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Archived article from the January 2001 issue of Princely States Report

Editorial Note
We sincerely thank Susanne and Lloyd Rudolph for giving PSR permission to reprint this fine piece. It has been nearly 35 years since the article was first published, and it remains one of the key statements on the relationship between British and Princely administration in the region that was to become Rajasthan. The article first appeared in the Journal of Modern History (a University of Chicago Press publication), volume 38, number 2, 1966. It was subsequently included in the authors' book Essays on Rajputana: Reflections on History, Culture and Administration, published in 1984 by Concept Publishing Company of New Delhi. The Rudolphs are Professors of Political Science at the University of Chicago.
- Ron Rice

Rajputana Under British Paramountcy
The Failure of Indirect Rule
- Susanne Hoeber Rudolph & Lloyd I. Rudoplh

When India became independent in 1947, nineteen princely states and three chiefships of Rajputana were amalgamated into a single political unit, Rajasthan, that became a state within the Indian union. The special form of indirect rule, paramountcy, which Britain exercised in the princely states had not prepared Rajputana for independence. Princely rule and legitimacy, based on birth, was abruptly replaced by parliamentary government and the authority of democracy. Institutional changes which had taken place in British India over more than one hundred years were brought into being in Rajasthan in less than five. This work was accomplished not by those who stood at the head of the old regime but by those who had opposed it from within and by the new men of the central government in Delhi.

Rajasthan succeeded states which, after the making of treaties with Britain in 1818, had lived under that ambiguous conception of sovereignty which deprived the princes of their foreign powers and left their domestic powers subject to certain supervision. The gentle breezes of change and British political influence modified Rajput monarchial and feudal institutions but did not replace or even fundamentally transform them. The princes and their administrators learned what makes a respectable modern state and began, often with British guidance to construct new institutions. Sometimes these were effective and meaningful; more often they had the insubstantiality of stage setting. The political community expanded very little, but newly aware groups did take shape and hover near its boundaries waiting to assert their claims. The gradual extension of the rule of law and a growing appreciation for modern administration began but did not complete the separation of the state and its public offices and finances from the private estate, retainers, and income of the prince. These changes contributed to a consciousness of political rights and liberties but failed to make them constitutional. Until the crises and traumas of 1947 revealed their hollowness and fragility, the traditional ideas and practices of legitimacy and rulership, which paramountcy was designed to protect from external and internal dangers, continued intact.

Vagueness concerning the limits of power is likely to be helpful to those who exercise it. The British Government studiously avoided precision in defining paramountcy, the exercise of power over princely states.1 Its meaning derived from a wide variety of treaties concluded with different princes and a system of case law and precedent whose interpretation lay with the paramount power. The Butler Commission concisely summarized the deliberate ambiguity of paramountcy in 1928 when, in response to a request from the princes to define the concept, it merely stated: "Paramountcy must remain paramount."2 Paramountcy implied that the governor-general of India would exercise power in the field of foreign affairs, defense, communications, and coinage on behalf of the princely states.3 It left the states internally autonomous while guaranteeing the rulers protection against enemies foreign and domestic. The guarantee against domestic enemies brought with it unsystematic intervention in domestic affairs to insure that there would not be too many of them. An agent or a resident drawn from the special administrative cadre known as the political service represented the governor-general in the state and exercised these powers.

The influence of the British on the states depended on the overall policy espoused by the governor-general and the respective qualities of the political agents and the princes.4 A hands-off policy toward the princely states followed the rebellion of 1857, which frightened the British government away from strong interventionism. This policy ended at the turn of the twentieth century when Lord Curzon began to impress the princes with their responsibilities. The example of Maharaja Ganga Singh of Bikaner, who in 1899 sharply protested against the political agent's desire to review the dismissal of two petty state officials, was not exceptional in the Curzon era. "Nothing is further from my mind [the agent wrote] than interference with your orders, and I trust there will never be any greater need than there is now for contemplating such interference. It is, however, the duty of every political agent to satisfy himself that the state with which he is, is well and justly governed, or how it is governed, and he can only do this by occasionally asking for reports on selected petitions."5 Lord Minto's easy-going policy eased the pressures for reform and intervention that Curzon had applied, but Lord Linlithgow's viceroyalty in the 1930's once again brought an emphasis on administrative modernization and reform, and hence greater intervention.6

The British exercised influence through numerous channels even in areas beyond the ordinary concerns of paramountcy. The crown drew to itself the right to recognize the successor to the gaddi (throne) of any state, and thus became involved in settling succession disputes. Since legitimate successors were often minors, and since during succession disputes unprotected minors sometimes expired prematurely, the crown took some responsibility for the minority administration. It appointed the regent, often making its selection within the state, sometimes sending in a member of the political service to conduct the administration. Minority rule provided the occasion for strong, often creative, intervention and laid the basis for subsequent influence.7 At the end of a twenty-year minority administration exercised on behalf of Maharaja Umed Singh of Kotah by the political agent to that state, he offered the following "advice" to the newly invested ruler: "Your Highness will in all important matters consult the political agent, be guided by his advice, and obtain his concurrence before introducing any important change in the measures carried out during your minority."8 Similar "advice" was given at Bikaner at the same time, although in later years the maharaja of that state became notoriously independent.9

The channels of British influence were both direct and indirect. The political agent advised in the matter of the prince's education. In the twentieth century especially, English tutors were often employed, unless the prince attended one of the princes' and nobles' schools established with Government of India blessings to transmit the more superficial trappings of English public school education.10 Less superficial traits, like the dutiful asceticism of ruling classes trained at Eton, Harrow, and Winchester were more difficult to transmit to heirs who arrived with retinues of ten servants.11 In the twenty years before independence, the larger states often appointed Englishmen from the political department as dewans (chief ministers) and ministers.12 In the latter years of the British Raj, when Indian members of the Indian civil service began to control provincial administration under the direction of Indian ministers in British India, a senior member of the political service observed: "The administration in so-called Indian India was sometimes more under the control of British officers than it was in British India."13

The emergence of nationalism in British India had a curious effect on both the British attitude toward the princes and on the princes themselves. To the extent that the princes were a bulwark of British power, particularly when it began to be challenged in British India, the Government of India was inclined to treat them generously. To the princes, generosity meant being left alone. Yet the need for internal improvements became more apparent as nationalism and reformist sentiment grew. Improvement meant interference.

The chamber of princes was established on a permanent basis in 1921,14 the year after Gandhi turned the nationalist movement in British India in a popular direction. The chamber provided a forum in which princes could protest against efforts by the government to intervene and hurry them along and a context in which they became more conscious of one another and of the requirements that accompanied being a "modern ruler". The chancellor of the chamber of princes in 1927 circulated a memorandum summing up some of the most significant reforms on which he hoped they might all agree; suggested reforms included limitation of the privy purse to 10 per cent of state revenues, an independent judiciary, security of tenure for state civil servants, a promulgated code of law, and the maintenance of an efficient and honest police force.15 The chamber began to create an environment in which good government became more fashionable. Princes vied with one another to secure the services of one of the four or five men who had built all-India reputations as able chief ministers in princely states.16 Paramountcy did, then, affect the structure and quality of government in the princely states. But the channels of British influence were too irregular and undefined to exploit consistently the available opportunities. Imperial policy, which varied with the outlook of the viceroy, his agents, and the developments in British India, never achieved the direction or firmness necessary to make it otherwise.

Caste, clan, land, and chivalric reputation had legitimized rulership in the old princely states ruled by Rajputs, members of the warrior-ruler caste (Kshatriyas). After conclusion of the subsidiary alliances in 1818,17 British recognition and support were required as well. The addition did little, however, to change explicitly the way most Rajastbanis understood the legitimacy of their maharajas or nobles; ascriptive factors justified the exercise of power in 1947 as they had done in 1818.

Yet the old ideas about what made government legitimate were subtly undermined during the period of paramountcy by a tentative new concern with effectiveness and consent. The example of events in British India and British pressures suggested that a prince justify his rule by performance. As Lord Curzon, who was wont to lecture the princes on this subject, put it: A ruler's "gaddi (throne) is not intended to be a divan of indulgence, but the stern seat of duty", and "by this test will he, in the long run, as a political institution, perish or survive."18 Princes were pressed to convert their courts into more "public" institutions and to orient their rule towards public rather than personal and familial benefits. The differentiation of the princes' privy purse from the public revenue, incomplete as it was in many states, and reports on administration that provided a rudimentary accounting of how government had discharged its task were the chief manifestations of this shift. The same influences affected the bureaucracy, which was urged to consider itself a public and professional service, not a body of private retainers.

