Conquering the Maharajas – ONLINE LECTURE

Date / time: 19 March, 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Conquering the Maharajas - ONLINE LECTURE


This lecture examines the overlooked history of princely India through the tumultuous end of British Empire in South Asia and the early years of Indian and Pakistani independence. The over 560 princely states dotting India’s political landscape comprised 40 per cent of the British Raj’s territory and contained nearly one hundred million people. Far from playing second fiddle to events, the princely states played an integral role in the transfer of power in 1947. Under the Raj they were politically autonomous and the rulers of each state had to be cajoled and in some cases forced to accede to India or Pakistan. The princes’ commitment to preserving their sovereignty not only threatened the territorial integrity of both South Asian countries but brought them to the brink of war on multiple occasions.

Harrison Akins is a political scientist and writer based in Washington, DC, who has researched, written and advised on South Asian politics, conflict, governance and development from several positions within both academia and the US government. He is the author of Conquering the Maharajahs: India’s Princely States and the End of Empire 1930-50 (Manchester University Press, 2023).

This online lecture is presented by The British India Historical Trust. For more information and to book tickets, please visit