Order of the Star of India

The Most Exalted Order of the Star of India is an order of chivalry founded by Queen Victoria in 1861. The Order includes members of three classes (regardless of gender):

  1. Knight Grand Commander (GCSI)
  2. Knight Commander (KCSI)
  3. Companion (CSI)

No appointments have been made since the 1948 New Year Honours, shortly after the Partition of India in 1947. With the death in 2009 of the last surviving knight, the Maharaja of Alwar, the order became dormant.

The motto of the order was Heaven's Light Our Guide. The Star of India emblem, the insignia of order and the informal emblem of British India, was also used as the basis of a series of flags to represent the Indian Empire.

The order is the fifth most senior British order of chivalry, following the Order of the Garter, Order of the Thistle, Order of St Patrick and Order of the Bath. It is the senior order of chivalry associated with the British Raj; junior to it is the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire, and there is also, for women only, the Imperial Order of the Crown of India.

Most Exalted Order of the Star of India
Star of India Insignia (1)
Insignia of a Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of India
Awarded by
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom.svg
Sovereign of the United Kingdom
TypeOrder of chivalry
Established1861
MottoHeaven's Light Our Guide
Awarded forAt the monarch's pleasure
StatusLast appointment in 1947
Dormant order since 2009
FounderVictoria
SovereignElizabeth II
Grades
  • Knight Grand Commander (GCSI)
  • Knight Commander (KCSI)
  • Companion (CSI)
Former gradesKnight Companion
Precedence
Next (higher)Order of the Bath
Next (lower)Order of St Michael and St George
ImperialOrderCrownIndiaRibbon

Ribbon bar of the Star of India

History

Several years after the Indian Mutiny and the consolidation of Great Britain's power as the governing authority in India, it was decided by the British Crown to create a new order of knighthood to honour Indian Princes and Chiefs, as well as British officers and administrators who served in India. On 25 June 1861, the following proclamation was issued by the Queen:

The Queen, being desirous of affording to the Princes, Chiefs and People of the Indian Empire, a public and signal testimony of Her regard, by the Institution of an Order of knighthood, whereby Her resolution to take upon Herself the Government of the Territories in India may be commemorated, and by which Her Majesty may be enabled to reward conspicuous merit and loyalty, has been graciously pleased, by Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, to institute, erect, constitute, and create, an Order of Knighthood, to be known by, and have for ever hereafter, the name, style, and designation, of "The Most Exalted Order of the Star of India"[1]

Flag of the Governor-General of India (1885–1947)
The flag of the Viceroy of India displayed the Star of the Order beneath the Tudor Crown.

Recipients

The first appointees were:

The Order of the Indian Empire, founded in 1877, was intended to be a less exclusive version of the Order of the Star of India; consequently, many more appointments were made to the latter than to the former. The last appointments to the orders relating to the British Empire in India were made in the 1948 New Year Honours, some months after the Partition of India in August 1947. The orders have never been formally abolished, and Elizabeth II succeeded her father George VI as Sovereign of the Orders when she ascended the throne in 1952. She remains Sovereign of the Order to this day. However, there are no living members of the order.

Composition

Sayajirao Gaekwad III, Maharaja of Baroda, 1919
Sayajirao Gaekwad III, Maharaja of Baroda, wearing the sash and star of a GCSI, as well as the star of a GCIE. 1919
Sir Asutosh Mukharji
Ashutosh Mukherjee,The Tiger of Bengal

The British Sovereign was, and still is, Sovereign of the Order. The next most senior member was the Grand Master, a position held ex officio by the Viceroy of India. When the order was established in 1861, there was only one class of Knights Companion, who bore the postnominals KSI. In 1866, however, it was expanded to three classes. Members of the first class were known as "Knights Grand Commander" (rather than the usual "Knights Grand Cross") so as not to offend the non-Christian Indians appointed to the Order. All those surviving members who had already been made Knights Companion of the Order were retroactively known as Knights Grand Commander.

Former viceroys and other high officials, as well as those who served in the Department of the Secretary of State for India for at least thirty years were eligible for appointment. Rulers of Indian Princely States were also eligible for appointment. Some states were of such importance that their rulers were almost always appointed Knights Grand Commanders; such rulers included the Nizam of Hyderabad, the Maharaja of Mysore, the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, the Maharaja of Baroda, the Maharajas of Gwalior, the Nawab of Bhopal, the Maharaja of Indore, the Maharana of Udaipur, the Maharaja of Travancore, the Maharana of Jodhpur and the Maharao of Cutch.