The idea that greater public service would not only add luster to the name of the maharaja—that idea had already existed in pre-British days—but also become a condition of legitimate rule was by no means universally understood. Only a few, some of the new-style court bureaucrats and members of a tiny educated class, saw its relevance and import. But a good many maharajas, affected by their English tutors or schools, pressure from the political department, the communications spill-over from British India or far-seeing ministers, began to believe that they should serve as well as rule. Their consciousness of themselves as public men was affected by this idea even though they failed often to act on it. At the time of independence, the maharajas' feeble resistance to the challenge of democratic authority and leadership arose in part from an awareness of their failure to meet the new standards.

Traditional ideas of legitimacy were modified in another and more subtle respect. Ordinarily the maharaja sought not to offend and listened to the grievances and advice of the limited political community of the twice-born castes, the Brahmans, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas who could help or hinder him spiritually, militarily, and financially. Most Rajasthanis were politically irrelevant and thought that they should be. Before 1935, only a tiny circle of intellectuals and modern nationalists without status and power thought otherwise. After 1935, the potential political community, those seeking to share power in the state and to influence government, expanded. A handful of schoolmasters, lawyers, and journalists began to awaken the urban and rural common people by telling them that their interests and aspirations were relevant for government and that its authority should rest on their will. They made little progress; only after independence during the first general election of 1952 did Rajasthanis begin to perceive a connection between popular sovereignty and legitimacy.

If some maharajas accepted the notion that their right to rule depended in a measure upon performance and service, none conceded that it depended upon the support of organized public opinion. Some used means to consult public opinion, such as great annual durbars (royal public audiences), to inform themselves and their governments of public grievances and aspirations, but none entertained the notion of reigning rather than ruling by transforming the state into a democratic constitutional monarchy. Only toward the end of World War II, when the signs of the times pointed to the loss of British support and a more democratic future, did some princely states introduce elections based on limited franchise for legislatures to be dominated by an official or appointive majority.

The presence of the idea of democratic authority, though it lacked a large social base and effectively organized political support, weakened older beliefs and paved the way for its own ultimate realization. The strongest safeguard for any concept of legitimacy is for it to appear as natural; without rivals, its self-evidence stands unquestioned. The innocence of alternatives, which was traditional legitimacy's most powerful safeguard, was shattered by knowledge of the growing influence of organized public opinion in British India and its nascent expression within Rajasthan.

Prior to the British arrival, power in the Rajput states was shared by a territorial nobility and a maharaja, who was often their clan chief. The initial effect of British paramountcy in the nineteenth century not only sustained this diffusion of power but also undermined the attempts of some rulers to centralize power at the expense of their nobility.19 Sir Alfred Lyall in the late nineteenth century saw the nobles as a countervailing power of the kind that had created feudal liberties in the West.20 This belief persisted into the twentieth century when it was challenged but not replaced by a British policy of centralization designed to create financial viability and orderly and efficient administration. In the small states, the new policy was resisted by the maharajas since it involved partial if not total surrender of sovereignty, but in the larger states modest advances were achieved.

The pattern of decentralization in the nineteenth century had not been uniform. In Kotah, Dewan Zaiim Singh virtually replaced the maharaja and reduced the independent territorial power of the nobility by making them dependent on the crown.21 In Dholpur and Bharatpur, two eastern states of Rajasthan ruled by Jats rather than Rajputs, territorial nobility on the Rajput pattern never existed.22 Formally classified as a peasant caste, the Jats had a recent history of military prowess and local rulership. Their states were centralized in the negative sense that they lacked strongly articulated local power, but not in the positive one that they possessed a vigorous central government. The Rajput states confronted a dual task: to reduce the power of the nobility and to strengthen state government.

Maharaja Sawai Man Singh's efforts in Jaipur throughout the 1930's to strengthen his hand against his feudality illustrates one of the more successful attempts to reduce feudal power. It did not produce striking results. His effort to diminish the extensive financial, civil, police, and judicial powers of the state's great nobles in Shekhawati began in 1932 with his appointment of C.V. Wills, a British Indian official, to investigate the historical and legal relations between the maharaja and his nobles. The proceeding itself, utilizing Western legal concepts, departed from traditional methods. Wills' findings, perhaps not surprisingly, established that the nobles' claims to a separate and quasi-autonomous status had no legal or historical justification.23 Not until 1939, seven years after Wills began his labours, did the Jaipur durbar venture to assert the powers which his investigations had persuaded it that it could claim: to vary the assessments of the thikanas (nobles' estates) which, by remaining fixed, had rendered the state revenue inelastic; to treat the state as a single economic and commercial unit by extending its customs cordon to include the thikanas; to abolish residuary civil and criminal powers reserved by some thikanedars. Only in 1939, then, did Jaipur clearly claim the minimum fiscal and legal powers characteristic of a modern state.24 Having done so, the durbar announced that in practice it would insist on only some of them. The durbar was "graciously pleased," it announced, for example, "to order that the muamla (assessments) be declared to be permanently fixed at the existing figure in all cases,"25 foregoing, thereby, that enhancement of revenues so vital for substantial expansion of state functions.

The paramount power's responsibility for external security rendered the military forces of the states less significant, but they too reflected the diffusion of power. State forces were maintained to keep law and order and for ceremonial purposes and, from the 1890's, as imperial service troops to aid the Government of India in foreign wars.26 The thikanas kept armed retainers to satisfy their obligations to the maharaja and for their own purposes. Only in 1925 was the end of feudal military relations in Jaipur formally recognized. At that time the thikanedar's obligation to provide mounted and foot soldiers to the Jaipur durbar was commuted to cash.27 After this change some, nevertheless, continued to maintain military units. In 1937, the Jaipur durbar confronted the last gasp of feudal military power when its forces faced ten thousand armed retainers in Sikar, the state's largest thikana.28 Bikaner, more forward in this respect, faced its last significant challenge in 1905.29

It is possible that, but for British intervention, effective centralization might have gone further in such vigorous and forward-looking states as Bikaner and Jaipur. The political department tried, on the one hand, to encourage modernization and on the other, to prevent an efficient autocrat such as Bikaner or a gentler one such as Jaipur from running roughshod over his nobility. The two aims were incompatible. Effective centralization could not proceed without reducing or transforming the civil and judicial power of the nobles, as well as the immense economic power they exercised over their estates, which covered over half the territory of most Rajput states. Crucial to control of the jagir (nobles' grants) areas were settlement operations that would establish occupancy rights and revenue payments, and state intervention to enforce these and other relationships between peasants and nobles. But vigorous efforts to restrict and control the landed nobility, such as in Bikaner in the first decade of the century, Jaipur in the 1930's, and Jodhpur in the 1940's, invariably generated resistance and raised the possibility of the paramount power having to fulfil its pledge to protect rulers from internal rebellion.

The political department considered risking such difficulties. In 1942 it prepared to press for fair rent, occupancy rights, and records of rights in Rajasthan, especially in Jaipur. But the advice of officers familiar with the area persuaded the department that the proposal was too risky.30 The political department's desire to avoid the difficulties that economic or social or administrative changes entailed, especially when the Congress in British India was prepared to use such difficulties for its own purposes, was buttressed by a solicitude for the property rights of the nobility. The result was a policy of marginal and limited changes in land relations. On the other hand, without British supervision most Rajput princes would not have pressed for radical change. Efforts to amalgamate police, judicial, and certain administrative functions of some of the smaller Rajasthan principalities, for example, ran into resolute opposition from princes concerned to preserve their dynastic and territorial sovereignty and individuality.31 The political department considered centralization and greater administrative efficiency desirable but was not prepared to risk much on their behalf by forcing the princes or coercing the nobles.

