1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Takhtsingji

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TAKHTSINGJI (1858–1896), Maharaja of Bhaunagar, a Rajput chief of the Gohel clan, and the ruler of a state in Kathiawar, was born on the 6th of January 1858, and succeeded to the throne of Bhaunagar on the death of his father, Jaswantsingji, in 1870. During his minority, which ended in 1878, he was educated at the Rajkot college and afterwards under an English officer, while the administration of the state was conducted jointly by Mr. E. H. Percival, a member of the Indian Civil Service, and Azam Gowrishankar Yodeyshankar, C.S.I., one of the foremost native statesmen of India, who had served the state in various capacities since 1822. At the age of twenty Takhtsingji found himself the ruler of a territory nearly 3000 square miles in extent. His first public act was to sanction a railway connecting his territory with one of the main trunk lines, which was the first enterprise of its kind on the part of a raja. in western, if not in all, India. The commerce and trade, and the economic and even social development of the state, which came in the wake of this railway, confirmed Takhtsingji in a policy of progressive administration, under which educational establishments, hospitals and dispensaries, trunk roads, bridges, handsome edifices and other public works grew apace. In 1886 he inaugurated a system of constitutional rule, by placing several departments in the hands of four members of a council of state under his own presidency. This innovation, which had the warm support of the governor of Bombay, Lord Reay, provoked a virulent attack upon the chief, who brought his defamers to trial in the High Court of Bombay. The punishment of the ringleaders broke up a system of blackmailing to which rajas used to be regularly exposed, and the public spirit of Takhtsingji in freeing his brother chiefs from this evil was widely acknowledged throughout India, as well as by the British authorities. In 1886 he was created G.C.S.I.; and five years later his hereditary title of thakore was raised to that of maharaja. In 1893 he took the occasion of the opening of the Imperial Institute by Queen Victoria to visit England in order to pay personal homage to the sovereign of the British Empire, on which occasion the University of Cambridge conferred on him the degree of LL.D. He died in 1896.  (M.M.Bh.)