Its too bad for the descendants that the Arakkal family lacked the foresight to demand that the British payout be pegged to inflation, or perhaps they were in no position to negotiate better terms. Either way, the family might be more appreciative that their annual pittance survived the 26th Amendment to the Constitution, passed in 1971, which abolished privy purses and the official recognition of the titles of the ruling families of the erstwhile princely states. The privy purses, which were a condition of accession of the princely territories to newly Independent India, ranged from R5,000 to several lakh, depending on the states. Their abolition was a breach of contract, yes, but one that bolstered Indias republican credentials and, many would argue, was essential for a country that purported to grant equal rights to all its citizens. And at least the abolition of monarchy in India was. all things considered, rather civilised, unlike in France or Russia, where princes and princesses quite literally lost their heads.