Jun 18, 1997 03:14 PM
by Richard Taylor
"Kaiser-i-Hind" was a title made up for the Queen of England. The decision
to make Victoria Empress of India began to form in British minds shortly
after the Mutiny of 1857-58, but the actual title was not granted until act
of Parliament 27 April 1876. This was formalized by an "Imperial Assemblage"
held 1 January 1877 in a special camp built outside of Delhi, and the title
"Empress of India" was expressed "Kaiser-i-Hind" to the Indians dignitaries
gathered to receive their own (British) titles. This "Kaiser" title was
meant to convey to the ("savage") natives the idea of emperor in their "own
tongue," but unfortunately it meant little to anyone and has since been seen
as exhibit A of Western Orientalism during the British Raj.
Thus awards given out under that title could only have been from the British
Raj during the period of Queen Victoria's rule after 1877 to the end of the
Raj, 8 August 1947. One should check the records of the acts of British
Parliament and the titles given out by the Viceroy of India during that
period. A good source for the full history of the origin of the title may be
found in the article "Representing Authority in Victorian India" in the book
*An Anthropologist Among the Historians and Other Essays* by Bernard S. Cohn
(Delhi, Oxford University Press, 1987).
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