Order of the Star of India
|Order of the Star of India|
|Insignia of a Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of India|
|Awarded by the Queen of the United Kingdom|
|Motto||HEAVEN'S LIGHT OUR GUIDE|
|Awarded for||At the monarch's pleasure|
|Status||Not awarded since 1947
Dormant order since 2009
|Sovereign||Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom|
|Grades (w/ post-nominals)||Knight Grand Commander(GCSI)
|Former grades||Knight Companion|
|Next (higher)||Order of the Bath|
|Next (lower)||Order of St. Michael and St. George|
|Ribbon bar of the Star of India|
- The article is about the order of chivalry known as "Star of India". For other items of the same name, please see disambiguation at Star of India.
The motto of the Order is Heaven's light our guide. The "Star of India", the emblem of the Order, also appeared on the flag of the Viceroy of India.
The Order is the senior order of chivalry of the Empire of India; the junior order is The Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire, and there was also, for women only the Imperial Order of the Crown of India. It is the fifth-most-senior British order of chivalry, following The Most Noble Order of the Garter, The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, The Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick, and The Most Honourable Order of the Bath.
After the Indian Mutiny the British government created 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, Queen Victoria issued a proclamation creating "The Most Exalted Order of the Star of India" to "reward conspicuous merit and loyalty"
The first appointees were:
- HRH The Prince Consort
- HRH The Prince of Wales
- HH Nawab Mir Tahniat Ali Khan Bahadur, Afzal ad-Dawlah, Asaf Jah V, the Nizam of Hyderabad
- HH Jayajirao Scindia, Maharaja of Gwalior
- HH Maharaja Duleep Singh, former Maharaja of the Sikh Empire
- HH Ranbir Singh, Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir
- HH Tukojirao Holkar, Maharaja of Indore
- HH Narendra Singh, Maharaja of Patiala
- HH Khanderrao Gaekwad, Maharaja of Baroda
- HH Nawab Sikander Begum, Nawab Begum of Bhopal
- HH Yusef Ali Khan Bahadur, Nawab of Rampur
- The Lord Gough, Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army
- The Lord Harris, Governor of Madras
- The Lord Clyde, Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army
- Sir George Russell Clerk, Kt., Governor of Bombay
- Sir John Laird Mair Lawrence, Bt., GCB, Lieutenant-Governor of the Punjab
- Sir James Outram, Bt., GCB, Member of the Viceroy's Council
- Sir Hugh Henry Rose, GCB, Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army
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 former than to the latter.
Appointments to the Orders relating to the British Empire in India ceased after 14 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. Today, there are no living members of the order:
- The last Grand Master of the Order, Admiral of the Fleet Louis Mountbatten, Earl Mountbatten of Burma (1900–1979), died on 27 August 1979.
- The last surviving GCSI, HH Maharaja Sri Sir Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma, the Maharaja of Travancore (1912–1991), died on 19 July 1991 in Trivandrum.
- The last surviving KCSI, HH Maharaja Sri Sir Tej Singh Prabhakar Bahadur (1911–2009), the Maharaja of Alwar, died on 15 February 2009 in New Delhi.
- The last surviving CSI, Vice-Admiral Sir Ronald Brockman (1909–1999), died on 3 September 1999 in London.
The British Sovereign was, and still is, Sovereign of the Order. The next-most senior member was the Grand Master; the position was held, ex officio, by the Viceroy of India. When the Order was established in 1861, there was only one class of Knights Companions, who bore the postnominals KSI. In 1866, however, it was expanded to three classes. Members of the first class were known as "Knights Grand Commanders", rather than "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 Companions of the Order were made Knights Grand Commanders.
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 to the Order. 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 was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire (KCIE) in 1892, 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.
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, who were not princely rulers, could not be members of the Order. They were, admitted as "Knights", rather than as "Dames" or "Ladies". The first woman to be admitted to the Order was HH 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.
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