Kotwals also spelled as Cotwal, was a title used in medieval India for the leader of a Kot or fort. Kotwals often controlled the fort of a major town or an area of smaller towns on behalf of another ruler. It was similar in function to a British India Zaildar From Mughal times the title was given to the local ruler of a large town and the surrounding area. However, the title is also used for leaders in small villages as well. Kotwal has also been translated as Chief police officer. The post of Kotwal was known since ancient times as Kota pala who was the chief of Police.