NANU MALL (d. 1791), minister and army general in Patiala state, was born at Sunam, in Sarigrur district. He came of a mercantile Aggarval family and became known as a highly capable administrator and a brave general. He acquired proficiency in classical languages Sanskrit, Arabic and Persian, and served in a civil capacity under Baba Ala Singh, founder of the Patiala dynasty. It was at the court of his successor, Maharaja Amar Singh, (1748-82), that Nanu Mall rose to be the Diwan of the state. In 1778, he was deputed by the Maharaja to assist Raja Gajpat Singh of Jind against Rahim Khan of Harisi, who had attacked his territory.
Rahim Khan was slain in the battle that ensued and the Diwan obtained much booty in horses, elephants and arms. He then proceeded to occupy important places such as Harisi, Hissar, Rohtak, Tosham, Meham and Gohana, all in present day Haryana state. When, on Raja Amar Singh`s death in 1782, Sahib Singh ascended the throne of Patiala, he was only eight. Owing to the Maharaja`s minority, the affairs of the state fell into disorder. Rani Hukma, grandmother of the minor Maharaja,had Nanu Mall appointed as maddrulmahdm or the prime minister of the state. Ramji Das Sayyah, the author of the Tankhi Sundm compares Diwan Nanu Mall with Bairam Khan, the tutor of Akbar the Great, who administered the kingdom during the latter`s minority.
Diwan Nanu Mall put down a large number of revolts against the state and established peace and order. But with the death of Rani Hukma, who was his staunchest supporter, began his downfall. He had incurred the hostility of other members of the royal family and of the courtiers by his arrogant manner. He was eventually dismissed from service, along with his sons and relatives. When he failed to regain his position, he revolted and, with the help of Nawab `Ata Ullah of Malerkotia, led an attack against the state forces, but was defeated. Nanu Mall died at Malerkotia on 21 November 1791.
1. Griffin, Lepel, The Rajas of the Punjab [Reprint]. Delhi, 1977
2. Gian Singh, Giani, Twarikh. Guru Khalsa [Reprint]. Patiala, 1970