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MISLDARI OR MISALDARI

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MISLDARI OR MISALDARI, a system of political relationship as well as of land tenure which came into being with the rise of Sikh power in the eighteenth century Punjab. The Sikh warriors who, since the execution of Banda Singh Bahadur in 1716, had lived precariously as small guerilla bands, had by the middle of the century grouped themselves into eleven main divisions and started acquiring territory as misls. This was the origin of the Sikh misls which established their sway in the Punjab.

Under the mislddn system of land tenure which now prevailed, the chief or sarddr of each misi could allot land to a member of his own misi, or even to an outsider, not as a grant orjdgir, but as a share of the territory in the conquest of which the latter was an equal partner. Sometimes the subordinate mislddrs or commanders occupied territory on their own, but continued to accept the sarddr of the misla.s their chief. The mislddrs were independent in the management of their respective territories. They could alienate it to a member of the parent misi, but not to an outsider.

Their relationship with the sarddr of the parent misi remained that of subordinates, but only for the purpose of the offence and defence against outsiders. Again, occupation of territory only entitled them to a share in the produce. The mislddrs, like the jdgirddrs, could not interfere with the traditional proprietory or occupancy rights of the tillers of the land. Mislddn was a transient phenomenon. With the emergence of the Sikh kingdom under Maharaja Ranjit Singh in the early decades of the nineteenth century absorbing most of the misls, the system became redundant. Many of the mislddrs, however, joined service under, the Maharaja who allowed them to keep the whole or part of their past holdings nsjdgirs but not as permanent or independent freeholds.

References :

1. Bhagat Singh, Sikh Polity in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. Delhi, 1978
2. Nayyar, Gurbachan Singh, Sikh Polity and Political Institutions. Delhi, 1979

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