Title Badge
Diwan Bahadur Title Badge, India.png
Rao Bahadur Medal.jpg
Insignia for Diwan Bahadur and Rao Bahadur
TypeTitle holder's insignia
Awarded forFaithful service or acts of public welfare
Presented bythe Emperor of India
EligibilityNative Indian civilians and Viceroy's commissioned officers
StatusNo longer awarded
Established12 December 1911
First awardedJune 1912
Last awarded1947
Title Badge (India) 1st class. Ribbon.png

Ribbon: 1st class
Waterloo Medal BAR.svg

Ribbon: 2nd class
Title Badge (India) 3rd class. Ribbon.jpg

Ribbon: 3rd class

Title Badges were presented to Indian citizens who received certain formal titles of honour during British rule in India. They ceased to be awarded in 1947 on Indian independence.


The system for bestowing titles on prominent Indians pre-dated the British presence in India. As part of a wider awards system, the British used these traditional Indian titles to reward native Indian civilians and Viceroy's commissioned officers of the Indian Army for faithful service and acts of public welfare.[1]

At the Delhi Durbar celebrations in 1911, King George V established a series of badges to be worn by title holders, enabling them to publicly display the title held.[2] The award was dis-established in 1947, upon Indian independence.[3]


There were three classes, each sub-divided to reflect the religion, and sometimes region, of the title holder.[1][4]

First Class

Second Class

Third Class[b]

Those of other religions received the title considered most appropriate, for example native Indian Christians with a Hindu sounding name would receive a Hindu title,[4] with Jews receiving a Muslim title.[5]

Title badges took precedence after all British and Indian orders and decorations, and before campaign medals.[2] In most cases, recipients proceeded from the lowest class to the higher grades, with only the most senior title, and badge, used. Ranking below a knighthood, these titles were dropped by any holder who became a knight of a British Order, for example the Order of the Star of India or the Order of the Indian Empire.[1]

Members of the first class of the Order of British India could also use the title of Sardar Bahadur, with members of the second class using Bahadur.[6] In these cases, the Title Badge was not worn.


The badge consisted of a radiant star topped by an imperial crown, with a laurel wreath draped below the crown. A central medallion bore the appropriate title on a band surrounding the crowned profile of the king, either George V or George VI. Facing right until 1933, the design was then changed to show George V's bust facing left. The George VI version showed his bust facing left.[2]
The reverse was plain, and was engraved with the name and details of the recipient.[2]

All three classes were the same size: 58 millimetres (2.3 in) in height and 45 millimetres (1.8 in) wide, differentiated by their metal finish and ribbon:[1]

All three classes were worn around the neck from the 39 millimetres (1.5 in) wide ribbon,[1] although the badge was sometimes unofficially worn on the left chest alongside other medals.[c]

See also

Notes and References

  1. ^ Often also awarded to Sikhs from the Punjab.
  2. ^ There may have been a Sardar Sahib Title Badge for Sikhs from the Punjab. Elsewhere they were rewarded as Hindus.
  3. ^ Confirmed by contemporary photographs, e.g. C. S. Ratnasabhapathy Mudaliar
  1. ^ a b c d e Captain H. Taprell Dorling. (1956). Ribbons and Medals. A.H.Baldwin & Sons, London. p. 111.
  2. ^ a b c d John W. Mussell, ed. (2015). Medal Yearbook 2015. Token Publishing Limited, Honiton, Devon. p. 305.
  3. ^ Sharma, B. K. Introduction to the Constitution of India, Published by Prentice-Hall, India, 2007, ISBN 8120332466, p. 83.
  4. ^ a b Tagore, Abanindranath; Tagore, Gaganendranath (2018). Fantasy Fictions from the Bengal Renaissance: Abanindranath Tagore's The Make-Believe Prince (Kheerer Putul); Gaganendranath Tagore's Toddy-Cat the Bold. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-909217-8. Retrieved 12 August 2020.
  5. ^ Joan G. Roland (1998). The Jewish communities of India. Transaction Publishers. p. 35. ISBN 0765804395. Retrieved 12 August 2020.
  6. ^ "No. 34694". The London Gazette. 26 September 1939. p. 6511.