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Crowns and ColoniesEuropean Monarchies and Overseas Empires$
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Robert Aldrich and Cindy McCreery

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781784993153

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781784993153.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MANCHESTER SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.manchester.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Manchester University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSO for personal use.date: 26 June 2022

The Maharani of Kutch and courtly life before and after Indian Independence

The Maharani of Kutch and courtly life before and after Indian Independence

(p.177) Chapter Nine The Maharani of Kutch and courtly life before and after Indian Independence
Crowns and Colonies

Jim Masselos

Manchester University Press

The chapter begins with an overview of the ambiguous position of India’s maharajas and princes both under British paramountcy and after 1947 in independent India. It then focuses on the royal family that ruled over the important Rajput state of Kutch in western India and presents an account of the royal court and of courtly life from the perspective of the then Maharani, Rajendra Kunverba, later Queen Mother or Rani Mata. Using material from a series of discussions recorded in the late 1980s to early 1990s the chapter explores the place of women in the royal court and in its women’s quarters (the zenana). It then builds up a picture of the structures of power that operated in the zenana and considers how far they paralleled structures evident in the male-dominated court with its royal audience ritual of the durbar. The account concludes with a discussion of the Maharani’s emergence from the closed world of the zenana and with how her actions were affected by the climate of a modernising India.

Keywords:   Kutch, Kishangarh, Durbar, Princely India, Purdah, Maharani, Zenana, Jadeja, Rajput, Darshan

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