Most states sought to rationalize government in such a way that central power could reach further as it became stronger. The establishment of specialized government departments with defined responsibilities and jurisdictions strengthened executive control. A letter by the twenty-one-year old Maharaja Ganga Singh of Bikaner illustrates the early efforts of an able Rajput ruler:

There is nothing laid down as to the limits of power which each Member [of Council] or the Dewan [chief minister] can exercise over the departments under their control. The result is that sometimes important things are decided and settled by officers above mentioned, whereas some trifling things are sometimes referred to the full Council or to me. In fact, owing to there being no rules everything is done in a haphazard way. There is also a general tendency to shirk responsibility as much as possible, and for everybody to try to have a finger in the pie whenever they have a good opportunity. The result is unsatisfactory and injurious to the interests of the state while much extra work is thrown on my shoulders.32

Ganga Singh eventually became the ablest Rajput ruler in the twentieth century, but he too opposed the development of regular procedures where they interfered with his personal rule. He saw that bureaucratization itself, even without responsible government, involves a restraint on power. For years he resisted appointing a permanent and responsible chief minister to direct the government even though he was often out of the country. Ganga Singh also resisted the establishment of competitive civil service recruitment. On the other hand, Bikaner state was divided into districts and subdistricts for purposes of revenue administration as early as 1872, strengthening crown control.33 Not until 1945, and then only for the crown lands, did Jaipur establish district officers responsible for revenue, law, and order and give them powers approximating those of British Indian officers.34

The competence of the bureaucracy in many states increased during the era of paramountcy. Academic qualifications, reflecting the growth of educational opportunities in the twentieth century, were added to those of caste and heredity, but since they were no guarantee of competence, the state administrative cadres remained something less than merit services. The qualifications, however, did represent a concession to recruitment by achievement rather than by ascription. The increasing emphasis on educational qualifications can be seen from a comparison of princely state officials recruited in the 1920's, 1930's and in 1940-47. Among 143 tahsildars, chief administrative officers for tahsils (subdivisions of a district), selected from princely state services for positions in the administration of post-independence Rajasthan, 10 per cent of those recruited in the 1920's, 56 per cent of those recruited in the 1930's, and 94 per cent of those recruited in the 1940's had B.A. degrees.35

Apparently no state recruited through competitive examinations before 1940, and none established security of tenure.36 In 1941 Udaipur established a formal civil service, recruited competitively; Jodhpur began competitive recruitment in 1942, Jaipur in 1943 (judicial) and 1944 (civil), but Bikaner never did.37 Thus, while professional competence was more highly valued, the states did not, until World War II, give bureaucrats the job security nor insist on the merit which might have strengthened them against accepting irregular subventions from below or currying favour above. Taken as a whole, the princely state civil servants selected for the post-independence services of Rajasthan showed the marks of patrimonial service and court relations in their manners and style.

These years also saw the growth of new ideas of financial and administrative accountability. Their realization, however limited, played a significant part in the conversion of princely rule from private and familial estate management to rule directed toward public concerns and benefits. The demand that princes give some public account of their administration first came from the paramount power toward the end of the nineteenth century. In response, the states began to issue annual reports on public administration which gave abbreviated statements of the fiscal situation of the state and of programmes and policies. They provided even less enlightenment than the dullest British Indian provincial reports. But the need to publish a rudimentary budget encouraged the modern-minded maharajas to differentiate their privy purses from public funds. This led in turn to a sense that purses should have a known and regular relationship to state revenue. In time, 10 per cent came to be considered the correct proportion. This limit was not always observed. Thus Kotah, in 1935-36, allocated 16 per cent of state revenues to palace expenses, and Bikaner allocated about 17 per cent in 1935-36.38 States often conveyed the impression in annual reports that they observed the 10 per cent limit when they did not, hiding major palace construction in the figures for the public works department. In 1937-38 Jaipur reported a Rs. 1,428,255 palace expenditure but did not choose to report how much of the Rs. 1,586,649 public works department figure had gone to the splendid Jaipur House then being built in Delhi, or the George V Solarium, also under construction.39 (One wonders to what extent princes protected themselves against criticism from the political agent by naming some extravaganza "Prince of Wales Hall.") The reports did not circulate widely but did provide the basis for some public scrutiny. Spokesmen for the sporadic democratic movements in the states liked to point out that the maharaja of a million people ought not, perhaps (as in Bikaner), receive a privy purse of approximately $450,000 when his state spent only about $50,000 for education.40

Princes gave such accountings as they did because they were anxious to win approval of the political department. A "red tick" put opposite their names by the political agent was thought to be most undesirable. The remarks by the viceroy, Lord Irwin, addressed to the maharaja of Jaipur at the maharaja's formal assumption of office in 1932 indicate the steps taken by the Government of India to insure a ruler's concern with administrative performance, and also illustrate the benignly paternal atmosphere from which that concern took its meaning.

For the last six months you have been receiving administrative training in your own State under the personal supervision of Mr. Glancy. In that time, short though it is, you have had an opportunity of studying the working of all principal State departments, have regularly attended the meetings of the Council and have made several tours of inspection in more distant portions of the State. It is a great pleasure to have received from Mr. Glancy such favourable reports of quick understanding displayed by your Highness of State affairs and of your appreciation of duties of your high position.41

The more educated princes were also eager to win respect in the world of modern-minded maharajas. Enough of the twentieth-century rulers had been abroad or had received a cosmopolitan education to know what was expected of a modern state and to develop some aspirations to build one. Democratic movements, made up of individuals whom the princes considered inferior or declassé, were probably least influential among those to whom the maharajas felt accountable.

All of these reforms, from the known and limited privy purse to departmental reorganization, while they did introduce elements of rationalization and reduce the scope of personal government, were more formal than substantive. If an annual report bore witness that the appurtenances of contemporary administrative practice had been achieved, they also contained more aspirations than accomplishments. The larger states did more than the smaller, and of the larger, Bikaner, Jaipur, and possibly Jodhpur progressed farther than traditional-minded Udaipur. The quaint accounts of visiting political agents and the quainter language of the administrative reports sometimes give a more reliable impression than the administrative reports' facts. In Udaipur, for example, according to Sir Arthur Lothian who had occasion to know it well as resident, the attempt to maintain personal rule in the literal sense continued to recent times. His account of the maharana of Udaipur, who died in 1930, illustrates how thin a veneer reforms could be:

I have never seen a finer or more dignified countenance than that of the old Maharana. Kindliness and nobility were written all over it. He was the quintessence of courtesy, and an excellent Ruler, according to his lights. He, old-fashioned however, attempted to control the administration of his big state in every detail himself, which under modern conditions was beyond the capacity of any human being. Although, therefore, he wore himself out with his constant labours, the arrears became so great that the administration got hopelessly clogged. . . . One instance of the arrears into which things had fallen came to my personal knowledge. The return of prisoners in the State Jail happened to be shown to me one day, and I noticed that two men had been confined in jail under sentence of death for twelve years. On enquiry into what had happened, it transpired that the death sentences, which required the Ruler's confirmation, had been sent to the late Maharaja twelve years before for this purpose, but had got mislaid somewhere amid the masses of papers awaiting his attention, and the prisoners were, therefore, kept on indefinitely as if they had been under trial. In the outcome this redounded to their advantage as they were sentenced to twenty years rigorous imprisonment in lieu of the death penalty and the years they had already served in jail were deducted from this.42

Changes in the relationships between princes and noblemen, the degree of public accountability, and administrative and financial reforms were paralleled by movements to expand the political community, to make government popularly accountable, and to secure the rights of subjects through settled legal and administrative procedures. The Rajputana states had insulated themselves with remarkable success from the social and intellectual ferment that affected British India in the mid-nineteenth century. What is sometimes (and curiously) referred to as the Indian "renaissance," that mixture of English liberal and Indian nationalist ideas which captured the consciousness of the burgeoning professional and business middle classes, affected Rajasthan hardly at all. Nor did changes in the economy, communications, and education touch it substantially. Control of the press and bad communications conspired to prevent the excellent British Indian papers from circulating regularly in Rajasthan. Jai Narayan Vyas, later chief minister in post-independence Rajasthan, had to print nationalist literature in Ajmer, a British Indian enclave set in the midst of the Rajasthan states, and to smuggle it out.43 Some of the princely states insisted that not merely presses but even typewriters be registered. Education lagged, and so did the emergence of a modern economy and modern middle classes. Urbanization was insignificant. Political associations were few and usually ephemeral and severely restricted.

