Saini Zaildars and Zamindars

Known Saini Zaildars of British Punjab

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:

  • Chaudhari Jawahir Singh  was Zaildar of Hoshiarpur  had 19 villages under him.
  • Chaudhari Jaimal Singh was Zaildar of Dasuya  had 22 villages under him.
  • Chaudhari Mohan Lal of Hissar.
  • Chaudhari Nand Ram Saini s/o Zaildar Ch. Mohan Lal of Hissar. He inherited Zaildari from his father upon his death in 1906. He gave up this rank in 1921 to support freedom movement after which he became member of Congress. He was also head of Hindu Mahasabha for Hissar briefly before rejoining congress again in 1959. He died in in 1973 at the age of 90.
  • Chaudhari Bhola Ram of Bhola Chak 178 , Baria (Punjab-Pakistan)
  • Sardar Sujan Singh Saini  of Phulkiyan Riyasat (Patiala State) was among the biggest landlords in Phulkiyan. He was the son  of  Sardar Jai Singh Saini who was a part of nobility of Patiala state. Sardar Jai Singh was a descendant of  Sardar Nanu Singh Saini  and was the royal poet and a close advisor of Maharaja Karam Singh. Sardar Sujan Singh's estate was the second largest in Phulkiyan riyasat in terms of land that any nobleman owned.

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.

Saini Rai Bahadur

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.

  • Rai Bahadur Chaudhary Dewan Chand Saini, MBE

 

Other leading Zamindars and Zaildars per Informant Accounts

In addition to the above Zaildars, Saini  Online has received reliable information about the following leading Saini Zamindars of British Punjab:
 
  • Chaudhary Takth Mal Bhondi of Bhogpur Bhondiyan in Jalandhar District
 
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."
-Socio-cultural correlates of environmental pollution, Study conducted in Hoshiarpur District, Punjab, India. Palwinder Singh, pp 40, Anmol Publications, 1992
  • Zaildar Chaudhary Ganda Ram Saini of Haveli Khurd, Ropar
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.

 

 

References

  • Final Report of Revised Settlement, Hoshiarpur District, pp 58, 59 1879-84 By J. A. L. Montgomery
  • Saini Jagat: Utpati Ate Vikas, pp 121, Prof. Surjit Singh Nanuan, Manjota Publications, Patiala, 2008
  • Looking Back: The Autobiography of Mehr Chand Mahajan, Former Chief Justice of India, pp 45,Mehr Chand Mahajan, Published by Asia Pub. House, 1963
  • History of Hisar: From Inception to Independence, 1935-1947, pp 312, M. M. Juneja, Published by Modern Book Co., 1989
  • The Indian Army and the Making of Punjab,pp xxv, By Rajit K. Mazumder, Permanent Black
  • Municipalities and city fathers in the Punjab, 1963, pp 85, 152, 206, Abnash Chander Tewari, Adrash Pub. House 
 

"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