Rao Bahadur
Title Badge for Rao Bahadur
TypeCivilian Honour
Country British India
Presented by Viceroy of India
EligibilityHindu Indian
StatusDiscontinued (since 1947)
Next (higher)Dewan Bahadur
Next (lower)Rao Saheb

Rao Bahadur (in South India) and Rai Bahadur (in North India), abbreviated R.B., was a title of honour bestowed during British rule in India to individuals for outstanding 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 "King", and Bahadur means "Brave". Bestowed mainly on Hindus, the equivalent title for Muslim and Parsi subjects was Khan Bahadur. For Sikhs it was Sardar Bahadur.

The title was given to recognise and reward individuals who had made significant contributions in various fields such as public service, commerce, industry, and philanthropy.

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

Civil servants and government officials

Commerce and industry

Rai Sahib and Rai Bahadur title badges of Jamuna Das Choudhury

Engineering, science and medicine

Law and justice

Literature and arts

Philanthropy, religion and charity

Police and emergency services


See also


  1. ^ a b 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. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n The Indian biographical dictionary, by C. Hayavando Rao, 1915 (page 26)
  5. ^ Several sources:
  6. ^ a b c d e The Indian biographical dictionary, by C. Hayavando Rao, 1915 (page 27)
  7. ^ MM Thakur, Myself Surprised, pg 88, https://linguae.weebly.com/uploads/3/6/5/7/3657496/myself_surprised.pdf
  8. ^ 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
  9. ^ The Who's who in Madras: ... A Pictorial Who's who of Distinguished Personages, Princes, Zemindars and Noblemen in the Madras Presidency. Pearl Press. 1939.
  10. ^ "Caste and Capitalism in Colonial India".
  11. ^ "Jamnalal Bajaj". The Print. 11 February 2019. Retrieved 14 June 2020.
  12. ^ Govindarajulu, Rajesh (2015-07-03). "Pioneers in textile". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2021-01-23.
  13. ^ Lewis, Sir Hawthorne (1954). Speeches Delivered by His Excellency Sir Hawthorne Lewis, ..., Governor of Orissa, 1941-1946. Government of Orissa. pp. 13, 35. Retrieved 10 April 2024.
  14. ^ Datta, K. K. (1958). History of the Freedom Movement in Bihar (1942-1947). Vol. 3. Patna, India: Government of Bihar. p. 237.
  15. ^ "Sir Kailas Chandra Bose". The Indian Medical Gazette. 62 (4): 235–237. 1927. PMC 5197519.
  16. ^ "Biography of Ch. Ram Dhan Singh". Dr Ramd Dhan Singh.
  17. ^ "Former District Judges since the Creation of the Judgeship". 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, G. S. (1991). Free Masonry in India. G. S. Gupta (IAS).
  22. ^ Indian Factories & Labour Reports: Deputy Commissioner S. N. Mukherjee. Law Publishing House. 1963. Supreme Court of India.