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Royal Titles & Status in Indian History

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Royal Titles & Status in Indian History

Indian history has witnessed regimes and reins of various rulers. Some of the Indian rulers were independent, while some were given additional powers by a strong invader. From time to time these rulers, kings, prince were given various titles (identifiers) that not only gave them a special reputation but also made evident the force in power as every ruling power wanted to have their own lineage of titles and princely status.

Titles like Maharaja, Raja, Nawab, Wali were very common between Indian rulers. Among the Hindu rulers titles like Rana, Rawat, Sar Desai, and Thakur were used to denote prestigious positions.

Among all these titles the most prestigious were the ones prefixed with Maha (Meaning “Great”), Similarly, addition of Bahadur also raised the level of title holder. Along with the Kings, their wives were also given special titles and status Maharani, Begum and Rajmata.

Apart form these single titles there were compound titles, which were made for special honorary positions in administration by clubbing two or more preliminary titles like that of Maharajadhiraj. Adoption of these titles also varied between different cultures and religions.

Thus, the inception of these titles threw a great light on the prevailing culture in history. These titles were later abolished according to a charter act, but continued to be respected till date.

Following is the list of some most common and widely used titles during various reigns in Indian History.

Title of Ruler
When/Where
Nizam 
Hyderabad
Maharaja (male) Across India especially for Hindu Rulers
Maharani (female) 
Across India especially for Hindu Rulers
Nawab (male) Mughals
Begum (female)
Mughals
Sawbwa 
Hsipaw (Thibaw), Kengtung, Mongnai
Khan or Wali 
Kalat
Sultan
During Islamic Rule
Badishah-e-Hind 
King of India
Rajmata  
Widow of Maharaja
Maharawal  
Dungarpur/Jaisalmer
Maharawat Pratapgarh
Raja    
Bangalore
Maharana  
Udaipur
Maharao
Kota, Bundi
(Maha)rajadhiraj    
During Kushan Dynasty
Maharaol    Baria
Padeshah/ Badshah   
During Persian reign
Rana     
Rajput Kings in South Asia
Mehtar  
Ancient area of Pakistan in princely state of Chitral
Thakur      Kshatriya Rajputs, Bihar
Rao    
Bengal
Rawat    
Rajasthan, Rajput Kings
Rawal      
Jaisalmer
Varman/ Burman/Dewan Rulers in princely states of India and South East Asia

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