- Indian honours system
The Indian honours system was first established under the auspices of the
British East India Company. In 1858, Indiacame directly under the authority of the British Crownas a result of the Indian Mutinyof 1857- 1858.
Colony of India and
Empire of India(1858 - 1947)
British honours systemwas extended to India after 1858. Typically, Indian princely rulers, and rarely ordinary Indians, were entitled to receive:
Order of the Bath( GCB, KCB, CB)
Order of St Michael and St George( GCMG, KCMG, CMG) (in the case of the Rana dynasty)
Royal Victorian Order( GCVO, KCVO, CVO, LVO, MVO)
Order of the British Empire( GBE, KBE, CBE, OBE, MBE)
However,a series of Orders was specifically instituted for service in India, which any eligible Indian citizen or British administrator could receive. These included the following, from most prestigious downwards;
Order of the Star of India( GCSI, KCSI, CSI)-ranked above the Order of St Michael and St George in the British honours system.
Order of the Indian Empire( GCIE, KCIE, CIE)-ranked above the Royal Victorian Order in the British honours system.
GCSI and GCIE-These highest divisions of the Order of the Star of India and the Order of the Indian Empire were generally awarded to the
Viceroy of India, the Secretary of State for India, high-ranking British military in India ( Commander-in-Chief, India) and other high-ranking British officials in the Indian colonial administration. For Indians, these two highest divisions were given to:
* Rulers of Princely states-The GCSI was given, as a matter of course, to the
Nizam of Hyderabadand to the Maharajas with gun salutes from 21 to 17 guns (including the Maharaja of Lambjang and Kaski in Nepal). Those princely states with a gun salute of 15 guns usually, but not always, received the GCSI; their appointments to the order could very well depend, in some instances, on their merit, not their power.
The rulers of the largest states (21 to 17-guns) usually received the GCIE before the GCSI. For those rulers of smaller states (15-13 guns) the GCIE was usually the highest honour they could hope for. The rulers of the least prestigious states (11-9 guns) generally did not receive even the GCIE, excepting instances where the ruler earned it based on personal merit or connections. If the ruler of a princely state was of merit, although his state was not of high salute, he could receive the GBE.
KCSI and KCIE-These second-order divisions, which conferred knighthoods, were usually awarded to deserving Indians, generally prominent merchants, landowners, politicians, ministers of princely states, jurists and judges. ICS officials, British military serving in India or its surrounding territories, or any other who had rendered significant service in India could receive this honour.
This was usually the highest level attainable for those rulers of princely states with gun salutes of 11-9 guns; the Heirs Apparent and lesser princes of the most powerful states could also be bestowed knighthoods at this level.
CSI and CIE-Generally awarded to Indian Army soldiers and any British or Indian administrator or other who had rendered service to India. Rulers of non-salute states usually received this rank.
Order of the Crown of India( CI)-This honour was strictly for women, including the wife of the Viceroy, Princesses, or wives of Indian princely rulers. The only Indian princely ruler who ever received it was the Begum of Bhopal.
Order of British India( OBI)-This honour was for British administrators and soldiers, although it was occasionally given to Indian soldiers.
These Orders were given a place within the British honours system. As well,many Indians in the civil service or in some other discipline such as science or the law were commonly made
Other honours that were instituted included a series of
Title Badges, which carried titles that differed in relation to the religion of the recipient (Maharaja and Raja for Hindus, Nawab for Muslims).
A series of campaign and honour medals was also awarded to Indian soldiers and any Indian who had rendered public service of a high standard:
Order of Indian Merit-for Indian Army soldiers; until the First World War substituted for the Victoria Crossfor Indian soldiers.
Kaiser-i-Hind. Dominion of India(1947-1950)
15 August 1947, India became a fully independent state, but retaining King George VIas head of state as King of India.
The following medal was instituted;
Indian Independence Medal, 1947
As India was a Dominion, the British honours system continued to apply until 1950.
Republic of India(since 1950)
26 January 1950, India was proclaimed a republic. At this time, all British-awarded honours became obsolete. There was no honours system until 1954,when the Indian honours system was instituted.
These include the following:
Bharat Ratna-Gem Of Bharat, the present highest honour India may bestow.
Padma Vibhushan-Second degree honour.
Padma Bhushan-Third degree honour.
Padma Sri-Fourth degree honour.
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