gaikwar british india
BARODA, a city of British India, the capital of the native state known as the Gaikwar's dominions, is situated near the River Biswamintri, in 22° 16' N. lat., and 73° 14' E. long. The Government of Bombay exercises a political superintendence over the Gaikwar, and a British political agent resides at Baroda. The town is fortified, but has no great strength. Thornton states the population at 140,000. Baroda contains the chief court of the state, the Gaikwar himself presiding in appeals from the decisions of the other courts in his territory. The town contains only one higher class school, the High School, - attended in 1872 by 658 pupils, of whom 155 were learning English, 221 Marhathf, and 282 Gujrathi. There are also two vernacular schools in the town. The late Gaikwar, Malhar Rao, was installed in 1871. The princes of Baroda date their importance from the Alarhatta confederacy, which in the last century spread devastation and terror over India. Shortly after 1721 the ruling chief, one Pelaji, carved a fertile slice of territory out of Gujarat. Another enjoyed the title of " Leader of the Royal Troops " under the Peshwa. During the last thirty-two years of the century the house fell a prey to one of those bitter and unappeasable family feuds which are the ruin of great Indian families. In 1800 the inheritance descended to a prince feeble in body and ahnost idiotic in mind. British troops were sent in defence of the hereditary ruler against all claimants ; a treaty was signed in 1802, by which his independence of the Peshwa, and his dependence on our own Government, were secured. Three years later these and various other engagements were consolidated into a systematic plan for the administration of the Baroda territory, under a prince with a revenue of three quarters of a million sterling, perfectly independent in all internal matters, but practically kept on his throne by subsidiary British troops. Since then the history of the Gaikwars has been very much the same as that of most territorial houses in India : an occasional able minister, more rarely an able prince ; but, on the other hand, a long dreary list of incompetent heads, venal advisers, and taskmasters oppressive to the people. Of late years they have been more than usually unfortunate. Family feuds raged fiercer than ever, and the late Gaikwar was long imprisoned by his brother, the former ruler, on a charge of attempted fratricide. The miserable scandals of the Baroda Raj need not be revived here. Suffice it to say, that Malhar Rao found himself suddenly brought from prison and placed upon the throne, and that his conduct as ruler was what might have been expected in such a case. Frequent complaints of his mismanagement and oppression were brought before the British Government, and in 1873 a commission of English officers was appointed to inquire into the affairs of the state, and its management by the Gaikwar. Since then misrule has advanced with a rapid foot. After one or two feints at reforming his government, the Gaikwar returned to his old courses. An attempt in 1874 to poison the British Resident at his court brought affairs to a crisis, and early in 1875 the Gaikwar was tried by a mixed commission of eminent British officers and natives of rank. A unanimous verdict was not obtained touching the particular attempt at poisoning ; but Lord Northbrook, as Viceroy of India, found it necessary to depose the Gaikwar, and to appoint another member of the Baroda family to rule in his stead.