Zaildar was a native officer in charge of a Zail in the colonial rural administration of Punjab in British India. Each Zail was an administrative unit, extending between 2 to 40 villages.
A Zaildar was more influential than a lambardar (village headman) because a Zail included many villages under it. Zaildars represented the Chaudharis of the former times and were hand picked by the deputy commissioner only after consideration of 'caste' or 'tribe' , local influence, extent of landholding, services rendered to the state by him or his family, and lastly personal character and ability.
Zaildars were essentially revenue collectors and village level representatives of the state who enjoyed remuneration for their duties, life grants equal to one per cent, of the revenue of their zails from the assessment of any single village that they chose.
The following is the list of some of the known Saini Zaildars of British Punjab:
Note: This list is not exhaustive. More information is needed for Ropar , Jalandhar, and Gurdaspur districts, and also for Hoshiarpur, over different periods of time before 1947.
Besides the above the below mentioned Saini personality received the title of ''Rai Bahadur". The rank of the Rai Bahadur was much higher than that of Zaildar. Only one person per district received this title.
In addition to the above Zaildars, Saini Online has received reliable information about the following leading Saini Zamindars of British Punjab:
Chaudhary Takth Mal was a Saini of Bhondi got and a leading Zamindar of Jalandhar district. He and his brother Chaudhary Raj Mal owned 5 villages between them around Bhondiyan and Bhogpur. Chaudhary Raj Mal was built like a wrestler and stood well over 6 feet . He had a dominating persona and it is said that local freebooters and robbers of Jalandhar would spare these villages because of his fear. Noted Bollywood song writer and former Dean of Kurukshetra University, Dr. M.G. Hashmat, who wrote the lyrics of award winning film "Kora Kagaz" was in Chaudhary Takth Mal's line. This Saini zamindar family patronized the local Sufi shrine of Madali Sharif. Madali Sharif was equally patronized by Hindu and Muslim populaces of Jalandhar. Under the influence of this shrine, the eldest son of every Hindu family had a Muslim name and the eldest son of every Muslim family had Hindu name. Some of the descendants of Chaudhary Takth Mal were accordingly named as Mehtab Gulshan Hashmat, Chaudhary Khidmat Rai, Chaudhary Mushtaq Rai , etc even though they were all observant Hindus.
Chaudhary Takth Mal's decendants are now settled in western countries and are very prosperous. In 1992 a scholar wrote the following about the Sainis of Bhogpur:
"The village Sarpanch belongs to Saini caste. The Sainis are not very large in numbers but they play significant role in village as they are very rich and also well educated."
Chaudhary Ganda Ram Saini of Haveli Khurd was a Zaildar of Ropar in 19th century.
Note: This reference is based on a written testimony sent to Saini Online by one of Ch. Ganda Ram's descendant. If you have any citable reference about this personality , kindly contact Saini Online.
"A Zaildar was more influential than a lambardar (village headman) because a Zail included many villages under it. Zaildars represented the Chaudharis of the former times "
The Indian Army and the Making of Punjab,pp xxv, By Rajit K. Mazumder, Permanent Black