Salute state

Salute state

A Salute state was a princely state (i.e. reigned by a native ruler of princely rank) which the British colonial paramount ruler has granted a gun salute; "i.e.", the protocollary privilege for its ruler to be greeted - originally by Royal Navy ships, later also on land - with a number of gun shots, as recognition of the state's relative status.

British India's salute states and equivalents

alute states in present India

When the ruler of a princely state arrived at Delhi the capital of India, he was greeted with a number of gun-fires. This number of gun fires changed from time to time. It could be increased or reduced according to the wishes of colonial British rulers. Later in independent India the system continued until 1971. A 21-gun salute was considered the highest. Of course, the King Emperor of British Empire was given 101 gun salutes, and 31 were for the Viceroy of India.

The number of gun salutes assumed particular importance at the time of holding of the Coronation Durbar in Delhi in the month of December, 1911. The Durbar was held to commemorate the Coronation of H.I.M. George V with the consequent gunfiring taking almost all day and causing severe hearing disabilities to many attendants. At that time there were three Princely States that were given 21 gun salutes. These were: H.H. The Nizam of Hyderabad; H.H. The Maharaja (Gaekwar) of Baroda; H.H. The Maharaja of Mysore. Apart from these three, no other Princely State was given 21 gun salutes. There were, however, other Princely States, which enjoyed a salute of 21 gun within the limits of their own state and 19 guns in the rest of India. For example, H.H. the Maharaja of Kashmir and Jamu (sic); H.H. The Maharaja (Sindhia) of Gwalior; H.H. The Maharaja (Holkar) of Indore. The then Maharaja of Travancore also held a personal 21 gun salute.

The Nizam, Maharajas, Princes, etc were all deeply keen on protocol and ensured that it was practiced as a matter of faith. Any departure from it was not taken kindly by them. Salute of guns was one such protocol that was strictly adhered to. The gun salutes enjoyed by the states that later acceded to the Union of India as on 14th of August 1947, were:

Although salutes with many more guns have been used for Western Monarchs (and dynastic and other associated occasions), the 21-gun salute has in modern times become customary for Sovereign Monarchs (hence also known as 'royal salute') and republic.

Some of the rulers not listed above were granted increased gun salutes after the independence, e.g. the Maharana of Mewar (Hindu; at Udaipur, "Maharajpramukh" in Rajasthan) was raised to first place in the Order of Precedence, displacing the Nizam of Hyderabad and Berar (Muslim), and all 9-gun states were permitted the use of the style of Highness. However, it has not been possible to obtain complete details for all the rulers.

This system continued till 1971, when privileges and privipurses of ex-rulers were abolished by the Government of India.

alute states in present Pakistan

Twelve Muslim princely states in western India acceded on 14 August 1947 to the Dominion (a republic since 1956) of Pakistan as devised by independence from British India.Over time, they were amalgamated into larger federations and provinces culminating in the establishment of two large provinces, East and West Pakistan. Most of the princely states in the western part of the country merged into the Province of West Pakistan (the present Pakistan, the only other province then was East Pakistan, present Bangladesh) at is creation on 14 October 1955.Although some frontier states continued to be administered as separate units, these were eliminated in 1971; all styles and titles enjoyed by the former ruling families ceased to be officially recognised by the Government of Pakistan in January 1972.

The order of precedence of the Salute States that acceded to Pakistan in 1947 was as follows:

After several promotions and two further post-colonial awardings - which India didn't do as a republic - the gun salutes enjoyed by the states in Pakistan were as follows in 1966:

* Hereditary salute of 21-guns: H.H. the Amir of Bahawalpur
* Hereditary salute of 19-guns: H.H. the Khan of Kalat
* Hereditary salute of 17-guns: H.H. the Mir of Khairpur
* Hereditary salute of 15-guns: H.H. the Mir of Hunza (granted by President Ayub Khan in 1966, previously non-salute)
* Hereditary salute of 15-guns: H.H. the Wali of Swat (granted by President Ayub Khan in 1966, previously non-salute)
* Hereditary salute of 11-guns: H.H. the Mehtar of Chitral

alute dynasties on the Indian subcontinent without states

Personal salute of 11-guns: only H.H. the Aga Khan (in fact a religious leader of the Nizari Ismaili branch of Islam), the only salute not attached to any territorial principality.

Furthermore salutes were awarded to certain Political pensioners, notably:
*21 guns for Khudadad, i.e. Tippu Sultan's Muslim empire, starting from the usurped Mysore throne (also 21 guns), meant to replace Delhi's (Mughal) Padshah-i Hind
*19 guns (only personal and local) for the Nawab of Murshidabad, as heirs of greater Bengal (including present Bangladesh, Bihar, Orissa and West Bengal)
*15 guns (until 1899) for HH the Nawab (later restyled Prince) of Arcot, i.e. the Carnatic
*9 guns for HH the Nawab of Banganapalle
*4 guns for Manyam Zamindar of Yanam (French India)


The information below (quite possibly incomplete) had to be puzzled from different sources, mainly one concerning the 1912 situation which seems to ignore the differences between hereditary, personal and local salutes.
*31 guns - This unusual class was reserved for truly sovereign and independent Absolutist oriental monarchies, not under full British control:
**HH the Muslim King (styled Badshah or Emir) of Afghanistan (Durranni dynasty)
**HH the Buddhist King of Siam (the present Thailand)
*21 guns:
**HH the Sultan of Mascat [the Ibadi Imamate became a sovereign nation as Sultanate of (Muscat –the core, named after the capital, of modern- and) Oman]
**HM (since?) the King (a Maharajadhiraja) of Nepal (sovereign, Hindu kingdom in the Himalaya)
**HM (since?) the Sultan/Hami of Zanzibar (an East African sultanate on the islands now part of Tanzania, set up by a branch of the Omani sultans)
**HM the native (Indian tribal) King of Mosquito Coast (in present Nicaragua; styled His Majesty, most unusual as HM is normally reserved for the Paramount Ruler and its (independent) peers; under British protectorate since 1688, formalized in 1749 with appointment of a resident Superintendent; Britain relinquished control in 1783-87; Nicaraguan sovereignty was recognized in 1860 under the Treaty of Managua, hence the King considered a mere Chief, in 1894 militarily driven into exile to Jamaica)
*19 guns: HH the Dalai lama of Tibet, a semi-sovereign theocratic Buddhist nation before annexation by the People’s Republic of China
*15 guns: HH the Druk Desi (since 1963 HM the Druk Gyalpo) & (since 1951) Maharaja of Bhutan [a sovereign Buddhist Himalayan nation]
*9 guns: the Kabaka (native, tribal king) of Buganda (in [Western] Uganda, granted after (?) 1912, before 1939 permanent grant)
*3 guns: all in peninsular Arabia: all in Trucial Oman, known as the ‘Pirate Coast’ (- ?no agency? Persian Gulf residency?; now all among the 7 constitutive emirates of the sovereign nation UAE):
**Ras al-Khaimah
**Umm al-Qaiwain

ources and references

* [ RoyalArk - here India]
* [ Indian Princely States]
* [ - Ed Haynes' list for circa 1911- various copies circulate, none propely annotated]

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