Rai Bahadur Chaudhari Dewan Chand

Rai Bahadur Chaudhari Dewan Chand Saini, MBE  (1887-unknown) of Gurdaspur  was a well-known criminal lawyer and politician of British Punjab.

Family and early life

Chaudhary Dewan Chand Saini was the son of Chaudhary Fateh Chand who was a Wazeer (minister) in the erstwhile princely state of Chamba. His father died when he was merely seven years old. He was brought up by Lala Ram Sharan who was a pagvat friend of Chaudhary Fateh Chand. Both friends had cemented their friendship by exchanging turbans and had sworn to take care of each others family in case of death of one of them.

Lala Ram Sharan who brought up Chaudhary Dewan Chand intended him to become an engineer but Dewan Chand chose the profession of law instead. In 1915 he gained law degree from Lahore and in the same year he got married to Bibi Achhra Devi of Marara (Dina Nagar, district Gurdaspur). He had eight daughters and two sons. One of his sons retired from the rank of Major in the British Indian Army.

Career as a lawyer and politician

Chaudhary Dewan Chand Saini had a distinguished career as an attorney. He was a highly reputed lawyer of Punjab High Court (Lahore) and was later appointed as the leader of its Criminal Bar.

He was also a member of Legislative Council of colonial Punjab. As an elected legislator , he was known for his tireless advocacy of the agricultural communities of Punjab.

He was also subsequently awarded the title of 'Rai Bahadur' by the British government.

Leader of Saini community of Punjab

Due to his repute as a distinguished lawyer and his political clout as a member of Legislative Council of Punjab, Chaudhary Dewan Chand was also known as undisputed and most articulate spokesman of Saini community of Punjab during his time.

Reportedly he successfully used his political clout to get the colonial British Indian government to raise a new regiment called 'Saini Infantry' which was to recruit exclusively from Saini community of Punjab. It is noteworthy that although this community was already enlisted as a martial class since the institution of this category via Punjab Alienation of Land Act of 1900  and members of this community were recruited in the British Indian Army since its earliest recruitment history in Punjab , this was the first time they were able to have a dedicated regiment or a division exclusively named after their tribal identity. Hitherto they had been recruited in regiments such as Sikh Regiment, Grenadiers, Sikh Pioneers, Mountain Gunners, Sappers, etc. along with troops recruited from other martial classes. Saini Infantry, along with Christian Infantry, was completely disbanded after 1947 in the general movement of Indian Army towards more open and equitable recruitment policy.

Awards and Decorations

Rai Bahadur Chaudhary Dewan Chand Saini was also among the most highly decorated public figures of his time. He earned following awards and titles during his lifetime:

  • Rai Sahib (along with two other personalities from the district)
  • Rai Bahadur (only personality within district Gurdaspur to gain this distinction)
  • Order of British Empire (MBE)
He was also alloted a large estate of several Murabas by the colonial government in recoginition of his distinguished public services.


  1. "Saini, RB, DC, MBE, 2 June 1943." The India Office and Burma Office list for ..., Volume 56, pp 106, Great Britain. India Office, 1947
  2. "Chaudhri Dewan Chand Saini was another lawyer practicing on the criminal side those days. Later on he became Rai Sahib and leader of the Criminal Bar, but unfortunately died of cancer at a comparatively young age." Looking Back: The Autobiography of Mehr Chand Mahajan, Former Chief Justice of India, pp 45,Mehr Chand Mahajan, Published by Asia Pub. House, 1963
  3. The Punjab Legislative Council Debates. Official Report,pp 1028 & 1047, Published By Legislative Council, Punjab (India), 1936
  4. Mahatma Hansraj: Maker of the Modern Punjab, pp 132, Sri Ram Sharma, Published by Arya Pradeshik Pratinidhi Sabha, 1941
  5. The Punjab and the war , pp 185, Maxwell Studdy Leigh, Lahore, Printed by the Superintendent, Government Printing, Punjab, 1922
  6. "Chaudhri Parkash Chand Saini, son of Rai Bahadur Diwan Chand, Civil Lines, Gurdaspur," pp 503, Punjab (India). Legislature. Legislative Assembly - 1964
  7. Saini Jagat: Utpati Ate Vikas, pp 116, Professor Surjit Singh Nanua, Manjota Publications, 2008
  8. Atharvaprātiśākhyam, Surya Kanta, Meharchand Lachhmandas Publications, 1999
  9. Saini Pages, Saini Etihas- Jatpat Ate Saini Sansar Kharday Vichon, pp 4, Surinder Singh Pama, North American Saini Cultural Association (NASCA), Toronto, 2009
  10. Punjab District Gazetteers, Volume XIV A. , Jullundur District with Maps, pp 269, 1904 , Lahore, Printed at The "Civil and Military Gazette" Press
  11. The Indian Army and the Making of Punjab,pp 99, 205, By Rajit K. Mazumder, Permanent Black
  12. Annual Class Return, 1919, pp 364-7
  13. Annual Class Return,1925, pp 96-99
  14. "Men of this tribe not seldom take service especially in cavalry." Final report of the revised settlement of the Jullundur District in the Punjab, pp 84, W.E. Purser, BCS, The "Civil and Military Gazette" Press, Contractors to the Punjab Government, Lahore, 1892