Kashi Naresh Prabhu Narayan Singh of Benares and Sir Azizul Haque were appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire (KCIE) in 1892 and 1941 respectively, Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire (GCIE) in 1898, and Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of India (GCSI) for his services in the First World War in the 1921 New Year Honours.[4]

Rulers of other nations in Asia and the Middle East, including the Emir of Kuwait, the Maharajas of the Rana dynasty, the Khedive of Egypt, the King of Bhutan and the rulers of Zanzibar, Bahrain and Oman were also appointed to the Order. Like some rulers of princely states, some rulers of particular prestige, for example the Maharajas of the Rana dynasty or the Sultans of Oman, were usually appointed Knights Grand Commanders.

Women, save the princely rulers, were ineligible for appointment to the order. They were, unlike the habit of many other orders, admitted as "Knights", rather than as "Dames" or "Ladies". The first woman to be admitted to the order was Nawab Sikandar Begum Sahiba, Nawab Begum of Bhopal; she was created a Knight Companion at the Order's foundation in 1861. The order's statutes were specially amended to permit the admission of Queen Mary as a Knight Grand Commander in 1911.

Vestments and accoutrements

Investiture of the Star of India
'Investiture of the Star of India, Delhi' (detail), by George Jacomb-Hood. King George V is depicted awarding the GCSI to Ganga Singh, Maharaja of Bikaner, at the 1911 Delhi Durbar.
GCSI mantle
Mantle of the Order
GCSI star
Representation of the star of the order on the mantle
Charles Hardinge
Charles Hardinge, Viceroy of India, in the robes of the Order.

Members of the Order wore elaborate costumes on important ceremonial occasions:

  • The mantle, worn only by Knights Grand Commanders, was made of light blue satin lined with white silk. On the left side was a representation of the star (see below).
  • The collar, also worn only by Knights Grand Commanders, was made of gold. It was composed of alternating figures of lotuses, red and white roses and palm branches, with an imperial crown in the centre.

On certain "collar days" designated by the Sovereign, members attending formal events wore the order's collar over their military uniform, formal day dress, or evening wear. When collars were worn (either on collar days or on formal occasions such as coronations), the badge was suspended from the collar.

At less important occasions, simpler insignia were used:

  • The star, worn only by Knights Grand Commanders and Knights Commanders, included a sunburst, with twenty-six large rays alternating with twenty-six small rays; it was in gold and circular for Knights Grand Commanders, and in silver and eight-pointed for Knights Commanders. In the centre of the sunburst was a light blue ring bearing the motto of the Order. Within the ribbon was a five-pointed star, decorated with diamonds for Knights Grand Commanders.
  • The badge was worn by Knights Grand Commanders on a white-edged light blue riband, or sash, passing from the right shoulder to the left hip, and by Knights Commanders and Companions from a white-edged light blue ribbon around the neck. It included an oval, containing the effigy of the Sovereign, surrounded by a light blue ring bearing the motto of the Order; the oval was suspended from a five-pointed star, which may be decorated with diamonds depending on class.

Unlike the insignia of most other British chivalric orders, the insignia of the Order of the Star of India did not incorporate crosses, as they were deemed unacceptable to the Indian Princes appointed to the Order.

Precedence and privileges

Members of all classes of the Order were assigned positions in the order of precedence. Wives of members of all classes also featured on the order of precedence, as did sons, daughters and daughters-in-law of Knights Grand Commanders and Knights Commanders. (See order of precedence in England and Wales for the exact positions.)

Knights Grand Commanders used the post-nominal initials "GCSI", Knights Commanders "KCSI" and Companions "CSI". Knights Grand Commanders and Knights Commanders prefixed "Sir" to their forenames. Wives of Knights Grand Commanders and Knights Commanders could prefix "Lady" to their surnames. Such forms were not used by peers and Indian princes, except when the names of the former were written out in their fullest forms.

Knights Grand Commanders were also entitled to receive heraldic supporters. They could, furthermore, encircle their arms with a depiction of the circlet (a circle bearing the motto) and the collar; the former is shown either outside or on top of the latter. Knights Commanders and Companions were permitted to display the circlet, but not the collar, surrounding their arms. The badge is depicted suspended from the collar or circlet.

