Drawing on fieldwork conducted in a provincial town in western Uttar Pradesh, this chapter asks: What is the role of force (danda), kinship and kingship ideals of protection (suraksha) in structuring de facto forms of personal/caste (criminal) sovereignty? And what do such forms of authority and power tell us about state sovereignty and ‘the rule of law’ in contemporary UP and India? I answer these questions by focusing on a crime that is at the heart of the careers of many of the gangsters-politicians and their mafia-like political enterprises: protection rackets.