HOME
The Info List - Maharaja





Mahārāja (Sanskrit: महाराज, also spelled Maharajah, Moharaja) is a Sanskrit
Sanskrit
title for a "great ruler", "great king" or "high king".[1] A few ruled mighty states informally called empires, including Ranjit Singh, founder of the Sikh empire, and Maharaja
Maharaja
Sri Gupta, founder of the ancient Indian Gupta empire, but 'title inflation' soon led to most being rather mediocre or even petty in real power, while compound titles were among the attempts to distinguish some among their ranks. Maharaja
Maharaja
Hari Singh
Hari Singh
of Jammu and Kashmir, the largest state in British India,[2] was the last Maharaja to be an independent sovereign post Indian independence.[3] The female equivalent, Maharani (or Maharanee, Moharani, Mahārājñī), denotes either the wife of a Maharaja
Maharaja
(or Maharana etc.), and also in states where that was customary, a woman ruling without a husband. The widow of a Maharaja
Maharaja
is known as a Rajmata "queen mother".[4] Maharaja
Maharaja
Kumar
Kumar
generally denotes a son of a Maharaja, but more specific titulatures are often used at each court, including Yuvaraja for the heir. The form Maharaj indicates a separation of noble and religious offices, although the fact that in Hindi
Hindi
the suffix -a is silent makes the two titles near homophones.

Contents

1 Etymology 2 Indian subcontinent

2.1 Maharaja
Maharaja
as a ruler's title 2.2 Compound and dynastic ruler titles 2.3 Nobiliary and honorary use 2.4 Derived style for princes of the blood

3 Nepal 4 Malay Archipelago

4.1 Indonesia 4.2 Malaysia 4.3 Brunei 4.4 Philippines 4.5 Compound Malay titles 4.6 Indonesia

4.6.1 Aceh

5 See also 6 Sources and references

Etymology[edit] The word Maharaja
Maharaja
originates in Sanskrit
Sanskrit
and is a compound karmadhāraya term from mahānt- "great" and rājan "ruler, king"). It has the Latin cognates magnum "great" and rex "king".[5][6] Due to Sanskrit's major influence on the vocabulary of most languages in Greater India, the term Maharaja
Maharaja
is common to many modern languages of India
India
such as Kannada, Tamil, Hindi, Marathi, Rajasthani, Malvi, Telugu, Odia, Punjabi, Bengali and Gujarati. The Sanskrit
Sanskrit
title Maharaja
Maharaja
was originally used only for rulers who ruled a considerably large region with minor tributary rulers under them. Since medieval times, the title was used by (Hindu) monarchs of lesser states claiming descent from ancient Maharajas. Indian subcontinent[edit]

Maharajas

Maharaja
Maharaja
Bhagvat-Singh of Gondal.

The Maratha
Maratha
Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III
Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III
of Baroda.

Maharaja
Maharaja
Nripendra Narayan of Koch dynasty.

Maharaja
Maharaja
Duleep Singh, the last Maharaja
Maharaja
of the Sikh Empire.

Maharaja
Maharaja
as a ruler's title[edit]

Maharaja
Maharaja
Jaswant Singh II
Jaswant Singh II
of Marwar, c. 1880. Attributed to Narsingh. The Brooklyn Museum.

On the eve of independence in 1947, India
India
(including present day Pakistan
Pakistan
and Bangladesh) contained more than 600 princely states, each with its own native ruler, often styled Raja
Raja
or Rana or Thakur (if the ruler were Hindu) or Nawab
Nawab
(if he were Muslim), with a host of less current titles as well. The British directly ruled two-thirds of India; the rest was under indirect rule by the above-mentioned princes under the considerable influence of British representatives, such as Residents, at their courts. The word Maharaja
Maharaja
may be understood simply to mean "ruler" or "king", in spite of its literal translation as "great king". This was because only a handful of the states were truly powerful and wealthy enough for their rulers to be considered 'great' monarchs; the remaining were minor princely states, sometimes little more than towns or groups of villages. The word, however, can also mean emperor in contemporary Indian usage. The title of Maharaja
Maharaja
was not as common before the gradual British colonisation of India, upon and after which many Rajas and otherwise styled Hindu rulers were elevated to Maharajas, regardless of the fact that scores of these new Maharajas ruled small states, sometimes for some reason unrelated to the eminence of the state, for example, support to the British in Afghanistan, World War I or World War II. Two Rajas who became Maharajas in the twentieth century were the Maharaja
Maharaja
of Cochin and the legendary Maharaja Jagatjit Singh
Maharaja Jagatjit Singh
of Kapurthala.

