sexta-feira, 5 de setembro de 2008


The word Mahārāja (also spelled maharajah) is Sanskrit for "great king" or "high king" (a karmadharaya from mahānt "great" and rājan "king"). Due to Sanskrit's major influence on the vocabulary of most languages in India, the term 'maharaja' is common to many modern languages, such as Punjabi, Bengali, Hindi, Gujrati, etc. Its use is primarily for Hindu potentates (ruler or sovereign). The female equivalent title Maharani (or Maharanee) denotes either the wife of a Mahārāja or, in states where that was customary, a woman ruling in her own right. The term Maharaj denotes separate noble and religious offices, although the fact that in Hindi the suffix 'a' in Maharaja is silent makes the two titles near homophones. Maharaj is also used to denote the chef (chief cook) at religious or wedding feasts. In 1971, the then government of Indira Gandhi abolished the titles and privy purses of all Indian rulers. Nevertheless some individuals continue to claim such titles. Maharajas today are of historical and anthropological interest.