणी वाली पद्धति को संचालित किया| उपमहाद्वीप के पाँच अंशों में से तीन अंशों पर अंग्रेजों का प्रत्यक्ष नियंत्रण था| इस क्षेत्र को ‘ब्रिटिश इंडिया’ कहते थे| बाकी के बचे हुए क्षेत्र पर उनका अप्रत्यक्ष नियंत्रण था| यद्यपि भारतीय शासकों को उनकी सीमाओं एवं अधिकारों की गारंटी दी गयी थी, फिर भी, उनके राष्ट्र के दैनंदिन संचालन के विषय में अंग्रेज हस्तक्षेप करते रहते थे| भारतीय शासकों के राजकीय अधिकारों को भी अंग्रेजों के द्वारा सीमित किया जाता था – सबसे प्रभावशाली रूप से जब वे उन शासकों को राजसिंहासन से हटा देते थे जो उनके अनुसार अयोग्य थे|
भारतीय रजवाड़ों की संख्या- जैसा कि शासकों को अब संबोधित किया जाता था – प्रचंड रूप से बढ़ गई क्योंकि अंग्रेज, जमीनदारों एवं मुखियाओं को पदवी प्रदान करते थे| शाही आदेशों की एक पद्धति आरंभ की गयी जिससे कि भारतीय शासकों को एक पश्चिमी-स्टाइल के सामंती वर्गीकरण में समाहित किया जा सके| सबसे महत्वपूर्ण राष्ट्रों को बन्दूक की सलामी के सिस्टम के अंतरगत पदस्थ किया जाता था – महारानी विक्टोरिया 101 बन्दूको की हकदार थीं, वाइसराय एवं शाही परिवार के सदस्यों को 31 बन्दूकों की सलामी मिलती थी| ओहदे के अनुसार राजकुमार 21 एवं 9 के बीच बन्दूकों की सलामी के हकदार थे|