The feebleness of modern associational life until the mid-1930's was in part due to the lack of interest or the timidity of subjects. Also responsible was the Indian National Congress decision, taken in 1920 when it laid plans for the mass organization of nationalism,44 not to include the princely states. In its Nagpur Constitution of 1920, Congress assigned responsibility for particular princely states to established provincial Congress committees.45 Political activists from the princely states could belong to the nearby provincial committees, but Congress failed to take the same interest in their activities as it did in those of British India. Both practical and ideological considerations shaped this policy of self-restraint. Many members feared, Patabhi Sitaramayya wrote, "Congress [would] be embroiling itself with the local vagaries and idiosyncracies of a variety of states, 562 in number, a task obviously beyond the pale of the practical politics of Congress."46 Gandhi went further: "That part of India which is described as British has no more power to shape the policy of the states than it has (say) that of Afghanistan or Ceylon,"47His views were representative of the conservative wing of Congress.48 To its adherents foreign autocracy was more reprehensible, apparently, than was indigenous autocracy. The Congress Left, including Nehru, opposed "this hush-hush policy [of non-interference] . . . adhered to by [Gandhi] in spite of the most extraordinary and painful occurrences in the States."49 Nehru pictured Gandhi's views as most welcome to the rulers.50

Gandhi's attitude toward Indian princes, under whom his father and grand-father had served as chief ministers, was indeed positive. Their benign autocracy did not disturb him, although specific abuses might. If (for certain purposes and in certain contexts) he supported democracy, he never fully committed himself to the principles of popular or representative government over those of responsive autocracy. In line with important aspects of Indian traditional thought, which looks to inner virtue rather than institutional restraints as the guarantor of public morality, Gandhi was more concerned in the 1920s with the personal debauchery of princes, where it existed, than with their failure to grant political liberty:

My ideal of Indian states is that of Rama Rajya [the rule of the epic hero Rama] ... By abandoning his kingdom and living in the forest for the sake of truth Rama gave to all kings of the world an object lesson in noble conduct. By his strict monogamy he showed that life of perfect self-restraint could be led by a royal householder. He lent splendour to his throne by his popular administration and proved that Rama Rajya was the acme of swaraj [self-rule]. Rama did not need the very imperfect modern instrument of ascertaining public opinion by counting votes. He had captivated the hearts of the people. He knew public opinion by intuition, as it were. . . Such Rama Rajya is possible even today. 51

Although the All-India States Peoples Conference was formed by prominent Congressmen in 1927, and thereafter acted as a kind of sister organization to Congress, it was hardly militant in its early years. Some of its leaders, moderates in Indian politics like C.Y. Chintamani and Ram Chandra Rao, former chief minister of Mysore, were not involved with the more radical nationalist movement and steered the conference conservatively. Only in the later 1930's under the leadership ofPattabhi Sitaramayya and eventually Nehru, did the States Peoples Conference take a more militant turn. At the same time, both Gandhi and Congress shifted to a more active interventionism. They did so partly because pressure by popular movements in some non-Rajput princely states, notably Mysore, forced them to. As Sardar Patel, the Congress's great organizing talent, put it: "The policy of non-intervention by the Congress was, in my opinion, a perfect piece of statesmanship when the people of the States were not awakened. That policy would be cowardice when there is all-round awakening among the people of the States."52 Congress also changed its policy following the passage of the Government of India Act of 1935 because the prospect of a federal government under it, including representatives from the princely states, spurred Congress on. So long as government in the princely states was autocratic, the princely states' delegations could be counted upon to be nominees of the princes, who in turn could be expected to support conservative and anti-nationalist policies in the federal legislature. Faced with a coalition of princely state representatives and other non-Congress elements. Congress could expect to be a minority. By devoting more attention to the movement for freedom in the princely states. Congress hoped to soften or neutralize if not capture their representatives. In the event, the princely states could not make up their minds to join the federation, and a federal legislature never met. Before this result became apparent, however, the prospect of it so doing affected associational life and political consciousness in the princely states.

The policy of the Congress began to shift in 1936, and the Haripura session in 1938 sanctioned the organization of Congress committees in princely states provided they undertook neither parliamentary activity nor direct action in Congress's name.53 By 1939, Gandhi personally backed the States Peoples Freedom Movement, as it became known, to the extent of reviewing and guiding all the activities of the Jaipur Praja Mandal (Jaipur People's Society), the popular movement's organization in that state. He was drawn into its activities by his close friend and disciple, a wealthy Rajasthan businessman, long-time Congressman, and treasurer of the Indian National Congress, Jamnalal Bajaj. Bajaj, as president of the Jaipur Praja Mandal, was refused entry to the state, and the Mandal was forbidden to bold public meetings and proceedings. Bajaj and his followers offered civil resistance and were sent to jail.54 One brief letter exchange illustrates Gandhi's close but conservative interest in Jaipur affairs. Bajaj wrote to Gandhi on January 29, 1940: "I showed you the letter I received from the Home Minister of Jaipur. I enclose a draft of the reply I propose to send him. You will kindly return it to me with the necessary corrections." Gandhi replied: "Your draft is not properly worded. Your complaint is directed against the Maharaja. I don't consider it advisable to bring him in."55

Most of the larger princely states had active movements toward the end of the 1930's, though some had them much earlier.56 The movements were led mostly, though not exclusively, by Brahman and Kayasth (caste of scribes) schoolmasters, such as Hiralal Shastri in Jaipur, Haribhau Upadhyaya in Ajmer, Bhogilal Pandya in Dungarpur, Manikyalal Verma in Udaipur, and Master Bhola Nath in Alwar, and by the new profession of lawyers, generally also Brahman or Kayasth,57 and were supported by some members of the merchant castes.58 That the literate castes should have been leaders in the movement is not surprising, since their literacy made available to them currents of thought other than those generally accepted in Rajasthan. On the other hand, it is not self-evident that their leadership should have been directed toward social and political change. One of the most fascinating features of Indian political and social development has been the role of the Brahmans, guardians per excellence of tradition and the sacred order, as the bearers of the new political and social ideas. The vicarious authority which Brahmans and members of the other twice-born castes lent to innovation may help explain the relative ease with which India has taken to social and political change over the past 150 years.

Most of the prominent members of the literate castes in Rajasthan were attached to the bureaucracies of the princely states, or dependent on the court for trade and other patronage.. But those who led the freedom movement had, almost without exception, some independent occupational base: as school-masters and lawyers they were not directly dependent on court patronage. If they were dependent, like Shastri (office superintendent under Finance Member Atal in Jaipur State) they left their posts before becoming active in the Praja Mandal. For the most part they were city men; the peasant castes and rural people were scarcely represented.

Members of the merchant castes were active in the freedom movement, especially in Jodhpur. Jamnalal Bajaj, one of Gandhi's most important financial supporters, was an important figure in Jaipur State as well as on the national scene. Gandhi's efforts to organize and encourage non-political social service organizations and through them his campaigns to prevent the sale or consumption of alcoholic drinks and even to aid untouchables appealed to the merchant castes, already attached by religion and custom to teetotalism and nonviolence. In the mid-1930's members of merchant castes were particularly prominent as officers of the Harijan Sevak Sangh (Service Society for Untouchables).59 Formally apolitical, it had strong reformist over-tones and was explicitly connected to Gandhi's programme.

Some of those who joined the freedom movement did so because of their mobile sensibilities,60 their capacity to imagine themselves and others under circumstances other than those which the traditional society prescribed; some joined because they had fallen from favour; some because a rebellious disposition made them unable and unwilling to "succeed" under the conditions of courtierly behaviour required in a princely state. Even Rajasthanis who did not join the nationalist movement speak with bitterness of remembered humiliation, of being made to "feel small" in the presence of ministers, of not being offered a seat by those in authority, or of being required to express themselves in ways they foqnd degrading. Some joined because they were idealists prepared to take risks. The Gandhian appeal made sense to these men because it did not demand the martial style which was incompatible with their non-Kshatriya aversion to violence. Instead, it proposed self-suffering of a kind long familiar to Brahmans, whose ancestors had fasted or immolated themselves in response to unjust exactions. It appealed to the instincts for pedagogy of the traditionally literate castes now in the roles of schoolmasters or lawyers, who were asked to carry their Gandhian and nationalist teachings to rural people, bringing the message of moral and material conditions as they were elsewhere and might be here too.61 Still others, having been educated in British India, found the political climate in Rajputana incompatible with what they had learned.

The earliest activities of the freedom movement are difficult to isolate and identify. A variety of local issues just after World War I and, subsequently, during Gandhi's first civil disobedience campaign, took on added meaning from national events and concerns. In 1918, Manikyalal Verma and Vijay Singh Pathik organized a peasant satyagraha (non-violent resistance campaign) against forced labour at Bijolia, Udaipur. Verma's arrests in 1918 and 192262 vaguely united the political consciousness arising out of protests over local grievances with that of the larger nationalist movement. The Marwar Hitkarni Sabha (Marwar Improvement Society) formed in the early 1920's in Jodhpur State by Jai Narayan Vyas and other Jodhpuri political activists, aimed at freeing the state from the rule of "aliens": a chief minister and other non-Jodhpuri officials both Indian and English. Its motto was "Marwar [Jodhpur] for the Marwaris" and its design to protect local interests from the effects of administrative reform.63 The maharaja, happy to free himself from the implicit restraints which outsiders represented, gave the Sabha his blessing, while Vyas saw his role in it as his first contribution to the freedom movement. Such political ambiguity was not unique to Jodhpur.

