Hill States of India
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British Indian Empire
During the Raj period, two groups of princely states in direct relations with the Province of British Punjab became part of the British Indian Empire later than most of the former Mughal Empire, in the context of two wars and an uprising.
For its princely rulers the informal term Hill Rajas has been coined. After the independence of British India, the Hill States acceded to the new Union of India and were later divided between India's constituent states of Punjab (proper), Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.
28 petty princely states (including feudatory princes and zaildars) in the promontories of the western Himalaya, known in full as the Shimla Hill(s) States, mainly Hindu Rajputs, a few Buddhist; the local languages were Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu and various Pahari dialects.
The other, all far smaller, princely states, including a few with some petty dependencies of their own, were further south, on the left bank of the Sutlej:
- the Rana of Balsan
- the Thakur of Beja
- the Rana of Bhaji = Bhajji
- a prince of Bhagat
- the Raja of Bilaspur (formerly Kahlur = Kehloor), entitled to an 11-guns salute
- the Rana of Darkoti(i) = Darkoti
- the Rana (Shri) of Dhami
- the Raja Rana (ex Rana) of Jubbal. The Jubbal state had two tributaries:
- the Thakur (sahib) of Dhadi, initially tributary to Tharoch, then to Bashahr and finally in 1896 to Jubbal.
- (title?) Rawin = Rawingarh
- the Raja (formerly Rana) of Keonthal. Furthermore the feudal pyramid included five Keonthal zaildars (jagirdars collecting a special tax):
- the Thakur of Kunahair
- the Rana of Kuthar
- the Thakur of Mahlog
- the Rana of Mangal
- the Raja of Nalagarh
- the Thakur (or Rai Mian?) of Sangri
- the Thakur (Originally titled Rana up to the occupation by the Gurkhas, and Thakurs from 1815 to 1929) of Tharhoch = Tiroch
NB - For various of the entities above the authentic title of the chief is missing. While some of the lowest ranking may have had none, for the princes that can merely be due to insufficient sources available
The princely states of the Simla Hills all ultimately became part of the modern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh.
States of the Punjab Hills
Some nearby Hindu and Sikh states include:
- HH the Raja (saheb) of Chamba = Chamba, entitled to an 11 gun salute
- HH the Raja of Mandi, entitled to an 11 guns salute
- HH the Raja of Suket, entitled to an 11 guns salute
- HH the Maharaja (until 1913 Raja) of Tehri-Garhwal (in Uttar Pradesh), entitled to an 11 guns salute
- HH the Raja of Siba, no salute, as Siba was not fully part of the British Indian Empire, only Siba Jagir (Jagir of Mian Devi Singh) up to Kotla. The present-day titular Sibaia Raja is Raja Dr. Ashok K. Thakur.
Meghalaya (formerly Assam)
The Khasi Hills (east of the Garo Hills) and (even further to the east) the Jaintia Hills were mainly part of Tribal Assam in British India, now part of the present Indian constitutive state of Meghalaya, especially Jaintia district, capital Jowai, East Khasi district, capital Shillong, and West Khasi district, capital Nongstoin.
The twelve Chiefs of the elaka (tribal province) of the Jaintia, a Khasi subtribe of the) Pantars = Syntengs tribes, are styled Dolloi, and the land is called after them in Khasi: KA RI KHADAR DOLLOI ‘Land of 12 Tribal Chiefs‘) - they are in Nartiang itself (see the Raja, uniquely also styled, as premier Chief: U Kongsong), and in Amwi, Jowai, Lakadong, Mynso, Nongbah, Nongjngi, Nongphyllut, Nongtallang, Raliang, Shangpung, Sutnga (see below; also cited as seat of a Syiem)
Above them is the only true princely ruler of the area, the Raja of Jaintiapur, actually his winter capital, now in Bangladesh, with his summer residence shifted from Sutnga (where the family started as Syiems) to Nartiang; also a palace in the commercial center Borghat.
The other Khasi tribes did not have princes but their twenty petty states (hima), and sometimes even smaller tribal divisions, are led by one or two Chiefs -selected in various ways- usually styled Siem, Syiem.
The names of these chieftainships are: Bhawal, Cherra (or Sohra; capital Cherrapunji), Dwara (capital Hat Dwara), Jirang, Khyrim, Langrin, Lungiong, Maharam, Malai Sohmat, Marriw, Mawdon, Mawiang, Mawlong, Mawphlang, Mylliem (including Shillong city, the colonial capital of all Tribal Assam), Nobosohphoh, Noglwai, Nongkhlaw, Nongspung, Nongstoin, Pamsanggut, Rambrai, Shella, Sohiong. or Sardar ...
Sources and references
- Indian Princely States website
- Punjab State Gazetteer [then Punjab was much larger], vol. VIII, Gazetteer of the Simla Hill States 1910
- Himachal Pradesh State's official website and various links therefrom (click on map or names) to official sites of the state's districts
- map of the Khasi states
- The Khasis by R.R.T.Gurdon; here part 2