Context: Begum Munawwar-ul-Nisa, the wife of the last ruler of Malerkotla, Nawab Iftikhar Ali Khan, recently passed away. Malerkotla, a town in Punjab, is home to the renowned 19th-century Mubarak Manzil Palace. This historic palace is not only architecturally significant but also holds deep emotional connections for both Sikhs and Muslims.

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  • Malerkotla, governed by a Muslim family until 1982, has its roots tracing back to Sadruddin, also known as Sheikh Sadar-i-Jahan, a Sawani Afghan from Daraband in Khurasan.
  • Initially, Sadruddin settled in Bhumsi, a location situated along a tributary of the river Sutlej. 
  • In 1450, Bahlol Khan Lodhi, who was the governor of Lahore and Sirhind at the time, pledged that when he assumed the role of the ruler of Delhi, he would marry his daughter to Sadruddin.
  • Bahlol Lodhi became the first Afghan ruler of Delhi in 1451, and in 1454, his daughter Taj Murassa Begum was wedded to Sadruddin.
  • Furthermore, Bahlol Lodhi granted Sadruddin a piece of land comprising 12 large villages and 56 smaller ones, including the village of Maler.
  • The population of Bhumsi swiftly expanded, leading to the establishment of the town of Maler in 1466, which, in due course, encompassed Bhumsi and later, Kotla.
  • Sadruddin became a prominent spiritual leader and at the symbolic centre of Malerkotla lies the mazar of Sheikh Haidar, as he came to be known.

Guru Gobind Singh and Nawab Sher Mohammad Khan:

  • A descendant of Sadruddin, Nawab Sher Mohammed Khan, was a loyal vassal of Emperor Aurangzeb.
  • He actively supported Mughal forces in the Battle of Chamkaur Sahib, where they faced Guru Gobind Singh’s army.
  • However, his principles and sense of justice led him to vehemently oppose the cruel treatment inflicted upon the Guru’s two sons, Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh, by the Viceroy of Sirhind.
  • The Nawab passionately argued that such crimes against children were entirely against the noble teachings of the Quran and the principles of Islam.
  • Guru Gobind Singh, despite the tragic outcome, expressed his gratitude to the Nawab of Malerkotla for his courageous intervention.
  • As a token of his appreciation, the Guru bestowed upon him a Hukamnama and a Kirpan, both of which remain cherished possessions of the Malerkotla household.

During and after the Colonial Rule:

  • Malerkotla served as the seat of princely state under the British Raj.
  • An uprising led by the Namdharis was suppressed, and the colonial government sanctioned the execution of both the captured rebels and individuals suspected of involvement in the rebellion.
  • Throughout the tumultuous partition of India, there was a remarkable absence of riots or bloodshed within any part of Maler Kotla State.
  • This period of peace and harmony can be largely attributed to the actions of the last Nawab, Iftikhar Ali Khan of Malerkotla, who chose to remain in India and played a pivotal role in maintaining tranquility during this challenging time.
  • In 1947, this state joined the Union of India and later amalgamated with neighbouring princely states to form the Patiala and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU).
  • In a subsequent reorganization in 1956, the territories once belonging to the state of Malerkotla were incorporated into the state of Punjab.

Prelims Previous Year Question (2017): 

Q. The object of the Butler Committee of 1927 was to?

(a) Define the jurisdiction of the Central and Provincial Governments.

(b) Define the powers of the Secretary of State for India.

(c) Impose censorship on national press.

(d) Improve the relationship between the Government of India and the Indian States.

Answer: (d)

Source: The Hindu

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