In the "Sikar rebellion" of 1937, the backward looking Rao Raja of the largest estate in Jaipur asserted the claims of feudal liberty against those of centralizing absolutism in resisting the maharaja's British-officered armed forces. In this struggle between prince and feudal aristocrat, the middle-class Jaipur Praja Mandal to a degree backed the claims of Sikar in an effort to advance the fortunes of representative government and public liberties.64 At the same time, the maharaja was inclined to be more sympathetic to the Praja Mandal under the Jaipuri leadership of Bajaj than was his government under the direction of a British chief minister.65 Freedom movements affected by local patriotism and susceptible to palace influence were sometimes useful in dealing with pressures for administrative reform from the political department and a maharaja's own government.

Freedom organizations of a clearly anti-princely cast, however, faced grave obstacles. Jai Narayan Vyas, whose first organization, the Hitkarni Sabha, was banned in 1924,66 became adept at shaping new ones as those he created were outlawed. He formed in quick succession the Jodhpur Praja Mandal, the Youth League, and the Marwar Lok Parishad. Whenever Vyas had trouble in his home state of Jodhpur, or was ordered out of other states in the areas,67 he guided his movements from Ajmer, the British enclave in the middle of Rajasthan, or from Bombay. Ajmer played an important role throughout the nationalist years since British administration made it a haven for agitators expelled from the princely states. In 1921 and again in 1930-32, the civil disobedience movement of British India found its counterparts there.

The less political Rajasthan Sevak Sangh, a Gandhian non-political service organization, fared better, although its leaders sometimes engaged in political activities. It began at Ajmer in the late 1920's and even employed paid workers in some states.68 Early activities in Bikaner, Kotah, and other states coincided with the civil disobedience movement of 1931-32 in British India. In Kotah, the Haravati Praja Mandal imitated the British-Indian agitation by picketing liquor and foreign-cloth shops in 1931 and 1932.69 But even these associations tended to lead precarious lives since most states disapproved of any association which, in the words of the Bikaner Public Safety Act of 1932, was "likely to create disaffection against the Maharaja or his government."70 Assembly, publication, and speech were more restricted than in British India. But the pattern of restriction varied: Kotah reports meetings of up to three hundred persons in 1937-38, not insignificant for a small (population 700,000) state, and successive meetings through at least 1941 favouring responsible government, federation of princely and British India, compulsory education, and temperance.71 In Bharatpur, the Praja Mandal sought "to secure responsible government under the aegis of His Highness the Maharaja." When it attempted to organize a campaign to withhold payment of land revenue from the state, the Mandal was declared unlawful in April 1937. Four hundred and seventy-three individuals were detained in connection with the campaign and 212 were arrested-again, not a small agitation in a state containing only 500,000 people.72 Jaipur and Jodhpur alternately forbade and permitted Praja Mandals and Lok Parishads to function. In Jodhpur in 1937, the Civil Liberties Union and the Praja Mandal were declared unlawful and their president, A.P. Sharma, arrested.73 Since Seth Jamnalal Bajaj, the Jaipur leader, was a man of national stature and treasurer of the Indian National Congress, the Jaipur durbar was in constant embarrassment regarding methods of dealing with him, but eventually admitted both him and the Praja Mandal to public activity. In Bikaner, the Public Safety Act of 1932 acted as a strong deterrent. Udaipur banned the Praja Mandal in 1938, as soon as it was founded, and expelled its founder.74 Sirohi and Alwar also had active movements, while Dungarpur and Banswara had developed a tiny but impressive service organization working in a Gandhian spirit among the Bhil tribes.

The life of the "old nationalists" was not always easy, Manikyalal Verma came out of the non-violent resistance movement at Bijolia badly beaten, as did Gokulbhai Bhatt out of a Sirohi meeting in 1939.75 Mrs. Verma was imprisoned for two years in 1934.76 Narottamlal Joshi, later speaker of the Rajasthan legislature,77 was beaten twice on the same day by Rajput landholders of small estates for the effrontery of campaigning for political freedom and tenant rights in Jaipur's first election in 1945. He was attacked near a police station, the occupants of which remained inactive throughout the assault, and believes he escaped death only because his assailants stuck at Brahman killing. Unable to walk, he was tied to a camel and abandoned in a forest.78

The attempt to win responsible government did not succeed. In 1913 Maharaja Ganga Singh established what he liked to call the "Bikaner Representative Assembly." The organization had the power to pass bills. In reality, however, it provided no forum for criticism, much less for the exercise of power by representatives independen t of the crown, since the assembly was dominated by a majority nominated by the maharaja, and the climate of the institution was courtierly and placating. "I have nothing special to mention in connection with the budget," a representative said in speaking in the budget debate, "except that this year's budget is an occasion of great delight for us as it contains a provision for the estimated expenditure of the celebration of His Highness Sri Maharaj Kumarji Sahib's auspicious marriage, which auspicious marriage celebration has come after many years, and it would be an occasion of great delight for every loyal subject of the state."79 The budget had been delivered to members on the day previous to the debate, and it passed in a few hours. The assembly met for three days in the year.80 Similar bodies were introduced in Jaipur and Jodhpur in the 1940's, but until after the war their powers were insignificant. The Jaipur assembly saw a budget for the first time in 1946.81 After the war, as independence rushed ominously closer and democracy began to loom as a real possibility, most of the states moved swiftly toward popular governments, which were soon superseded by the amalgamation of Rajasthan's twenty-two princely states into one.

In British India, the political associations and representative institutions of the nationalist era served as an important recruiting ground for post-independence political leadership. In Rajasthan this function was indifferently performed. The experience which British Indian Congressmen developed in the Swarajist days of the 1920's when they joined legislatures, or in the short-lived provincial governments of the 1930's, or in district boards and municipalities was missing altogether in Rajasthan, where there were no meaningful representative institutions, unless a few municipalities deserve the title. And the Praja Mandals too were inadequate training grounds for later state politics. The small movements required devotion and idealism, but they did not develop new organizational and administrative skills on the part of their leaders. Because they were personal, comradely organizations, each coinciding with a princely state, they resembled the small state governments in that no high professional competence was required to manage them. The British Indian political movements, because they covered large linguistic areas, developed in their leaders a capacity to build rational and effective political structures, to co-ordinate diverse political interests, and to formulate and communicate policies. The Rajasthan political organizations, because they were very small operations, developed few qualities that would equip their alumni in later years to take over the large-scale unified government of the twenty-two states of Rajasthan. In fact, this early political experience may even have disqualified them for their later tasks. They carried the narrow horizons of parochial princely states into the politics of the larger state, failing to shift easily to the more abstract general perspectives required in the new circumstances. Many remained small-town politicians when faced with the responsibility of governing fifteen million people in new Rajasthan. Yet, when independence came and the old order was superseded, they were the only ones available for the new politics.

Apart from the freedom associations, Rajasthanis did not form voluntary organizations of the kind that grew in British India and structured its emerging middle classes' turn to politics. The Rajasthan middle classes, such as they were, developed few modern institutional channels for action. The universities, the chambers of commerce, the bar, and a host of social, literary, cultural, and political associations had given focus to the organized interests of British Indians in the days before a mass movement gave new strength to nationalism. Higher education in the princely states was feeble and dependent on the maharaja. The bar was weakly developed since much legal practice rested with the traditionally trained vakils (pleaders), and a modern legal profession had still to emerge. The merchantry was organized in caste associations, but not into any association cutting across caste on the basis of economic or civil interests.82 Such associations as existed were mostly natural groups congruent with the old society and polity and felt no special reason to upset them. Thus, in 1912, at the silver jubilee of the maharaja of Bikaner, addresses were offered by the following groups: officials of the government, Maheshwari Sahukars (a merchant caste), Oswals (a merchant caste), Brahmans, Pushkarna Brahmans, Jain Swetamber Yatis (Jain holy men), Mohammedans, Sikhs, the Nagri Society, two secondary educational institutions, and the bar association.83 They made no political demands, restricting themselves to requesting traditional favours, such as the maharaja's intervention in a serious caste dispute among the merchants or support for some new building or educational enterprise.