Variations of this title include the following, each combining Maha- "great" with an alternative form of Raja
Raja
'king', so all meaning 'Great King': Maharana (as in Udaipur), Maharawal (as in Dungarpur/Jaisalmer), Maharawat (Pratapgarh), Maharao (as in Kotah, Bundi) and Maharaol (as in Baria). Maharajah has taken on new spellings due to the time change and migration. It has even been shortened to Mahraj and Maraj but the most common is Maharajah and Maharaj. Despite its literal meaning, unlike many other titles meaning Great King, neither Maharaja
Maharaja
nor Rajadhiraja ('King of Kings'), nor even its equivalent amongst. Maharaja, 'Maharajadhiraja', never reached the standing required for imperial rank, as each was soon the object of title inflation. Instead, the Hindu title which is commonly rendered as Emperor
Emperor
is Samraat
Samraat
or Samraj(a), a personal distinction achieved by a few rulers of ancient dynasties such as the Mauryas and Guptas; the Muslim equivalent of emperor would be Padshah
Padshah
(of Persian origin), notably applied to the Mughal dynasty, the Paramount power until the British established their raj.

Compound and dynastic ruler titles[edit]

Dharma-maharaja was the devout title (compare Rajadharma) of the rulers of the Ganga dynasty.

In the Mughal Empire
Mughal Empire
it was quite common to award to various princes (hereditary or not) a series of lofty titles as a matter of protocolary rank. The British would, as paramount power, do the same. Many of these (see also above) elaborate explicitly on the title Maharaja, in the following descending order:

Maharajadhiraja Bahadur (or Maharajadhiraj Bahadur): Great Prince over Princes, a title of honour, one degree higher than Maharajadhiraja. Maharajadhiraja (or Maharajadhiraj): Great Prince over Princes, a title of honour, one degree higher than Sawai Maharaja
Maharaja
Bahadur. Sawai Maharaja
Maharaja
Bahadur: a title of honour, one degree higher than Sawai Maharaja. (the term bahadur, originally 'brave' in Mongolian, was often used for 'one-degree' higher', and 'sawai' is 'one and a quarter higher', i.e. just a step above bahadur) Sawai Maharaja: a title of honour one degree higher than Maharaja Bahadur; as granted (directly) to the Rajas of Ajaygarh. Maharaja
Maharaja
Bahadur: a title of honour, one degree higher than Maharaja.

Maharaja
Maharaja
itself could also be granted as a personal; non-hereditary style, e.g. in 1941 to Sir Pratap Singh II, Raja
Raja
of Ali Rajpur

Kshatriya Kulavatans Sinhasanadheeshwar Maharajadhiraj Chhatrapati Shivaji
Shivaji
Raje Bhosale. The Maratha
Maratha
king preferred the title of Chhatrapati
Chhatrapati
as against Maharaja
Maharaja
and was the founder and sovereign of the Maratha
Maratha
Empire of India

Sri
Sri
Panch Bada Mahārājādhirāja Prithvi Narayan Shah
Prithvi Narayan Shah
Dev of Nepal.

