Rulers and Raj
Rulers and Raj
Preservation of Indian princes under the Crown kept most states outside the jurisdiction of British India. Company precedents, rather than prescriptive regulations, influenced the role of political officers as envoys and advisers to maharajas and chieftains of client states. In practice, officers were brokers for more distant patrons located in regional presidencies — the central government's Foreign and Political Department and in the Viceroy's Council. Methods of supervision included creation of a network of clients of the resident and influencing state revenues through an appointed dewan (finance minister). Some states yielded resources through loans, railway and mineral concessions and regiments. As in all patron-client relations there was bargaining for advantage, willing loyalty, and sullen opposition. Some rulers were deposed. For others, imperial honours and improvement in the internal administration of patrimonial courts sheltered princes from the challenge of nationalist opposition. But official patronage could not secure for princes a constitutional role in an independent India.
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