Neither the old corporate groups nor the new political associations explicitly demanded expansion of the political community, although that was sometimes a long-range objective. The cry for responsible government amounted rather to a demand for institutions that would make effective the influence of those who already had some claim to be de facto, though not de jure, part of the political community-the literate, the twice-born. For the most part, the Brahmans and Vaishyas (merchant castes) and Kayasths in the Congress appealed to others like themselves. But there were exceptions. In a few areas, for example in Jodhpur and Jaipur in the early 1940's, members of the peasant caste ofJats began to develop political consciousness, and elsewhere Congressmen who took seriously Gandhi's guidance went to the rural areas to preach social reform if not political participation.

The 1930's, however, brought one additional sign that the times were changing and that new groups were emerging at the edge of the political community. Census reports as far back as 1891, and other official records of much earlier vintage, record that in the British Indian provinces certain lower and middle castes were beginning to organize themselves to press courts, temples, and administrative bodies for recognition of rights, privileges, and higher status than tradition assigned them. These efforts foreshadowed attacks on the traditional order of castes.84 The censuses of Rajasthan in the twentieth century, on the other hand, reported very few developments of this sort before 1930. In 1911, a Kayasth group tried to list itself as Brahman, as did the Bhargavas (another caste). Some individual members of castes made up of illegitimate descendants of Rajputs tried to have themselves listed as Rajputs. But the efforts were sporadic and apparently involved very few people.85

The main agricultural caste in Rajasthan is the Jats: they comprise the largest single caste in the state (9 per cent), and were, in the 1930's and even earlier, the most self-conscious and prosperous among the peasant castes. In 1935 their claims to certain privileges led to a series of clashes between them and the Rajputs, who resisted their attempts to revise accepted signs of status. The clash of 1935 is reminiscent of similar ones in other areas between lower castes on the rise and higher established castes.86

The Jat demonstrations broke out in Sikar, the largest thikana in Jaipur State, and involved both economic and social issues. The Jats in the area had formed two associations, the Sikarwati Jat Panchayat and the Jat Kisan Sabha, and had received some help and encouragement from the British Indian province of Uttar Pradesh. Some of these "outsiders" were organizers for the socialist-oriented Kisan Sabha which attempted to mobilize the peasantry in the 1930's in response to radical pressures in the Congress.

The initial demonstration in Khuri village on March 27, 1935, was occasioned by a social issue, whether a Jat bridegroom should be allowed to ride to his bride's house on a horse, a ceremonial act asserting higher station than Rajputs were prepared to concede. The Rajputs objected, the Jats insisted, fighting broke out, and an old Jat was killed. The incident led to further clashes, and the thikana police, the Sikar Lancers, under command of the English chief of the Sikar police, charged the Jat crowds with lathis (quarter-staffs), injuring many. This incident was followed by others as Jats in the area protested against the revenue collections and resisted and attacked Sikar revenue officials on April 22 at Bhaironpura and at Kudan village on April 25. The Sikar police killed four Jats while putting down this last demonstration and arrested 104 persons. The anti-rent agitation eventually involved some twenty-one villages, and local headmen were as active as any outsiders. A school where, according to the Jaipur durbar, unlawful doctrines were being preached by a Jat teacher from outside the state, was knocked down. The agitation had some effects. The Rao Raja of Sikar remitted all arrears of revenue previous to 1934 and promised to open schools, provide loans where needed, and embark on a permanent land settlement that would introduce some certainty into the vagaries of the thikana's revenue demand.87

There was some evidence that the more advanced peasantry were beginning to insist on some regulation of their land rights. Beginning as early as 1872 in Alwar, most states undertook survey and settlement operations in khalsa (crown lands), that is, they prepared records of rights and established regular revenue demands. In the judgment of an inquiry committee of high civil servants from British Irdia that reported on tenant rights at the time of independence, "the tenant (of khalsa) has his rights defined and secured, and there is, on the whole, little cause for him to complain."88 But in the jagir (nobles' estates) lands, which made up a substantial part of most states (about half), records were rarely kept, collection procedures remained arbitrary, and peasants had no protection. Only 32 per cent of the 16,7 80 jagir villages in all of Rajasthan had been settled (their revenue obligations officially specified and limited) by 1947.89 A number of durbars tried to press settlement, but their efforts were strongly resisted by the jagirdars. No one doubted that tenants had customary rights, including in many cases rights of inheritance, mortgage, and fixed rents. But so long as these rights were not established by enforcible laws and administrative procedures, they were subject to the jagirdars discretion; the nobles rightly regarded settlement as a diminution of his own powers. But it was a limitation that would in turn have conferred upon tenants rights most fundamental in a peasant society-rights in land.

Most durbars did not undertake jagir settlement before the 1930's and 1940's. Such operations as were undertaken in jagir lands proved dangerous, especially in small holdings where the landlord and tenant were not very far apart economically. In 1937, the Jaipur durbar pressed settlement in Udaipurwati, an area adjoining Sikar, where the Jat agitation had taken place, only to see its revenue officials chased out by irate small jagirdars.90 In 1947, the Jaipur durbar passed enabling legislation for laying down rules concerning rights in land and for establishing procedures and principles fixing land rent in jagir areas,91 a clear indication that the 1937 effort had not advanced far.

Legal procedures were regulated, at least as far as the maharaja's hand reached, by taking over British Indian legal codes with only minor alterations and by establishing courts at various levels to administer that law. A graduated court system with defined jurisdiction existed at Jhalawar and Jaipur in the 1870's, and written codes were taken over, at least formally,. in most states by 1910-20. These changes marked an advance toward promulgated law which could be anticipated. It is difficult to say just how meaningful the adoption of the codes and the creation of courts was.92 Most states were reluctant to have defendants bring in lawyers from British India to argue before these tribunals, a policy which may have been due to a feeling that the local system would not stand scrutiny, or to provincial fears that the local judiciary might be made to look foolish by "slick" Bombay barristers, or both. In any case, the new law impinged less than in British India on the local, pluralistic caste and customary law, a circumstance that may have been congenial to Rajasthanis but that illustrates the restricted development of the legal power of the state.

The new conceptions of government were compelling enough to teach some maharajas how a respectable ruler conducts himself. Responsibility to the public welfare and effective performance were added to birth in judging the legitimacy of rule. Public reports of government action implied that princely expenditure amounted to a public budget, not merely a private household account, and thus favoured the differentiation of the public and private roles of the prince. They also implied that the prince in his public capacity was accountable to someone other than himself. Associations developed enough to introduce, at least in the minds of the literate, ideas of representation and consent and to undermine the self-evident quality of princely rule. Advances in administration, particularly fixing of the revenue demand, introduced the principle that government action ought to follow certain rules. The prince often consulted his fellow princes, or the political department, or his now more modern conscience. But his new sense of public responsibility, of effective performance, and regular procedures fell short of establishing a modern state or constitutional rule in Rajasthan.

The emergence of a modern state, the revision of traditional notions of legitimacy, and the growth of popular politics progressed too slowly under paramountey to be of any real help to Rajasthan when it became part of India. The attempts to centralize authority and regularize administration did not carry very far and were often more formal than substantive. Compared to British India, the development of associational life in Rajputana was slight. No real concessions were made to political participation and institutional restraints on autocratic power. Important changes did occur, but, without roots in society and consciousness, they lacked substance.

Notes & References

We are grateful to Ihe Ford Foundation for its grant under the Foreign Area Training Programme, which allowed us to visit Rajasthan in 1956-57. The library of the University of Rajasthan has holdings of the administrative reports of the princely states that make up Rajasthan, holdings that were taken over from the Residency at Mount Abu. Runs of these reports are partial and incomplete. We took advantage of our stay to record the recollections of a substantial number of persons who participated in the States Peoples Freedom Movement and in the social transformation of the last forty years. These have been cited as sources at the appropriate points. Since communications media in the princely states were sparse, these sources are more significant than they would be in British India.

The character of pre-British Rajasthan is described in James Tod, Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, or, the Central and Eastern Rajput States of India (2 vols. in 1; London, 1950). Our citations are from this edition. William Crooke's annotated edition in three volumes (London, 1920) corrects some of Tod's findings. Daniel Thorner's essay, "Feudalism in India," in Rushton Coulborn (ed.). Feudalism in History (Princeton, N.J., 1956), deals with Tod's Rajasthan. See also A.C. Banerjee, Rajput Studies (Calcutta, 1944) and The Rajput States and the East India Company (Calcutta, 1951); Alfred Lyall, "The Rajput States of India," in his Asiatic Studies, Religious and Social (London, 1881), pp.181-228.