His Highness Maharajadhiraj Mirza Maharao Shri Sir Khengarji III Sawai Bahadur, Rao of Kutch, GCIE, KIH

Furthermore, there were various compound titles simply including other princely styles, such as :

Maharaja
Maharaja
Chatrapati
Chatrapati
in Satara, the paramount state of the Maratha confederacy H.H. the Maharaj Rana of Jhalawar Maharaja-i-Rajgan: great prince amongst princes Maharaja
Maharaja
Sena Sahib
Sahib
Subah of Nagpur, another Mahratta state Maharaj Babu: A Rajput
Rajput
princely title.Used as ruling title of Hazari Estate of South Chittagong. For details concerning various titles containing sahib, see there

Certain Hindu dynasties even came to use a unique style, including a term which as such is not of princely rank, e.g. Maharaja Gaikwar
Maharaja Gaikwar
of Baroda, Maharaja Scindia
Maharaja Scindia
of Gwalior, Maharaja Holkar
Maharaja Holkar
of Indore, three of the very highest ranking ruling Maratha
Maratha
houses. Nobiliary and honorary use[edit] Like Raja
Raja
and various other titles, Maharaja
Maharaja
was repeatedly awarded to notables without a princely state, such as zamindars.

One Raja
Raja
of Lambagraon, a Jagir (in Himachal Pradesh) who served in the colonial army was granted personally the non-hereditary title of Maharaja
Maharaja
of Kangra- Lambagraon
Lambagraon
and a personal 11-guns salute, so neither honour passed on to his son and heir. In the major, Muslim realm of Hyderabad and Berar, there was a system of ennobling titles for the Nizam's courtiers, conferring a specific rank without any (e)state of their own, not unlike peerage titles without an actual fief in the UK, the highest titles for Hindu nobles being Maharaja
Maharaja
Bahadur and Maharaja, above Vant, Raja
Raja
Rai-i-Rayan Bahadur, Raja
Raja
Rai Bahadur, Raja
Raja
Bahadur, Raja
Raja
and (the lowest) Rai; for their Muslim counterparts there were alternative titles, the highest being Jah
Jah
and Umara; e.g. the Diwan (Prime Minister) Maharaja Sir Kishen Pershad, held such a Maharaja-title.

Derived style for princes of the blood[edit] Maharaj Kumar
Kumar
(or Maharajkumar) means son of a Maharaja
Maharaja
or Heir-Apparent; the female equivalent is Maharaj Kumari (Maharajkumari): daughter of a Maharaja. Nepal[edit]

Shree Panch Mahārājādhirāja Rana Bahadur Shah
Rana Bahadur Shah
Bahadur Shamsher Jang Devanam Sada Samaravijayinam, Sovereign King of Nepal

The Gurkha Kings of Nepal
Kings of Nepal
(now a republic) used the title of Mahārājādhirāja which was "Sovereign among Great Kings", a title of honour, a degree higher than Mahārājā. Rana Prime ministers of Nepal used the title of Shree Teen Maharaja. Malay Archipelago[edit] Indonesia[edit] As many Indonesian states started out when the archipelago was still predominantly Hindu ( Bali
Bali
still is) or Buddhist, some have been ruled by a maharaja, such as Srivijaya, Majapahit
Majapahit
and Kutai Karta Negara (until that kingdom converted to Islam in 1565, when the Muslim title of sultan was adopted). Traditional titles remain in use for the other members of this dynasty, such as Pangeran Ratu for the heir. The Englishman Capt. James Brooke was declared as Raja
Raja
Brooke by the Brunei Sultan. The word Raja
Raja
derived from the word Maharaja. Raja Brooke pacified the Sarawak Revolt against the Brunei Sultan. Thus declared by the latter as Raja
Raja
during the Raffles' stint. Malaysia[edit] In peninsular Malaysia:

Maharaja
Maharaja
was the title of the monarch of the peninsular Malay state of Johor(e) from 1873 to 1885. The Arabic, Muslim title Sultan, often considered of higher rank, was re-adopted later and remains in current usage. The title Bendahara
Bendahara
Seri Maharaja
Maharaja
was used by the ruler of Pahang (1623–1853 in personal union with Johor, eventually becoming a fief of the Bendahara
Bendahara
family), till on 6 August 1882 Tuanku Ahmad al-Muadzam Shah ibni al-Marhum Tun Ali adopted the title, Sultan.

