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India’s misunderstood maharajahs

Juggernaut image captionFateh Singh of Udaipur was known for his stellar administrative record India’s maharajahs or rulers of princely states are commonly viewed through stereotypes of elephants, dancing girls, and grand palaces. Historian Manu Pillai revisits their legacy. If you look beyond the bejewelled figures, palaces and opulent courts, you’ll notice something telling about India’s maharajahs: that they have largely been scorned and mocked, or treated with voyeuristic curiosity. The British, in their day, cast "native" princes as decadent figures, more interested in frivolous sex and fancy dress than in government. One white officer, for example, loudly proclaimed the […]

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