Location of Princely State of Bhowal
The native state of Bhawal or Bhowal was bounded by the princely state of Maharam in the north; by the princely state of Mawsynram in the northeast; by the princely state of Malai Sohmat in the east, by the princely state of Langrin in the west; and by the British Province of Assam in the south. The Princely State of Bhowal was under the administrative control of the States of Assam Agency.
History of Princely State of Bhowal
The territory came under the protection of the British East India Company in the year 1832. The native ruler of the princely state of Bhowal held the title of Syiem. There were 2 major branches of the ruling family of the Syiem, namely the Black Syiems and the White Syiems. During the 19th century, members of both the families were elected rulers and asserted the right to alternate in the reign among the 2 branches.
The native ruler or Syiem of Bhowal was succeeded by his eldest brother, failing which, by the ruler's eldest nephews, grand nephews, or cousins, in no particular order, but at all times in the female line. As a result of the failing male heirs, the native ruler was succeeded by the eldest of the previous ruler's sisters, nieces, female first cousins, grand nieces and distant female cousins, in that order and always in the female line. A female syiem was succeeded by her eldest son, nephew and so on, in the stated order. In case a female Syiem does not rule the princely state, her husband and the husbands of other females in the ruling family were permitted to administer the state with the support of the State Darbar. The husbands held the style of Kongors.
However this system did not provide total claim to succession, as the heirs might have been disqualified from the succession by the electoral college due to several reasons under Khasi custom and religion. The syiems of Bhowal were nominated by the chiefs of the 8 major ruling families. Only the members of the Electoral College decided the nomination of the syiem of Bhowal and neither the people of the state nor the members of the ruling family had any voice in the nomination process. In case the electors could not agree upon the election of the native ruler, all the adult males of the princely state elected the syiem.
Accession of Princely State of Bhowal
After the departure of the British Government of India and the Partition of India in the year 1947, the erstwhile princely state of Bhowal was acceded to the newly independent Union of India, which also known as the Dominion of India, by the Syiem of Bhowal or Bhawal state. At present the region is included as a part of the Indian state of Meghalaya.
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