One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
In India between 1948 and 1956 (the date of the States Reorganization Act): (an administrative title accorded to) the principal raja of a state comprising the territory of one or more former princely states.
1940s; earliest use found in The Times. From modern Sanskrit rājapramukha principal among kings (also with vernacular pronunciation rājpramukh) from Sanskrit rāja-, combining form of rājan king + Sanskrit pramukha first, foremost from pra- forth, forward + mukha face. The first element is now sometimes reanalysed as from Hindi rāj state, government.
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