Rao Bahadur

Rai Bahadur (also Rao Bahadur in South India), abbreviated R.B., was a title of honour bestowed during British rule in India to individuals for faithful service or acts of public welfare to the Empire. From 1911, the title was accompanied by a medal called a Title Badge.[1] Translated, Rao means "prince", and Bahadur means "brave" or "most honourable". Bestowed mainly on Hindus, the equivalent title for Muslim and Parsi subjects was Khan Bahadur. For Sikhs it was Sardar Bahadur.

Rao Bahadur Title Badge

Those awarded the Rao Bahadur title were usually drawn from the lower rank of Rai Sahib, both of which were below the rank of Dewan Bahadur.[2] These titles were subordinate to the two orders of knighthood: the Order of the Indian Empire and the higher Order of the Star of India. A holder of a Rai Sahib, Rai Bahadur or Dewan Bahadur title came lower in the order of precedence.[1]

Selected recipients awarded the Rao/Rai Bahadur title

Academics and education

Activists and politicians

  • S. A. Saminatha Iyer, Indian independence activist.
  • Manik Lal Joshi, chief minister of Bundi, Rajputana[9]
  • Motilal Nehru, Indian independence activist, he later surrendered it during the non-co-operation movement of 1921.
  • Jaswant Raj Mehta Indian politician, elected to the Lok Sabha; elected to Jodhpur State Legislative Assembly in 1947
  • C. Jambulingam Mudaliar (1857 - 1906), Indian politician and freedom-fighter
  • T. M. Jambulingam Mudaliar (1890 - 1970), philanthropist and freedom fighter who gave 620 acre land to establish NLC India Limited
  • Kurma Venkata Reddy Naidu, Chief Minister of Madras Presidency.
  • Seth Vishandas Nihalchand, Sindhi politician, social reformer, philanthropist
  • Chhotu Ram, Minister for Agriculture and Home Affairs, erstwhile Punjab, 1945. First Indian-origin Speaker of the Punjab Legislative Assembly.

Civil servants and government officials

  • Jagan Nath Bhandari Raj Ratan, Dewan of Idar State[10]
  • Lada Damodar Das, extrajudicial assistant commissioner in the Punjab[4]
  • Dewan Jaggatnath, secretary to the municipal committee and district board, Dera Ismail Khan[9]
  • Sahu Parsotam Saran Kothiwala, member of the district board, Moradabad[4]
  • Lala Jai Lal, member of the Municipal Committee, Simla[4]
  • A. Savarinatha Pillai, Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax, Madras Presidency; winner of King's Coronation Award for Distinguished Public Service, London[11]
  • Akshey Kumar Sarkar, superintendent, Department of Commerce and Industry, Government of India[9]
  • Betharam Sarma, sub-deputy collector, Tezpur, Assam[4]

Commerce and industry

  • Jamnalal Bajaj, industrialist (he later returned the title)[12]
  • Dewan Bahadur P. Somasundaram Chettiar, Coimbatore - industrialist and pioneer in textiles.[13]
  • Jagmal Raja Chauhan, industrialist and noted railway contractor
  • Jairam Valji Chauhan, industrialist and noted railway contractor
  • Seth Sarupchand Hukamchand,(1874–1959) merchant, Indore, thara of Indian industry and a prominent leader of the Jain community [9]
  • Gujar Mal Modi, founder of the Modi Group
  • Mohan Singh Oberoi, founder of Oberoi Group
  • Jamuna Das Choudhury, industrialist, Sahibganj [14]
  • Hariram Goenka - scion of Goenka Group from Kolkata.
  • Badridas Goenka - scion of Goenka Group from Kolkata

Engineering, science and medicine

  • Kailash Chandra Bose, CIE, OBE, first knighted Indian physician.[15]
  • Upendranath Brahmachari, Bengal Presidency, Discovery of urea stibamine for the treatment of Kala Azar
  • Balkishen Kaul, surgeon, lecturer, and superintendent of Lahore Medical college[4]
  • Puttana Venkatramana Raju (1894-1975), civil engineer, industrial advisor to government of India, educationist.
  • Ram Dhan Singh (Dr.), pioneer agricultural scientist, principal, College of Agriculture, Lyallpur, erstwhile Punjab, 1947.[16]

Law and justice

  • Laxmi Narayan Yadav, Eminent Lawyer and Hotelier of Rajasthan
  • Babu Ram Sadan Bhattacharji, deputy magistrate, Bengal[4]
  • Chaudhary Dewan Chand Saini MBE, (1887-?) of Gurdaspur, Punjab, distinguished lawyer of Punjab High Court, leader of the criminal bar; elected member of Legislative Council of colonial Punjab
  • Rajendranath Dutt, judge, Bengal[4]
  • Soti Raghubans Lal, subordinate judge, Shahjehanpur[4]
  • Sadh Achraj Lal, honorary magistrate and member of the municipal board, Mirzapur[4]
  • Satyacharan Bose, Eminent lawyer and Zamindar of Bengal
  • Jwala Prasad, government pleader[4]
  • Raghunath Sharan, District Judge in Bihar[17]
  • Babu Bahadur Singh, honorary magistrate, Pilibhit[4]
  • Babu Shuhrat Singh, Zemindar of Chandpur and honorary magistrate, Basti[4]
  • N S Nanjundiah (1879-1953), of Nanjangud distinguished advocate of Chief Court of Mysore and a sheristadar.[18]