  1. As Sir William Lee-Warner judiciously put it: "There are no collections of political rules, and no authoritative treatises to guide the inquirer. These matters are, according to some opinions, best left alone as the mysteries of the trade ... the absence of any definite interstatal law must be recognized as depriving the states united to the Indian Empire of the safeguard which all law or system provides." [Sir William Lee-Warner, The Native States of India (London, 1910), pp. 2-3].
  2. "Reports of the committee on the relationship between the paramount power and the states" (Butler Committee), Parliamentary Papers (Great Britain, Reports of commissioners, 1928-29), Vol. VI, Cd. 3302.
  3. Coinage was still a function of several states in Rajputana in the 1870's when the Rajputana Gazetteer was compiled [Rajputana Gazetteer (3 vols.; Calcutta ca. 1870)].
  4. For accounts of the general trends of paramountcy see Lee-Warner; H. H. Dodwell (ed.). The Cambridge History of India (5 vols.; Cambridge, 1922-60), Vol. VI, chap. xxvii; K.M. Panikkar, Introduction to the Study of the Relations of Indian States with the Government of India (London, 1927).
  5. K. M. Panikkar, His Highness the Maharaja of Bikaner (London, 1937), p. 94.
  6. Earl of Ronaldshay, Life of Curzon (3 vols.; London, 1928), Vol. II; John Buchan, Lord Minto (London, 1924); Mary, Countess of Minto, India, Minto and Morley, 1905-1910 (London, 1934).
  7. See Lee-Warner for a broad survey.
  8. Annual Report on the Administration of the Kotah State (hereafter cited as "A.K.S.") August 1896-July 1897, p. 3.
  9. See Panikkar, Maharaja of Bikaner, p. 56, for a document outlining the conditions of rulership. The operative clause reads: "His Highness the Maharaja will not act against the Political Officer's advice in any important matter."
  10. We are grateful to Major Thakur Raghubir Singh of Bissau, Raja Kalyan Singh ofBhinai, and General Thakur Nathu Singh ofGum-anpura for descriptions of the atmosphere and education at Mayo College at Ajmer, the princes' and nobles' school for Rajputana. Their memories cover the 1930's. Mayo College was established by Lord Mayo, viceroy from 1869 to 1872, See W. W. Hunter, A Life of the Earl of Mayo (2nd ed.; 2 vols, London, 1876), I, p. 221.
  11. See Rupert Wilkinson, Gentlemanly Power (New York, 1964), for an analysis of the relationship between such educational culture and the character of public men.
  12. Jaipur and Jodhpur had British dewans (chief ministers), Beauchamp St. John at Jaipur and Peter Young and Donald Field at Jodhpur, in the late 1930's or early 1940's. Of Jaipur's eight major bureaucratic posts, six were held by Englishmen in 1937-38. Bikaner also employed a series of British officials in Maharaja Ganga Singh's. era, but not for the post of dewan (Report on the Administration of the Jaipur State [hereafter cited as "AJS"], 1937-38, and the same for 1938-39; Panikkar, (Maharaja of Bikaner).
  13. Sir Arthur Lothian, Kingdoms of Yesterday (London, 1951), pp. 133-34.
  14. "Report on Indian Constitutional Reforms," Parliamentary Papers (Great Britain, Reports of commissioners, 1918), Vol. Vlll, Cd. 9109.
  15. In K. M. Panikkar, The Indian Princes in Council (London, 1936), pp. 18-20.
  16. Among these men were Sardar K. M. Panikkar, Sir V. T. Krishna-machari. Sir Manubhai Mehta, Sir Mirza Ismail, and C. S. Venkatachar. Of these, Panikkar has given some idea of his activities in the works cited, as has Krishnamachari (see below). Sir Mirza Ismail gives an account in My Public Life (London, 1954).
  17. A few states came into alliance with Britain after 1818.
  18. Speech at Gwalior, November 29,1899. Cited in Earl of Ronaldshay, Life ofCurzon II, pp. 89-90.
  19. Tod suggests that a number of states were consolidating their military position independently of the nobility. This was true of Jodhpur, Jaipur, Bikaner, and Jaisalmer (Tod, Annals, II, pp. 134, 162, 228, 351). It is evident from his report of the Maharaja of Jodhpur's dispute with his nobles that Tod favoured the diffusion of power. See letter from Rathor nobles to Colonel Tod (ibid., I, p. 160), and Tod's critical report of the maharaja's "overgrown establishments, to maintain a superiority over the feudal lords'1 (ibid.. II. p. 134).
  20. Lyall, "Rajput States."
  21. Tod, Annals II, pp. 423-25.
  22. See accounts of these states in Rajputana Gazetteer.
  23. C. V. Wills, A Report on the Land Tenures and Special Powers of Certain Thikanedars of the Jaipur State (Delhi, 1933). For the response of some Jaipur nobles to the Jaipur dwbar's claims see John Jackson, A Reply to the Report on the Land Tenures and Special Powers of Certain Thikanedars of the Jaipur State (by C.V. Wills) on Behalf of the Panchpana Sardars (including Khetri) and Seekar (Delhi, n.d.).
  24. Jaipur Gazette Extraordinary, May 19,1939, No. 4864, reports the durbar's decision.
  25. Ibid., p. 12.
  26. See Percy M. Sykes, Life of Sir Mortimer Durand(London, 1926), p. 172. They were later known as "Indian States Forces."
  27. AJS, Sept. 1947-Aug. 1948.
  28. Interviews with Raja Kalyan Singh of Bhinai, son-in-law of the Rao Raja of Sikar and with the Rao Raja of Sikar, autumn, 1956. The Sikar rebellion telescoped a feudal and a democratic nationalist interest in resisting the state of Jaipur. [For a recent account of the rebellion, see Barnett Rubin, Feudal Revolt and State Building, (New Delhi, 1983).
  29. Panikkar, Maharaja of Bikaner, p. 89.
  30. Conversation, summer 1961, with the late Sir Arthur Lothian, formerly the resident in Rajputana.
  31. Conversation with the same, summer 1957. The Maharawal of Dungarpur confirmed, in conversation in 1963, that he opposed such consolidation.
  32. Panikkar, Maharaja of Bikaner, p. 70.
  33. Ibid., p. 25.
  34. Sir V.T. Krishnamachari, Speeches of Sir V.T. Krishnamachan (Jaipur, 1949), p. 46.
  35. We collated educational data on 143 group A and B tehsildars (the rankings refer to the status assigned to them in the united civil service of the new state). These men had been originally recruited to the civil services of the various princely states. Ten per cent of twenty-nine men recruited in the 1920's held B.A. degrees or better; of the sixty-three recruited in the 1930's, 56 per cent; and of the fifty-one in 1940-47, 94 per cent [Government of Rajasthan, Civil List of Rajasthan, 1956 [(Jodhpur, 1956), pp. 72-90].
  36. See Saranghadar Das, Bikaner: A Report Submitted to the President, All India States Peoples' Conference [Bombay, n.d. (ca. 1940)], p. 38.
  37. Letter to the authors from M. Mukerji, IAS, special secretary to government, Rajasthan, Nov. 30,1956. Mr. Mukerji had charge of establishment matters.
  38. A.K.S., 1935-1936 (n.p., n.d.). By our calculation, Kotah spent Rs. 787,647 on the palace and his highness's family, polo ponies, elephants, royal gardens, guests, rewards, marriages, and work on royal properties. According to the state's own report, the privy purse would have been nearer 10 per cent. A lower figure than ours, Rs. 557,503, is listed in the report as having been spent on the palace and royal family. We have reached the higher figure by adding to the "official" figure the other items listed above, which seem to be not clearly public expenses. Bikaner too claimed to spend only 10 per cent on the privy purse, but calculations like ours were made by Das (p. 75), and bring the figure higher.
  39. A.J.S., 1937-38.
  40. See Das, Bikaner, p. 76. The figures relate to the mid-1930's. We have converted Das's figures for Bikaner into dollars, counting 5 rupees to the dollar. The official figure at the data of this writing is 4.7 to the dollar.
  41. A.N Sudarisanam, Indian States Register and Directory, 1932 (Madras, 1932), p. 245. The maharaja had succeeded to the gaddi as an eleven-year old minor in 1922.
  42. Lothian, Kingdoms, pp. 193-94.
  43. Interview with Mr. Vyas, Nov. 1956.
  44. Pattabhi Sitaramayya, The History of the Indian National Congress. Vol. II, 1935-47 (2 vols.; Bombay, 1947), p. 78.
  45. Article V of the Nagpur Constitution. See N.V. Rajkumar, Development of the Congress Constitution (New Delhi, 1949). For what the clause meant in piactice, see the letter of N.C. Kelkar, president of the All India States Peoples Conference, to Gandhi, June 22, 1934 [M.K. Gandhi, The Indian States Problem (Ahmeda-bad, 1941), p. 60].