H H Raja of Cochin
The Maharaja of Cochin wearing the mantle of the Order for the occasion of King Edward VII's Delhi Durbar of 1903

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t "No. 22523". The London Gazette. 25 June 1861. p. 2622.
  2. ^ http://www.royalark.net/Nepal/lamb7.htm
  3. ^ "Dreamwater Free Web Space". 4dw.net. Retrieved 4 December 2010.
  4. ^ "No. 32178". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 January 1921. p. 5.

External links

1867 Birthday Honours

The 1867 Birthday Honours were appointments by Queen Victoria to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by citizens of the British Empire. The appointments were made to celebrate the official birthday of the Queen, and were published in The London Gazette on 24 May 1867.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour, and arranged by honour, with classes (Knight, Knight Grand Cross, etc.) and then divisions (Military, Civil, etc.) as appropriate.

1870 Birthday Honours

The 1870 Birthday Honours were appointments by Queen Victoria to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by citizens of the British Empire. The appointments were made to celebrate the official birthday of the Queen, and were published in The London Gazette on 31 May 1870.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour, and arranged by honour, with classes (Knight, Knight Grand Cross, etc.) and then divisions (Military, Civil, etc.) as appropriate.

1872 Birthday Honours

The 1872 Birthday Honours were appointments by Queen Victoria to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by citizens of the British Empire. The appointments were made to celebrate the official birthday of the Queen, and were published in The London Gazette on 31 May 1872 and 4 June 1872.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour, and arranged by honour, with classes (Knight, Knight Grand Cross, etc.) and then divisions (Military, Civil, etc.) as appropriate.

1885 Birthday Honours

The Queen's Birthday Honours 1885 are the birthday honours announced in 1885 in celebration of the birthday of Queen Victoria.

1886 Birthday Honours

The Queen's Birthday Honours 1886 were granted in celebration of the 24 May birthday of Queen Victoria. They were announced in the London Gazette of 28 May 1886.Recipients of honours are shown below as they were styled in the Gazette, before their new honours or any subsequent honours. Various archaisms are preserved, e.g. spellings such as "Burmah", now spelt Burma (or called Myanmar), etc.; abbreviations such as "Knt." for Knight [Bachelor], etc.; and sequence of post-nominal letters, such as "K.C.B., V.C." whereas V.C. is now placed before other post-nominals.

1890 New Year Honours

The New Year Honours 1890 were appointments by Queen Victoria to various orders and honours of the United Kingdom and British India.

They were announced in The Times on 1 January 1890, and the various honours were gazetted in The London Gazette on 1 January 1890 and on 7 January 1890.The recipients of honours are displayed or referred to as they were styled before their new honour and arranged by honour and where appropriate by rank (Knight Grand Cross, Knight Commander etc.) then division (Military, Civil).

1892 New Year Honours

The New Year Honours 1892 were appointments by Queen Victoria to various orders and honours of the United Kingdom and British India.

They were announced in The Times on 1 January 1892, and the various honours were gazetted in The London Gazette on 1 January 1892.The recipients of honours are displayed or referred to as they were styled before their new honour and arranged by honour and where appropriate by rank (Knight Grand Cross, Knight Commander etc.) then division (Military, Civil).

1895 Prime Minister's Resignation Honours

The 1895 Prime Minister's Resignation Honours were announced in the British national press on 1 July 1895 following the resignation of Lord Rosebery's government on 22 June. The appointments to the Order of the Bath appeared officially in the London Gazette of 2 July.

1898 Birthday Honours

The Queen's Birthday Honours 1898 were announced on 21 May 1898 in celebration of the birthday of Queen Victoria. The list included appointments to various orders and honours of the United Kingdom and British India.

The list was published in The Times on 21 May 1898 and the various honours were gazetted in The London Gazette on 21 June 1898, and on 3 June 1898.The recipients of honours are displayed or referred to as they were styled before their new honour, and arranged by honour and where appropriate by rank (Knight Grand Cross, Knight Commander, etc.) then divisions (Military, Civil).

1899 New Year Honours

The New Year Honours 1899 were appointments by Queen Victoria to various orders and honours of the United Kingdom and British India.

