Agencies of British India

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An agency of British India was an internally autonomous or semi-autonomous subdivision of India whose external affairs were governed by an agent designated by the Viceroy of India.[1][page needed]


The agencies varied in character from fully autonomous self-governing dependencies such as princely states, where the agent functioned mainly as a representative of the Viceroy, to tribal tracts which were integral parts of the British Empire and where the agent was completely in charge of law and order. The agent of a protected tract or princely state usually lived outside the territory in his charge, as opposed to a Resident who usually lived within his confines and was frequently the District Collector of the adjoining British district.

Civil and criminal justice in agencies were usually administered through locally made laws, and the Indian Penal Code was not applicable by default in these agencies.

List of agencies in 1947[edit]

Agency Formation Dissolution Constituent Agencies and Residencies Capital/Headquarters
Gilgit Agency 1889 1974 No constituent agencies Gilgit
Punjab States Agency 1921 1947 No constituent agencies Shimla
North-West Frontier States Agency
  • Dir Agency
  • Swat Agency
  • Chitral Agency
Baluchistan Agency 1877 1947 No constituent agencies Kalat
Rajputana Agency 1817 1947 Mount Abu
Central India Agency 1854 1947
  • Bundelkhand Agency
  • Bhopal Agency
  • Malwa Agency
  • Indore Residency
Baroda, Western India and Gujarat States Agency 1944 1947 No constituent agencies Baroda
Eastern States Agency 1933 1947
  • Chhatisgarh States Agency
  • Orissa States Agency
  • Bengal States Agency
Deccan States Agency 1933 1947 No constituent agencies Kolhapur
Madras States Agency 1923 1947 No constituent agencies Trivandrum

Former Agencies before 1947[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Great Britain India Office. The Imperial Gazetteer of India. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1908.

Sources and external links[edit]