  46. Sitaramayya, History of Congress II, p. 79.
  47. Gandhi to Kelkar, July 2, 1934, Indian States Problem, p 65.
  48. Vallabhai Patel urged in 1935 that workers in Indian states "should do their work with all the limitations imposed by the state, and instead of criticising the administration, efforts should be made to keep up cordial relations between the ruler and the ruled" [cited in Jawaharlal Nehru, an Autobiography (new ed.; London, 1942), p. 533n.].
  49. Ibid., p. 532.
  50. Ibid.
  51. Kathiawad Conference address, January 8, 1925 [reprinted in M.K. Gandhi, Young India, 1924-26 (New York, 1927), p. 472].
  52. Times of India, Jan. 25, 1939, quoted in N.D. Parikh, Sardar Vallabhai Patel, translated from the Gujarati (2 vols.; Ahmedabad, 1953), II, p. 299. Gandhi's movement toward a more interventionist policy was intensified by the difficulties of those pressing for reforms in Rajkot where his father had been chief minister.
  53. "Congress Committees in the States shall function under the direction and control of the Congress Working Committee and shall not engage in parliamentary activity nor launch direct action in the name and under the auspices of the Congress. Internal struggles of the people of the States must not be undertaken in the name of the Congress. For this purpose independent organizations should be started" [Indian National Congress, Report of the General Secretary, March 1938-Feb. 1939 (Allahabad, 1939), p. 7].
  54. The Indian States Problem, pp. 117,157, 378. Details of the Jaipur Public Societies Regulation Act may be found in N.N. Mitra, The Indian Annual Register, 1938,1, pp. 321-22.
  55. Kaka Kalelkar (ed.). To a Gandhian Capitalist (Bombay, 1951). The correspondence of January and February 1940 is on pp.110-12.
  56. There is as yet no published history of the Rajasthan political movements. We have based our account to some extent on interviews and biographical materials as well as the particular sources cited. [This is no longer true in 1983].
  57. For biological data on Rajasthan leaders we consulted M.C. Dandia (ed.), Rajasthan Yearbook and Who's Who, 1961-62 (Jaipur, 1962); Rajasthan legislative assembly. Who's Who in the Rajasthan Legislature (Jaipur, n.d., published between 1954 and 1956) (Hindi); Rajasthan Pradesh Congress Committee, Who's Who of Congress Candidates (Jaipur, 1951) (Hindi).
  58. On the participation by Jodhpur Oswals and Maheshwaris (merchant castes) see Richard Sisson, "Caste, Faction and Politics: a Case Study in the Rajasthan Congress" (Berkeley, Calif. 1965) p. 3 (mimeographed).
  59. Sisson writes that the caste composition of presidents and secretaries of the Harijan Sevak Sangh in Rajputana in 1935 was Brahman, 43; Mahajan (merchant caste), 20; Kayasth, 3; Scheduled caste, 3; Jat, 2; Unknown, 13. Written communication to authors, May,1965.
  60. See Daniel Lerner, The Passing of Traditional Society: Modernizing the Middle East (Glencoe, III, 1958) for the phrase.
  61. These generalizations emerge from interviews with and visits to the area of influence of Bhogilal Pandya (interview and visit), Hari-bhau Upadhyaya (visit), Manikyalal Verma (interview and visit), Jai Narayan Vyas (interview and visit), Hiralal Shastri (interview and visit), Gokul Bhai Bhatt (visit).
  62. Rajasthan Yearbook and Who's Who, 1961-62, p. 256. Biographical material on Manikyalal Verma in sources cited and in ibid. (Jaipur, n.d.), pp. 105-6.
  63. Anand Raj Surana and Bhanwarlal Saraf were active in the formation of the Sabha (interview with Jai Narayan Vyas; communication from Sisson, May 1965).
  64. The immediate issue was the maharaja's insistence, supported by the resident in Rajasthan, Sir Arthur Lothian, that the heir of Sikar be educated outside Sikar, where it was feared he would be subject to morally reprehensible influences. The larger issue was the maharaja's power over his noblemen (interview. Sir Arthur Lothian, summer, 1957).
  65. So one may infer from the correspondence surrounding the arrest of Bajaj in 1939 (see n. 54).
  66. Vyas interview.
  67. In 1938 he was ordered out of Alwar (Mitra, Annual Register, 1938, II, p. 261).
  68. Vyas interview.
  69. See Das, Bikaner, p. 42, for Bikaner agitation; and A.K.S., 1936-37.
  70. Das, Bikaner, p. 42.
  71. A.K.S., 1937-38.1938-39, 1940-41.
  72. Report on the Administration of the Bharatpur States November 1938-October 1939.
  73. Mitra, Annual Register, 1937, II, pp. 333, 350.
  74. Rajasthan Yearbook and Who's Who, 1964, p. 38.
  75. In 1939, a Praja Mandal meeting at Sirohi was forcefully broken up by the police (Letter from Gokulbhai Bhatt to Gandhi in Indian States Problem, pp. 376-77).
  76. Rajasthan Yearbook and Who's Who, 1964, p. 106.
  77. Interview with Narottamlal Joshi.
  78. Similar patterns appear to have characterized events in the neighbouring state oflndore, which enacted a public-meeting prevention act. Three political workers were deported for agitating against this act in 1938 (Mitra, Annual Register, 1938, II, p. 312).
    On the other hand Gwalior, in 1939, repealed a circular which had required those who held political meetings to obtain the permission in writing of the subhas or tehsildars (local officers) or the inspector general of police and which had prohibited hartals (suspension of business as a protest), processions, burning of foreign cloth in public, saluting of the national flag, and picketing of liquor shops [Michael H. Brown (cd.), Gwalior Today (Bombay, 1940), p. 24].
  79. Das, Bikaner, p. 84.
  80. Ibid., p. 83.
  81. Krishnamachari, Speeches, p. 2. The neighbouring state of Gwalior did better in this respect. The constitution of 1939 provided for a lower house with an elected majority and an upper house half elected, envisioned enfranchisement of up to 20 per cent of the population, and invested these bodies with the right of initiating legislation and discussing the state budget. The latter provision suggests that the rnaharaja did not wish to turn over financial power. He also retained the right to veto or pass, on his own initiative, any legislation (Brown, Gwalior Today, pp. 22-23).
  82. The All India Marwari Federation, which operated outside Rajasthan, united the Rajasthan merchant castes. It lobbied, for example, in 1938, for the removal of the disqualification of the subjects of the states in government service in British India (Mitra, Annual Register, 1938,1, p. 315).
  83. Report on the Administration of Bikaner, 1911-12.
  84. See Lloyd I. Rudolph and Susanne Hoeber Rudolph. "The Political Role of India's Caste Associations," Pacific Affairs, XXXIII (March 1960), 5-22. See also Lloyd I. Rudolph, "The Modernity of Tradition: The Democratic Incarnation of Caste in India," American Political Science Review, LIX, No. 4 (Dec. 1965), 975-89.
  85. Government of India, Census of India 1911, Rajputana and Ajmer Merwara (Ajmer, 1913), Part I, "Report," pp. 248-49.
  86. for example, the Shanan riots in the nineteenth century in Madras orIthe]Namasudra riots in 1911 in Bengal.
  87. Amrit Bazar Patrika, April 4, 1935; Statesmen, April 4 and 18, Mayj2 and 16, June 6, 1935; Times (London), April 30 and July 5, 1935. [Barnett R. Rubin, Feudal Revolt.,]
  88. Government of India, Ministry of States, Report of the Rajasthan Madhya Bharat Jagir Enquiry Committee (New Delhi, 1950), p. 36.
  89. Ibid., p. 34.
  90. Conversation with Mr. Eric DaCosta, associated with the Jaipur court in the late 1930's; conversations with north Jaipur jagirdars, notably Narendar Singh, Thakur of Jobner, and Major Thakur Raghubir Singh of Bissau.
  91. Krishnamachari, Speeches, p. 11.
  92. For discussion of aspects of this question, see Lloyd I. Rudolph and Susanne Hoeber Rudolph, "Barristers and Brahmans in India: Legal Cultures and Social Change," Comparative Studies in Society and History, VIII, No. 1 (October 1965), 24-49. [The articles referred to in f.n. 84 and the present note are incorporated, in modified fashion, in Lloyd 1. Rudolph and Susanne Hoeber Rudolph, The Modernity of Tradition; Political Development in India (Chicago, 1967)].

-end.



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