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Re:Theosophical Encyclopaedia

Jun 18, 1997 07:21 PM
by Philip Harris

At 06:14 PM 18/06/97 -0400, you wrote:
>"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).
Dear Rich,

Thank you for taking the trouble to answer my plea for data on this.  It
remains an elusive item in that the title of Queen Victoria may have been
the origin of the name of the medal, but data on the medal itself remains a
mystery.  Since a number of awards of it were made to theosophists we are
bound to include an article on it in the 'Theosophical Encyclopedia'.  Our
problem is, as always, lack of time and competent helpers, so if anyone
cares to help by researching this item we will be most grateful!!

Best wishes,

Philip S. Harris

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