Literature and arts

  • Appu Nedungadi, author of Kundalatha, the first novel published in Malayalam

Philanthropy, religion and charity

  • Ranchhodlal Chhotalal, textile mill pioneer and philanthropist
  • Dharmarathnakara Arcot Narrainsawmy Mudaliar, philanthropist.
  • Amba Prasad, philanthropist of Delhi
  • Salig Rām (Rai Saligram)), (1829-1898) Postmaster-General, North-Western Provinces, disciple of Shiv Dayal Singh, later succeeding him as guru.
  • Ranadaprasad Saha, philanthropist
  • Yele Mallappa Shettaru, philanthropist, 1887, constructed Bangalore's first obstetrics hospital, funded Vani Vilas Hospital construction, restored Kaadu Malleshwara Temple, Bangalore[9]
  • Sardar Bahadur Jagat Singh (Sant) (1884-1951), Lyallpur, pre-partition Punjab Surat Shabd Yoga practitioner and guru
  • Gubbi Thotadappa, businessman, philanthropist, founded Dharmachathra (free lodging places for travellers) and free hostels for students throughout Karnataka.
  • A. Veeriya Vandayar, philanthropist.
  • Chaudhary Amar Singh,Jagirdar Pali,Dist Bulandshahr.Philanthropist.Established KEM Jat High School at Lahkaoti,which later became Amar Singh Degree College. (Award of Rai Bahadur published in New Year Honours List in the Indian Gazette of 01 Jan 2915.)

Police and emergency services

  • Tirath Singh Bakshi, Deputy Inspector General of Police, United Province
  • Purna Chandra Lahiri, Indian Police officer, Calcutta
  • P. K. Monnappa, South Indian Police Chief of three states, Madras, Hyderabad and Mysore.
  • Jacob Devasahayam, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Madras [19]
  • Satyen Nath (S.N.) Mukherjee, First Indian-origin Deputy Commissioner of Indian Police, Calcutta.[20][21][22]


  • Babu Nalini Kanta Ray, Dastidar of Assam[4]

See also

  • Rai (Indian)
  • Nawab Bahadur (disambiguation)
  • Raj Ratna


  1. H. Taprell Dorling. (1956). Ribbons and Medals. A.H.Baldwin & Sons, London. p. 111.
  2. Jalan, Aditya (2009). "Dewan Bahadur 1944–1954". Quila House and the Jalan Collection: A Brief Introduction. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  3. Who's Who 1911 Coronation Edition, Lucknow, Newul Kishore Press, 1911 (page 27)
  4. The Indian biographical dictionary, by C. Hayavando Rao, 1915 (page 26)
  5. Mayhew, Arthur (October 1931). "The Commission on Christian Higher Education in India". International Review of Mission. 20 (4): 512–524. doi:10.1111/j.1758-6631.1931.tb04099.x.
  6. "VISIONARIES – St. Stephen's College, Delhi".
  7. "St. Stephen's College, Delhi, India: HISTORY".
  8. Bhattacharji, Jaya (April 1995). "Remembering Principal Mukarji". The Stephanian. No. Volume CIII, Issue 1. pp. 1–5. Archived from the original on 28 June 2021. Retrieved 15 July 2021.
  9. The Indian biographical dictionary, by C. Hayavando Rao, 1915 (page 27)
  10. Bhandari Jagan Nath Rai Bhadur, Raj Ratan, Dewan of Idar State, The Times of India directory and year book including who's who, Volume 32, 1945
  11. "Caste and Capitalism in Colonial India".
  12. "Jamnalal Bajaj". The Print. 11 February 2019. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  13. Govindarajulu, Rajesh (2015-07-03). "Pioneers in textile". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2021-01-23.
  14. Rai Sahib & Rai Bahadur Title of Jamuna Das Choudhury
  15. "Sir Kailas Chandra Bose". The Indian Medical Gazette. 62 (4): 235–237. 1927. PMC 5197519.
  16. "Biography of Ch. Ram Dhan Singh".
  17. "Former District Judges since the Creation of the Judegship/District Court in India | Official Website of District Court of India".
  18. "Rao Bahadur N. S. Nanjundiah".
  19. London Gazette, Friday, 4th June, 1948
  20. Channa, Subhadra Mitra; Channa, Subhadra (2013-09-05). Gender in South Asia. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1-107-04361-9.
  21. Gupta (IAS.), G. S. (1991). Free Masonry in India. G.S. Gupta.
  22. Court, India Supreme (1963). Indian Factories & Labour Reports. Law Publishing House.
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