They were published in The Times on 2 January 1899, and the various honours were gazetted in The London Gazette on 2 January 1899, 10 January 1899, and on 13 January 1899.The recipients of honours are displayed or referred to as they were styled before their new honour, and arranged by honour and where appropriate by rank (Knight Grand Cross, Knight Commander, etc.) then divisions (Military, Civil).

1900 Birthday Honours

The Queen's Birthday Honours 1900 were announced on 23 May 1900 in celebration of the birthday of Queen Victoria. The list included appointments to various orders and honours of the United Kingdom and British India.

The list was published in The Times on 23 May 1900 and on 24 May 1900 (Irish honours), and the various honours were gazetted in The London Gazette on 23 May 1900, on 1 June 1900 and on 8 June 1900.The recipients of honours are displayed or referred to as they were styled before their new honour and arranged by honour and where appropriate by rank (Knight Grand Cross, Knight Commander etc.) then division (Military, Civil).

1901 Birthday Honours

The King's Birthday Honours 1901 were announced 9 November 1901, the birthday of the new monarch Edward VII. The list included appointments to various orders and honours of the United Kingdom and British India.

The list was published in The Times 9 November 1901, and the various honours were gazetted in The London Gazette 9 November 1901, 12 November 1901, and 15 November 1901.The recipients of honours are displayed or referred to as they were styled before their new honour and arranged by honour and where appropriate by rank (Knight Grand Cross, Knight Commander etc.) then division (Military, Civil).

1901 New Year Honours

The New Year Honours 1901 were appointments to various orders and honours of the United Kingdom and British India.

The list was published in The Times on 1 January 1901, and the various honours were gazetted in The London Gazette on 28 December 1900 and 8 January 1901.The recipients of honours are displayed or referred to as they were styled before their new honour and arranged by honour and where appropriate by rank (Knight Grand Cross, Knight Commander etc.) then division (Military, Civil).

1903 New Year Honours

The New Year Honours 1903, announced at the time as the Durbar Honours, were appointments to various orders and honours of the United Kingdom and British India. The list was announced on the day of the 1903 Delhi Durbar held to celebrate the succession of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra as Emperor and Empress of India. The membership of the two Indian Orders were expanded to allow for all the new appointments.

The list was published in The Times on 1 January 1903, and the various honours were gazetted in The London Gazette on 1 January 1903.A list of appointments to the Royal Victorian Order was announced in the London Gazette on 30 December 1902. These were not included in the Durbar Honours list, as the individuals had already received their decorations in late 1902. They have been added to the end of this page to show the most complete picture of orders awarded.

The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour, and arranged by honour, with classes (Knight, Knight Grand Cross, etc.) and then divisions (Military, Civil, etc.) as appropriate.

1904 New Year Honours

The New Year Honours 1904, announced at the time as the Indian Honours, were appointments to various orders and honours of British India. The list was published in The Times on 1 January 1904, and the various honours were gazetted in The London Gazette on the same day.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour, and arranged by honour, with classes (Knight, Knight Grand Cross, etc.) and then divisions (Military, Civil, etc.) as appropriate.

A list of appointments to the Royal Victorian Order was announced in the London Gazette on 29 December 1903. These were not included in the New Year Honours list, as the individuals had already received their decorations in late 1903. They have been added to the end of this page to show the most complete picture of orders awarded.

The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour, and arranged by honour, with classes (Knight, Knight Grand Cross, etc.) and then divisions (Military, Civil, etc.) as appropriate.

1907 Birthday Honours

The 1907 Birthday Honours for the British Empire were announced on 28 June, to celebrate the birthday of Edward VII.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour, and arranged by honour, with classes (Knight, Knight Grand Cross, etc.) and then divisions (Military, Civil, etc.) as appropriate.

1909 Birthday Honours

The 1909 Birthday Honours for the British Empire were announced on 28 June, to celebrate the birthday of Edward VII.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour, and arranged by honour, with classes (Knight, Knight Grand Cross, etc.) and then divisions (Military, Civil, etc.) as appropriate.

Hari Singh

Maharaja Hari Singh (23 September 1895 – 26 April 1961) was the last ruling Maharaja of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir in India.

Rash Behari Ghosh

Sir Rashbehari Ghosh (23 December 1845 – 28 February 1921) was an Indian politician, lawyer, social worker and philanthropist.

Orders
Current
awards
Obsolete
awards
Royal family
orders

Languages

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.