The political concept of the Malays was essentially a product of the society they lived in. Before the British intervened in the Malay States in 1874, the Malay society was a feudal society par excellence. The Ruler, known as the Sultan, was eminently feudal and autocratic. He was responsible to none. He was assisted, in his capacity as Ruler, by senior and minor chiefs whose number varied from State to State. For example, in Pahang, there were four Major Chiefs, known as Orang Besar Ber-Empat. Under them there were the Orang Besar Lapan, the Eight Chiefs, and this group was followed by that of sixteen and thirty two. This was essentially a Hindu political pattern. In other Malay States this regular arrangement did not exist, but the main principle remained, namely, that there ran in descending order, from the Sultan downwards to the Penghulu, the village headman, an absolute autocracy. Each chief or Penghulu in his respective capacity was a sultan miniature.