In northern Borneo, the title Maharajah of Sabah and Rajah of Gaya and Sandakan
Sandakan
was used from 29 December 1877 to 26 August 1881 by Alfred Dent (compare White Rajah). In contemporary Malay usage, the title Maharaja
Maharaja
refers to an emperor, e.g. " Maharaja
Maharaja
Jepun" (" Emperor
Emperor
of Japan"). Brunei[edit] In Seri Malayas of the Srivijaya, under the Srivijaya
Srivijaya
satellite empire of the Majapahit
Majapahit
Empire dominated over the whole Malayas far-reaching the present Philippine Archipelago, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia under the Srivijaya
Srivijaya
Empire of the Majapahit
Majapahit
King Maharaja
Maharaja
Pamariwasa. The latter's daughter Es-kander was married to an Arab (Zein Ul-Abidin) who was a Srivijaya
Srivijaya
ruler in Seri who were a Srivijaya
Srivijaya
Monarchy. In the 12th century with the fall of the empire, the Seri King being a Muslim established the Sultanate of Brunei
Sultanate of Brunei
in 1363 with the throne name Sultan
Sultan
Mohamad Shah. In 1426, as his death was recorded in 1431 Mt. Makatangis Sulu grave and 1432 Brunei grave as Sulu and Brunei claim the honour of his grave, he also did established the Sultanate of Sulu while his brother Makdum Karim (Sharif Kabungsuwan of Malabang Lanao), a Srivijaya
Srivijaya
Johore ruler, later established the Sultanate of Maguindanao-Ranao (Mindanao) after taking the political authority of his father-in-law Tomaoi Aliwya of the Maguiindanao family dynasty. A progeny in 1704, Sayyid Nakhoda Perkasa Angging ( Maharaja
Maharaja
Anddin) grandson of the second Brunei Sultan
Sultan
Ahmad, the former married to Mahandon the sister of Muwalil Wasit (the 1825 Sulu Sultan
Sultan
Jamaulul Kiram-I), The latter who bigoted the 1839 Sulu Sultan
Sultan
Pulalun. Being childless, Pulalun proclaimed his Crown Prince- Maharaja
Maharaja
Adinda Taup (son of Sayyid Nakhoda Perkasa Angging). The title Maharaja
Maharaja
Adinda at the beginning of the name to append Sultan. Maharaja
Maharaja
Adinda Taup the 1859 Maharaja
Maharaja
of the Sulu Sultanate and Prince Heir-apparent of Sultan Pulalun at the time. Sulu Sultan
Sultan
Jamalul Kiram-I (Muwalil Wasit) was the 70 year later descendant of the 1752 three So-called Sultans of Mindanao, namely Kiram Sinsuat, Kiram Misuari and Kiram Sorronga. The latter in 1752, whereby Mindanao was ceded in inheritance to them by their consanguinity-Kinship, the Noble King Luisung Tagean-Tallano. And Maharaja
Maharaja
Adinda Taup's son was the 1916 Sharif Imam Ul-Alam Arpa and Highest Spiritual Leader of the Sulu's, the latter whom American Gov. Frank W. Carpenter returned Sulu's sovereignty as a suzerainty. The Sharif Promulgating the Literacy Campaign, building of roads, schools, water system and Jambatans-Wharfs as supported by the said American Governor, the latter named the said Sharif's son as Carpenter Arpa-I placing five silver dollars on the child's chest symbolic of the five Sulu Sultanate territories. Sayyid Paduka Ahmad Carpenter Arpa-V is the Monarchical Chieftain of Maharlika Mindanao and Sulu, as by the facts and proprietary rights as by the 2007 agreement between the Philippine Government and the Prince Julian Morden Tallano, the progeny of King Luisung Tagean Tallano. Philippines[edit] In the Philippines, more specifically in Sulu, Maharaja
Maharaja
(also spelled "Maharajah") was a title given to various sub-divisional princes after the fall of the Srivijaya
Srivijaya
of the Majapahit
Majapahit
Empire. Parts of the Philippines
Philippines
may have later been ruled by community leaders as Maharajah from once being under the Srivijaya
Srivijaya
and Majapahit
Majapahit
empires. Upon the establishment of the Sultanate of Sulu
Sultanate of Sulu
c. 1425–1450, the title of maharaja was used by monarchs such as Sultan
Sultan
Maharaja
Maharaja
Upo (also Sultan
Sultan
Shar ul-uddin Digmin, Mu'izz Ul-mutawad'in), who ruled from 1520 to 1548.[citation needed] Compound Malay titles[edit] The word can also be part of titles used by Malay nobility:

