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The Maharaja's Paltans: anyone seen it?

Steven Broomfield

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I had a flier some while ago about this, and today there was a post on FB about it. I had a quick Google and it's available from Amazon ... at a price equating to several arms, a couple of legs and possibly an expensive divorce lawyer.

Has anyone seen it? Is it worth the endless discussion with Mrs Broomfield? I am very sorely tempted.


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There is some additional information about the two volume set on this link from an Indian distributor.


I just looked on Abebooks where there were entries for this book for sale.There was one entry which was much cheaper than the Amazon price above. Also Amazon.com has some cheaper prices



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YES - I have just returned from India with this massive 2-Volume tome.

Even the tiniest of the Princely States have been well-researched and illustrated on a total of 1081 A4-sized pages.

The surviving author can be justifiably proud.

I am particularly pleased to see all awards & decorations listed.

We will not see anything better in our lifetime. BUY!


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Thanks Harry. I'll pas this on to Mrs Broomfield with your compliments!

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Oh my word! I am working from home today and my copy has arrived.

It is splendid and I cosole myself with the thought that £195 spent today has purchased not only an unmissable book, but one that is obviously an appreciating asset.


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Thank (insert deity of your choice) it was worth the money! But tell, pray, what is a paltan? I can't find a definition of it.

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Blast: Hobson Jobson has gone into hiding. Never mind: I believe it is the word from which "platoon" is derived and basically refers to a military unit. Hindustani, probably. If I find HJ I'll check.

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Thought that platoon originated from the the French Peleton - 17th century or thereabouts.

According to one source Paltan derived from platoon circuitously apparently from where the East India Company cantonments were located.

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A lot of words we use (in and out of a military context) derive by a roundabout route

This thread, from a few years ago, discusses, amongst other things, "Sepoy", "Spahi", etc ...http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=95389&hl=sipahi#entry891898

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OED has this for 'Platoon':

"Etymology: < French peloton little ball, especially of thread (1417 in Middle French), small body of soldiers (1616), group of competitors in cycling (1884; 1855 in a sporting event in general) < pelote (see pellet n.1) + -on (see -oon suffix). With sense 1acompare earlier platoon n. and also Spanish pelotón (1737 or earlier in this sense)."

And for the date of use has this:

"1702 Mil. Dict. s.v, Peloton, vide Platoon.

1744 N. Tindal Contin. Rapin's Hist. Eng. III. 209/1 Before he suffered any peloton of his battalion to discharge."

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Apologies for not acknolwdging the reply to my question, only just got back to the thread. i did think I saw an echo of 'platoon' in the word, so it's interesting how this might have been the origin of 'paltan' rather than the other way round.

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  • 1 year later...

I was recently checking the link in post 2 for the contents of this book. I'm copying the contents, in the event the link disappears.

Contents The Maharajas' Paltans: A History of the Indian State Forces 1888-1948

Volume 1

Foreword / Field Marshal Sir Chapple GCBC CBE DL

Message / Brigadier (Retd.) Sukhjit Singh, MVC, The Scinde Horse


1. An Historical Overview

2. Subsidiary and Contingent Forces

3. Introduction of the Imperial Service Troops Scheme

4. The Indian State Forces Scheme

5. Indian State Forces Composite Units

6. Officers and other Ranks

7. Indian Army Units Raised from the Indian States

8. Integration on Independence

9. Alirajpur

10. Alwar

11. Bahawalpur

12. Baria

13. Baroda

14. Benares

15. Bharatpur

16. Bhavnagar

17. Bhopal

18. Bikaner

19. Chamba

20. Cochin

21. Cooch Behar

22. Cutch

23. Datia

24. Dewas (Senior)

25. Dhar

26. Dholpur

27. Dhrangadhra

28. Faridkot

29. Gwalior

30. Hyderabad

31. Idar

32. Indore

33. Jaipur

34. Jammu & Kashmir

35. Janjira

36. Jind

37. Jodhpur

38. Junagadh

39. Kapurthala

40. Khairpur

41. Kolhapur

42. Kotah

43. Limbdi

44. Loharu

45. Lunawada

Volume 2

46. Malerkotla

47. Mandi

48. Mewar (Udaipur)

49. Mudhol

50. Mysore

51. Nabha

52. Nawanagar

53. Palanpur

54. Panna

55. Patiala

56. Porbandar

57. Rajpipla

58. Rampur

59. Ratlam

60. Rewa

61. Sachin

62. Sirmoor

63. Suket

64. Tehri-Garhwal

65. Travancore

66. Tripura

67. Miscellaneous Non-ISF States/Estates


Colour Plates







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  • 3 years later...

There has been a book recently published  For the Honour of My House: The Contribution of the Indian Princely States to the First World War by Tony McClenaghan, who was co-author of the above book.


I have made a separate post about it 




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