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Princely States of British India - Card Game


British Crown of India On 20th February 1947, Clement Attlee, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom announced that the British government would grant full self-governance to British India by 30th June 1948 at the latest and that the future of the Princely States would be decided after the final date of transfer is decided. On 18th March, Attlee wrote to Lord Mountbatten, the Viceroy of British India, that he can start negotiations with the princely states of India and apprise them of the situation.
On 3rd June 1947, Lord Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas Mountbatten, then Viceroy of India announced a plan, commonly known as the Mountbatten Plan, which was made public through a press conference on 4th June. This plan became the foundation of the Indian Independence Act. The plan stated that:
  • 1 Principle of the partition of British India was accepted by the British Government
  • 2 Successor governments would be given dominion status
  • 3 autonomy and sovereignty to both countries
  • 4 can make their own constitution
  • 5 Princely States were given the right to either join Pakistan or India
  • 6 Provinces can become a separate nation other than Pakistan or India

Princely States Vs Salute States

The East India Company and later the Crown had signed a treaty with the kingdoms, that formed the South Asian subcontinent. Today, these kingdoms fall in different countries. In 1947, when the India office of the British Government closed its operation, there 584 Native States, or the Princely States that were having an active treaty with the British Government in India. Many of these were given Gun Salutes and hence called the Salute States. The kings of these kingdoms called "Princes" by the British were also awarded a knighthood and other honors. These princes, loyal to their British sovereign, can be recognized by their robe or mantle, which carried the star of India.

The Star of India & the Orders

The Star of India commonly refers to the group of flags used to represent the British Indian Empire. While the Union Jack of the United Kingdom remained the official state flag, the flag for Viceroy and the Armed Forces contained the Star of India symbol. Further, the Order of the Indian Empire and the Order of the Star of India were also established. Native Princes of India received titled like:
  • Knight Grand Commander of the Order of Star of India (GCSI)
  • Knight Commander of the Order of Star of India (KCSI)
  • Companion of the Order of Star of India (CSI)
  • Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire (GCIE)
  • Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire (KCIE)
  • Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire (CIE)

Gun Salutes

The British established a protocol, by which, to welcome a dignitary, a certain number of guns/cannons would be fired. These were called the Gun Salutes. For the Indian Empire, different Princes were assigned different Gun Salutes. Other than that, the following salutes were decided:
101 Gun Salutes - The Imperial Salute
  • The King Emperor of India
31 Gun Salutes - The Royal Salute
  • The Queen Empress and the Members of the Royal Family
  • The Viceroy and the Governor General of India
21 Gun Salutes
  • Heads of state
  • Foreign sovereigns and members of their families
  • 5 Indian Princes - The rulers of Baroda, Mysore, Gwalior, Hyderabad and Jammu & Kashmir
  • The Sultan of Oman, King of Afghanistan and the Shah king of Nepal
19 Gun Salutes
  • Heads of government
  • Governors-General
  • Governor-General of Portuguese India
  • Ambassadors
  • Commander-in-Chief of British India (holding the rank of Field Marshal)
  • Admirals of the Fleet, Field Marshals and Marshals of the Royal Air Force
  • His Holiness, the Dalai Lama of Tibet
  • 6 Indian Princes - The rulers of Bhopal, Indore, Udaipur, Kolhapur, Travancore and Kalat (now in Pakistan)
  • The Rana king of Lamjang & Kaski (Nepal), serving as Prime Ministers of Nepal
17 Gun Salutes
  • Governors of the Bombay, Madras and Bengal Presidencies
  • Governors of Indian Provinces
  • Governors of Colonies
  • Governor of French India
  • Envoys Extraordinary and Ministers Plenipotentiary
  • Commander-in-Chief of British India (holding the rank of General)
  • Admirals, Generals and Air Chief Marshals
  • 13 Indian Princes - The rulers of Kota, Bharatpur, Bikaner, Cutch, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Patiala, Bundi, Cochin, Karauli, Rewa, Tonk and Bahawalpur (now in Pakistan)
15 Gun Salutes
  • Lieutenant-Governors of Indian Provinces and of Colonies
  • Plenipotentiaries and Envoys
  • Ministers Resident
  • Commander-in-Chief, East Indies Fleet
  • Flag Officer Commanding Royal Indian Navy (rank of Vice-Admiral)
  • Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Air Forces in India (rank of Air Marshal)
  • Army Commanders with the rank of Lieutenant-General
  • Vice-Admirals, Lieutenant-Generals and Air Marshals
  • Kings of Bhutan and Sikkim
  • 16 Indian Princes - The rulers of Dholpur, Alwar, Banswara, Datia, Dewas Senior, Dewas Junior, Dhar, Dungarpur, Idar, Jaisalmer, Kishangarh, Orchha, Pratapgarh, Rampur, Sirohi and Khairpur (now in Pakistan)
13 Gun Salutes
  • Chief Commissioners of Indian Provinces
  • Residents (1st & 2nd Class)
  • Flag Officer Commanding Royal Indian Navy (rank of Rear-Admiral)
  • Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Air Forces in India (rank of Air Vice-Marshal)
  • Major Generals commanding Districts
  • Rear-Admirals, Major-Generals and Air Vice-Marshals
  • 16 Indian Princes - The rulers of Benares, Bhavnagar, Jind, Junagadh, Kapurthala, Nabha, Nawanagar, Ratlam, Cooch Behar, Dhrangadhra, Jaora, Jhalawar, Palanpur, Porbandar, Rajpipla and Tripura
11 Gun Salutes
  • Political Agents
  • Consuls-General
  • Charges d'Affaires
  • Resident Advisor at Makallah (local only)
  • Brigade Commanders (including Major-Generals if commanding a Brigade)
  • Commodores, Brigadiers and Air Commodores
  • His Highness the Aga Khan
  • 33 Indian Princes - The rulers of Janjira, Ajaigarh, Alirajpur, Baoni, Barwani, Bijawar, Cambay, Chamba, Charkhari, Chhatarpur, Faridkot, Gondal, Bilaspur, Jhabua, Kangra-Lambagraon, Maler Kotla, Mandi, Manipur, Morvi, Narsinghgarh, Panna, Pudukkottai, Radhanpur, Rajgarh (Madhya Pradesh), Rajgarh (Himachal Pradesh), Sailana, Samthar, Sirmur, Sitamau, Suket, Tehri Garhwal, Wankaner and Chitral (now in Pakistan)
9 Gun Salutes
  • Governor of Daman - Portuguese India
  • Governor of Diu - Portuguese India
  • 30 Indian Princes - The rulers of Baria, Dharampur, Sangli, Sawantwadi, Wadhwan, Balasinor, Banganapalle, Bansda, Baraundha, Bhor, Chhota Udaipur, Danta, Dhrol, Jawhar, Kalahandi (Karond), Khilchipur, Limbdi, Loharu, Lunavada, Maihar, Mayurbhanj, Mudhol, Nagod, Palitana, Patna, Rajkot, Sachin, Sant, Shahpura and Sonepur
  • 4 Saophas (kings) of Shan States of Burma - rulers of Kengtung, Hsipaw, Mong Nai and Yawnghwe
4 Gun Salutes
  • The Manyam Zamindars of Yanam - French India