BHAVANI DAS, DlWAN (1770-1834), was the son of Diwan Thakur Das, revenue and finance minister of the Afghan king, Ahmad Shah Durrani. Bhavani Das succeeded to the position after the death of his father and served successively Shah Zaman, Shah Mahmud and Shah Shuja` until 1808 when Maharaja Ranjit Singh having heard of his reputation, invited him to Lahore to take charge of the State`s finances. At Lahore, Bhavani Das set up 12 departments called daftars to deal with all civil and military accounts. In the districts of different subahs treasuries were established to maintain regular accounts of income and expenditure.

In the newly conquered territories, settlement officers were appointed to regulate revenue and finance. On occasions, Diwan Bhavani Das also performed diplomatic and military duties. He was one of the Maharaja`s counsellors at the negotiations with the British envoy, Charles T. Metcalfe. In 1809, he was sent to Jammu in command of a Sikh force, which conquered and annexed the city. In 1813, he reduced Haripur state in the Kangra hills; in 1816, he annexed the Ramgarhia estates to the Lahore kingdom.

Twice, in 1816 and 1817, he commanded a division of the Lahore army in the Multan expeditions. He also took part in the expeditions to Peshawar and the Yusafzai country. Diwan Bhavani Das suffered a temporary eclipse in his career when he was accused of misappropriation of State revenues, and was expelled from Lahore to the hills of Kangra. He was, however, soon recalled from Kangra and reinstated in his position as the charges against him could not be proved. He remained in the service of the Maharaja till his death in 1834.

References :

1. Suri, Sohan Lal, `Umdat-ut-Twarikh. Lahore, 1885-89
2. Griffin, Lepel, and C.F. Massy, Chiefs and Families of Note in the Punjab. Lahore, 1909
3. Garrett, H.L.O., and G.L. Chopra, eds., Events at the Court of Ranjit Singh. Delhi, 1986
4. Bhagat Singh, Maharaja Ranjit Singh and His Times. Delhi, 1990
5. Latif, Syad Muhammad, History of the Panjab, Delhi, 1964