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SHAH DIN, FAQIR

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SHAH DIN, FAQIR (d. 1842), son of Faqir `Aziz udDin, minister to Maharaja Ranjit Singh, was the Sikh court`s envoy with the British political agent at Ludhiana and later at Firozpur. He is described in contemporary chronicles as an able diplomat who often accompanied foreign dignitaries visiting Lahore and acted as an interpreter. Successive British political agents C.M. Wade, Dr Murray and George Russell Clerk spoke highly of his skill and wisdom. In 1831, Faqir Shah Din was assigned to C.M. Wade at Ludhiana and , in 1834, he conducted Dr Murray to the Sikh capital. At Firozpur, he acted as the Maharaja`s envoy and supply officer. He enjoyed the trust of both the Sikh Darbar and the British.

Shah Din was also associated with some of the Darbar`s commercial enterprises, in particular the shawl trade with British India, Sindh and Afghanistan. In 1839, he was deputed to Mitthankot to supervise the Indus navigation trade on behalf of the Lahore government. Later, he accompanied Major Mackeson to Amritsar to exhibit to the British agent the silk manufactures of the Sikh kingdom with a view to promoting export. Both Victor Jacquemont, the French naturalist who visited India in 1834, and Munshi Shahamat `Alt speak highly of the discretion shown by Faqir Shah Din in public Ifie. The Sikh Darbar rewarded his services and he and his brother, Faqir Chiragh Din, shared a J`agir valued at 15,000 rupees annually. Shah Din died at Lahore in 1842.

References :

1. Suri, Sohan Lal, `Umdat ut-Twarikh- Lahore, 1885-89
2. Waheeduddin, Faqir Syed, The Real Ranjit Singh. Delhi, 1976

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