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MULRAJ, DIWAN (1814-1851), son of Diwan Savan Mall, the governor of Multan, served as the kardar of Shuja`abad and Jharig during the lifetime of his father. He succeeded his father to the governorship of Multan after the latter`s death on 29 September 1844. The subah of Multan then included the territories of Jharig and the Derajat, and he had to pay to government annually a sum of 23,00,000 rupees. Raja Hira Singh, gaining power at the court, imposed a heavy nazrana, or succession fee, of about 30 lakhs of rupees on Mill Raj, which he was unable to pay. But Mul Raj`s real troubles began when Lal Singh became the prime minister in November 1845.

He arbitrarily revised the terms of Mul Raj`s appointment by reducing his territories and enhancing annual payments, demanded the statement of accounts for the preceding 10 years and ordered that appeals against the decision of the governor of Multan would be heard by the Lahore Darbar. To overawe Mul Raj, a force was despatched to Multan. Mul Raj chafed under the stringent terms imposed and appealed to the British Resident at Lahore, Henry Lawrence, at whose intercession a new settlement was effected in October 1846.

Mul Raj promptly paid up the arrears, but one third of his territory had been taken away from him and the revenue payable annually enhanced. Further, the Darbar introduced export and import duties in territories administered by him. He also felt offended by the Darbar`s decision to hear appeals against his judicial decisions. In December 1847, he tendered his resignation which was accepted, effective from March 1848, by Sir Frederick Curric, the new British Resident at Lahore.

When on 19 April 1848, Kahn Singh Man, the governor designate, accompanied by two British officers, P.A. Vans Agnew and Lieutenant Anderson, took charge from Mul Raj, his troops revolted, killed the two British officers and held Mul Raj a prisoner. But Mul Raj became the symbol of Sikhs` discontent and they rallied round him to strike against the British. The incidents at Mullan led to the second Anglo Sikh war at the conclusion of which Mul Raj was tried by a court of inquiry and sentenced to death. The Governor General, Lord Dalhousic, however, commuted his sentence to life imprisonment. Mul Raj was first detained at Lahore and then, in January 1850, taken to Calcutta where he fell seriously ill. He died on 11 August 1851 near Buxar on his way to Banaras.

References :

1. Sun, Sohan Lal, Umdat ut-Twarikh. Lahore, 1885-89
2. Griffin, Lepel and C.F. Massy, Chiefs and Families of Note in the Punjab. Lahore, 1888
3. Gazetteer of Multan District. Lahore, 1883-84
4. Kohli, Sita Rain, Trial of Diwan Mul Raj. Lahore, 1993
5. Hasrat, Bikrama Jit, Anglo-Sikh Relations. Hoshiarpur, 1969
6. Ghopra, Barkat Rai, Kingdom of the Punjab. Hoshiarpur, 1969
7. Ganda Singh, British Occupation of the Panjab. Patiala, 1956
8. Khushwant Singh, A History of the Sikhs, vol. II. Princeton, 1966

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