BELI RAM (d. 1843). head of the royal to shakhana at Lahore, was the second of the five sons of Misr Divan Chand, a general in Maharaja Ranjit Singh`s army. He joined the Maharaja`s treasury in 1809 and within seven years rose to occupy the highest position in it. Besides, he received numerous jagirs, including that of Ranghar Nangal worth 30,000 rupees a year. Beli Ram maintained strict discipline. He annoyed Raja Dhian Singh, the prime minister, by declining him to show a rare piece of jewellery in the to shakhana, royal treasury, without the Maharaja`s permission.

When during his last illness, the Maharaja, on the astrologers` suggestion, desired the famous Kohinur diamond to be sent to the Jagannath Puri temple, Beli Ram refused to accede to the royal wishes declaring that the diamond was not the property of the Maharaja but that of the State. He made an enemy of Kanvar Nau Nihal Singh by disallowing him entry into the to shakhana without a written order from the Maharaja. In January 1840, Nau Nihal Singh fined Misr Beli Ram 5,00,000 rupees and imprisoned him along with his five brothers. When Maharaja Sher Singh ascended the throne, Misr Beli Ram and his brothers were restored to their old positions.

When Hira Singh Dogra became the prime minister after the assassination of Maharaja Sher Singh, he had Misr Beli Ram and his brothers arrested. Beli Ram was handed over to Shaikh Imam udDin, who kept him in chains in his stables, before strangling him to death on 17 September 1843. Beli Ram had three sons. Ram Das and Thakur Das bocn to his Brahman wife, and Khurram Rai to his Muslim wife. Ram Das escaped to Firozpur, and others to Ludhiana. They returned to Lahore after Hira Singh`s death on 21 December 1844. After annexation, Ram Das got from the British a pension of 2,000 rupees per mensem. Beli Ram`s wives Gulab Devi and Misrani Begam received a pension of 1,387 rupees each.

References :

1. Suri, Sohan Lal, `l/mdat-ut-TwankA. Lahore, 1885-89
2. Bhagat Singh, Maharaja Ranjit Singh and His Times. Delhi, 1990
3. Chopra, B.R ., Kingdom of the Punjab. Hoshiarpur, 1969