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Raja or Raja ( Sanskrit राजा Raja [ rɑːʤɑː is], "Lord, lord, king"), a title of rulers in India and parts of Southeast Asia ; the feminine form is Rani ( राणी rāṇī [ ˈrɑːɳiː ]). Maharaja means "great ruler", "great king" or "grand prince".


The Hindu rulers in India mostly carried the title Raja or Maharaja , sometimes also Rao or Maharao , whereas the Islamic rulers used the titles Nawab , Shah , Sultan or, in the Mughal Empire, the Mughal Great . The word Raja means "ruler"; Prince regents were also called Raja . In parts of South India the title Raya was written and spoken.

South East Asia

In the Malay-speaking part of Southeast Asia ( Malaysia and Indonesia ), Raja occurs in the same meaning as the title of ruler and is usually translated as "king". The use of the title is varied and not determined by religion: on the Hindu island of Bali , which belongs to Indonesia , the rulers have been called Raja since ancient times . The title is common in West Timor and Sumatra . So with the Batak North Sumatra, also for clan elders (see the Marga ) and for clan chiefs and village kings; for example, the title was used as part of the name, for example in the case of the last priest-king of Toba-Batak Si Singamangaraja XII. At the time of the Dutch colonial rule, the local district leaders bore the title Radja , usually in connection with the corresponding place name, such as Radja Siantar for the ruler of Pematang Siantar .

In Malaysia, rulers of sovereign states are referred to as Raja , but also the (non-sovereign) Muslim ruler of the state of Perlis , while his colleagues in the eight other monarchically organized states are referred to as Sultan or, in Negeri Sembilan , as Yang di-Pertuan Besar ( literally translated: the one chosen to be great ). Perlis is not received as an independent "kingdom", especially since it is by far the smallest monarchical state in Malaysia. Heirs to the throne are often called Raja Muda (Malay muda "young") in the sultanates . The conference of rulers is called Majlis Raja-Raja .

The English-born Brooke family , who ruled the north coast of Borneo in what is now the Malaysian state of Sarawak in the 19th and 20th centuries , were called the white Rajas .

Some of the local princes in the pre-Hispanic Philippines also bore the title of Raja .


A piece in Chaturanga , the forerunner of chess , is also called Raja .

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Royal Timor - A website on the Kings, Rajas and Dynasties of Timor ( Memento from January 28, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) (English): Noble families in West Timor
  2. Hans Hägerdal: Lords of the Land, Lords of the Sea; Conflict and Adaptation in Early Colonial Timor, 1600–1800 , multiple mentions , first page xiii, BRILL 2012, ISBN 9004253505 (English), accessed on August 21, 2020.
  3. Perlis Government website on the Raja of Perlis (Malaysian), accessed August 21, 2020.
  4. Federal Constitution: Chapter 2 — The Conference of Rulers, Article 38, p. 43 (as of 2010, English) , accessed October 19, 2018.
  5. ^ Robert Payne: The White Rajahs of Sarawak , Funk & Wagnalls 1960, ISBN 0195826876 ; John H. Walker: Power and Prowess. The origins of Brooke kingship in Sarawak , Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, NSW Australia 2002, ISBN 0-8248-2500-4 .