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DavidV

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http://thediplomat.com/2016/01/india-is-a-republic-but-could-it-have-been-a-monarchy/

In 1950, India adopted a constitution establishing the present republic. Yet this Diplomat article explains that India had the possibility of retaining some sort of monarchy beyond independence. It could have taken the mode of a federal system, whereby India as a federal republic would have consisted of constituent kingdoms with self-government. True federalism, despite self-government for states, remains somewhat elusive in India today, where greater decentralisation of powers for a country with 3-4 times the population of the USA is still badly needed.

One of the problems in this regard is that India is a multi-ethnic or perhaps if you can say multinational (as opposed to "multicultural") nation. There is also the question of ranking the multitude of royal families in India today. Firstly, while some royal families may have immense wealth or ruled over large empires, there are others whose prestige and status transcends those measures. I will do a piece sometime later on how to rank royal families.

In the case of India, there has long been the tradition of dynasties establishing empires with subordinate kingdoms as feudatories. This practice was continued in a certain sense by the Mughals and the British, hence the term "subsidiary alliance" applicable to princely states.

The Maratha Empire, for one, was the last Hindu empire on the Subcontinent. Yet the rulers of Satara and Kolhapur, the inheritors of the Chhatrapati title, did not even attain the highest gun salute during the British Raj. Neither did, for that matter, the most prestigious of all Rajput dynasties in Rajasthan, the Sisodiya of Mewar centred on Udaipur. Mewar ranks as the premier Rajput state, despite the fact that other dynasties have been wealthier or ruled larger territories. Mewar itself was once a feudatory of the Pratihara dynasty, which was a dominant Rajput power in North India.

Furthermore, there is also the controversial question of the origins of royal families. The roots of the caste groupings known as Ahir, Jat, Gujjar and Rajput - collectively AJGAR (which incidentally means "python" in Hindi) - are hotly disputed by historians although it is certain they emerged in the period following the collapse of the Gupta Empire and the later empire of Harsha. It is worth noting that just as there is a web of European royalty and aristocracy who nearly all trace their roots to the post-Roman period, there are similar webs of interrelated royalty elsewhere.

In the south, the last great empire was that of Vijayanagara, which still has descendants today. So may the Chola and Pandya dynasties in Tamil Nadu, while Travancore is seen as a continuation of the Chera.

The outstanding Schwartzberg atlas is one of numerous reference points for the historical development of India:
http://dsal.uchicago.edu/reference/schwartzberg/

In short, a monarchical outcome for post-independence India may have taken the form of a new empire ruled by a Hindu dynasty, or a federal republic where regional kingdoms would have been virtual national states.
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