One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The highest honorific title awarded to distinguished Indians in British India and the Republic of India.
Late 19th century; earliest use found in Manual Titles North-Western Provinces. From Hindi rāy bahādur honorific title awarded in British India from rāy king, lord + bahādur bahadur, after Marathi rāo bahādur, itself after Persian khān bahādur.
Rai Bahadur/ˌrʌɪ bəˈhɑːdʊə/
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