(Last Updated on : 28-07-2012)
The Princely State of Malai Sohmat was an erstwhile non-salute native state of India which was under the indirect rule of the British Government of India
. The state was perhaps the leading political entity in the Khasi Kingdom
. The region was managed by native rulers under the supervision of the British authorities. The state comprised of a total population of 684 in the year 1941. The princely state of Malai Sohmat was incorporated as a part of the states of Khasi kingdom in Meghalaya
, located in northeastern India, south of Bhutan, which was under the rule of the British Province of Assam
. The territory of Malai Sohmat lied towards the southern region of the Eastern Khasi States.
Location of Princely State of Malai Sohmat
The native state was bounded by the princely state of Bhowal in the east and north; by the princely state of Dwara Nongtyrnem
in the east; and by the British Province of Assam
in the south. The Princely State of Malai Sohmat was under the administrative control of the States of Assam Agency.
History of Princely State of Malai Sohmat
The native ruler of the princely state of Malai Sohmat held the title of Syiem. The territory came under the protection of the British East India Company
in the year 1832. There were 2 types of Syiems in the state, a ruling Syiem and an assistant Syiem. The ruling syiem was elected from the Malai dynasty; where as the assistant syiem was elected from the Sohmat dynasty. The Sohmat clan did not possess any right to the syiemship, while male members of the Malai ruling family were present and available. Only the ruling Syiem belonging to the Malai dynasty was recognized by the British administration.
The native ruler or Syiem of Malai Sohmat 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 woman was generally not elected as a Syiem of Malai Sohmat state. As a result of the failing male heirs in the Sohmat clan, the chiefs of the 5 clans, who acted as the syiem nominating darbar, decided and nominated the native ruler. 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 chiefs of 5 major clans in the Khasi Hill States comprised the electoral college of Malai Sohmat state.
Accession of Princely State of Malai Sohmat
The princely state of Malai Sohmat was acceded to the newly independent Union of India
by the last Syiem of the territory. The nation was divided between India and Pakistan, after the political withdrawal of the British Government of India
from the country on 15th August 1947. The native rulers of the former Indian princely states were given the choice of acceding to either the Dominion of India or the Dominion of Pakistan. The Syiem of Malai Sohmat decided to amalgamate with the Republic of India. At present the region is a part of Meghalaya.