Maharaja Lela
Maharaja Lela
was the title of the ruler of the State of Naning (founded 1641), until it was annexed by the UK to Malacca
Malacca
in 1832.

Most famous was Bendahara
Bendahara
Seri Maharaja
Maharaja
Tun Mutahir of Malacca (executed 1509) and Datuk Maharaja Lela
Maharaja Lela
Pandak Lam of Perak
Perak
(executed 1876). The palace marshal of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong
Yang di-Pertuan Agong
(head of state) of modern Malaysia
Malaysia
is called Datuk Maharaja Lela
Maharaja Lela
Penghulu Istana Negara. In the Sulu Sultanate in the Philippines, the Raja
Raja
Muda (Crown Prince) is the heir to the throne, the Maharaja
Maharaja
Adinda is the second heir apparent and the Maharaja
Maharaja
Lailah acts as chief of the palace.[7] Eventually, Maharajah Adinda was also used to refer to a particular lineage within the royal families. Indonesia[edit] Aceh[edit] Maharaja
Maharaja
was also part of the titles of the nobility in the Sumatran sultanate of Aceh. In the past the title of Maharaja
Maharaja
is given to leader of the unreigning noble family and the Prime Minister Maharaja Mangkubumi. The last Prime Minister of Aceh
Aceh
who was installed to be the Maharaja
Maharaja
Mangkubumi, Habib Abdurrahman el Zahir, also acted as the foreign affairs minister of Aceh
Aceh
but was deposed and exiled to Jeddah by the colonial Dutch East Indies
Dutch East Indies
authorities in October 1878. The name Maharaja
Maharaja
may also append one as a successor Sultan. See also[edit]

Maha Uparaja Raja M. R. Ry. Maharani Laxmi Bai

Sources and references[edit]

^ Tej Ram Sharma (1989), A political history of the imperial Guptas: from Gupta to Skandagupta, Concept Publishing Company, ISBN 81-7022-251-6, ... Literally Maharaja
Maharaja
means 'a great king' or Jinder Mahal
Jinder Mahal
...  ^ Ernst, Waltraud; Pati, Biswamoy (2007-10-18). India's Princely States: People, Princes and Colonialism. Routledge. ISBN 9781134119882.  ^ ud-Din, Zahir (2016-08-18). "A land mark judgement". Greater Kashmir. Retrieved 2016-06-05.  ^ Hansdev Patel (1998) Royal Families and Palaces of Gujarat. Scorpion Cavendish. ISBN 1-900269-20-1. ^ Thomas J. Samuelian (2000), Armenian origins: an overview of ancient and modern sources and theories, Iravunq Publishing House, ... Cognate Chart Sanskrit: Maha Greek: Mega English: Much ...  ^ Horace G. Danner, Roger Noël, An introduction to an academic vocabulary: word clusters from Latin, Greek and German, ... Mag-, great; maj-, greater; max-, greatest; IE base: meg-, yields Sanskrit maha; English much; Greek mega ...  ^ "Entry of the Sultanate of Sulu
Sultanate of Sulu
in the Almanach de

.