PROTECTING LAHORE – THE ROLE OF THE KOTWAL

PROTECTING LAHORE
THE ROLE OF THE KOTWAL

Police officers at work and play

Malik Khuda Baksh Kakayzai kotwal
Malik Khuda Baksh Kakayzai kotwal

Sultan Mahmud Ghaznavi gave an administrative set up to all the cities which came under his domain. The foundations of Lahore was laid as the city called MAHMUDPUR. And the administrative control was set up in it. Malik Ayaz was the man who gave LAHORE the face of the Cultured City of the region. Yes, every city was protected by a Fort, here the Lahore Fort, but the Fort we see today is a product of Emperor Akbar. Certainly a hill-lock was there, and it is reputed that the City Fort was near the Chuna Mandi Lahore. The commander of the Fort , was called the KOTWAL,  and he was the chief Military Officer of the city. More like the Commanders we have in the Lahore Cantt these days.

There are many names of Kotwals we can pick up in history books, but mentioned in the passing.  The first real mention is that of  Kotwal of Lahore, who the elders of Lahore (Mian Ashiq, Mehr Maskhdum, Abid Khan, Muhammed Azim, Hafiz Muhammed, Mehr Shadi, Ahmad Bhandari, and Jan Muhammed), instructed to open the city gates (Lohari Darwaza) to Ranjit Singh, as an agreement that one dacoit is better than many dacoits. A proposal to get rid of the tyranny of the three Sikh rulers of Lahore. The first Kotwal in British times was Khuda Baksh, a Kakayzai by race, and a resident of Mohalla Kakayzais in Lahore. It is interesting that we have even a photograph of him. We also have a photograph of Chaudry Rahmat-ullah who was also a Kotwal of Lahore in 1901.

The most ancient Police Station in Lahore still retains the same name even today as PURANI KOTWALI. This kotwali functioned for centuries, till it was shifted outside the Delhi Gate Lahore. This new Kotwali also mentioned till its name was changed and a new administrative structure of Police Officers were appointed in Lahore. A new regime had become in operation.

Chaudry Rahmat-ullah
Chaudry Rahmat-ullah

23 thoughts on “PROTECTING LAHORE – THE ROLE OF THE KOTWAL”

  1. A strange history of Kotwals need to be discovered, when Abu Ali Kotwal of Ghazna was given the responsibility of Lahore too in 1048.

    1. The British period replaced the concept of Kotwal with a Police force. The name of Kotwals of Sikh, Abdali, Mughal or Sultanate period can only be obtained by stray references in various accounts. In any case further research is possible.

    2. No Record available prior to 1901 of Kotwals of Lahore. Only some Manuscripts in Lahore of 17th and 18th Century give some references to Kotwals. Only some intelligent Historian can get some details during research.

  2. Today I am about 70 years old, a retired senior Police Officer. My fore fathers were from Village Qila Didar Singh , District Gujranwala (now in Pakistan). I wants to add here that as per my Family Tree my Great-Great -Grand Father Sardar Jaimal Singh had served as Kotwal of Lahore during the Rule of Maharaj Ranjit Singh ( 1835-1840). Further detail are not known to me.

      1. Thank you for your interest. Shall be highly obliged and great full if you are able to provide me some more details or references in this regard. Few decades ago there was a “” Gujranwala Association “”in Chandigarh (Punjab) and my first cousin was Secertary of this Association for about 3 decades after the Partition of the country. They collected some details about the Timeline of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Now almost all the Seniors related to that Association have expired and it is a defunct Organization. No hope to get details from Punjab. You are the only hope.

      2. Respected Arif Rehman Sahib, Here I want to add that during that period there was no custom to add Sub-Caste with the name and as per my research the Correct and exact name will be Jaimal Singh . Only from my School time ( 1954-69) I started writing my Caste with my name.

        1. I have found a reference to some JAIMAL SINGH with Ranjit Singh’s Durbar in a meeting with Englishman C.M. Wade, Jaimal Singh is riding an elephant and started talking rudely and chattering with Wade about conquering Calcutta, ETC. You send me your email and I will scan the page and send to you.

  3. Dear Mr. Arif Rehman Sahib, Asalam-e,- Lekum.
    I am very very greatful to you for providing me valuable details of my ancestor Kotwal Jaimal Singh. My Email address is s.sidhu21@gmail .com. You are free to contact me at any time as convenient to you
    Regards, Khuda Hafiz. ……… Sawinder Sidhu

  4. Respected Arif Rehman Sahib, Asalam-e- Lekum. My email is —— s.sidhu21@gmail.com
    I shall be highly obliged and grateful to you if you can arrange to send me the Scanned photo copy of the page as told by you, in which my ancestor Kotwal Jaimal Singh is sitting on Elephant back and talking to a British C M Wade. Please Spare some time for me. The Almighty Allah will Bless you and your family.
    Regards, Khuda Hafiz. …….. Sawinder Sidhu

  5. My further study has revealed that British person CM Wade as mentioned in your message is Colonel C.M. Wade. He was Secretary to the Governor-General of British India during the rule of Maharaja Ranjit Singh
    According to History he stayed in Lahore for fee months to study the lifestyle of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and Reported to Governor General

  6. Respected Arif Rehman Sahib, As-salama-e-lekum. I was waiting some message from you regarding my fore-father Kotwal Jaimal Singh. Last time you told me that you have seen a picture of Jaimal Singh riding on an elephant and having some argument with a British National. Sir, I shall be highly grateful if you can send me the picture as stated. Thanks.

      1. Respected Arif Rehman Sahib As-salama-e-lekum, Sawinder Sidhu here. Shall be highly obliged if you can send me Photo Copy of any “”Written Reference”” from any Historical book of that period when my Ancestor Jaimal Singh served as Kotwal of Lahore.
        Please Email me the relevant Page and name of the Book .
        Regards.

  7. Respected Arif Rehman Sahib Assalamualaikum, Sir,. Please take some trouble for me and send me photo copy of the relevant page on which there’s reference of my fore-father Kotwal Jaimal Singh. Please help me. Thanks.

    1. Dear Arif Rehman Sahib, Assalamualaikum, once again after a long Wait I am writing you this. Please send me the relevant information about Kotwal Jaimal Singh . I will appreciate your efforts if you send me the Scanned copy of the Book and relevant page in which you have read the Reference of Jaimal Singh.
      Shall be always grateful for your help. Thanks.

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