Malerkotla State
Coat of arms of Malerkotla
Coat of arms
Motto: Heaven's Light Our Guide[1]
1909 Malerkotla State Located in the Punjab Agency bordered by Patiala State and Ludhiana State
1909 Malerkotla State Located in the Punjab Agency bordered by Patiala State and Ludhiana State
CapitalMalerkotla city
Common languagesUrdu, English, Punjabi, Hindi, Pashto
Sunni Islam
GovernmentAbsolute Monarchy
Nawab of Malerkotla 
• 1657 - 1659
Muhammad Bayazid Khan (First)
• 1710 or 1712 - 1717
Ghulam Hussain Khan
• 1717 - 1762
Jamal Khan
• 1762 - 1763/64
Bhikan Khan
• 23 August 1908 – 15 August 1947
Ahmad Ali Khan (Last)
• Established
15 August 1947 1948
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Mughal Empire
Dominion of India

The State of Malerkotla or Maler Kotla was a princely state in the Punjab region during the era of British India. The last Nawab of Maler Kotla signed the instrument of accession to join the Dominion of India on 20 August 1948. Its rulers belonged to a Sarwani and Lodi Pashtun dynasty from Afghanistan, and its capital was in Malerkotla. The state belonged to the Punjab States Agency.



The area, which was known as Maler, was received as a jagir in 1454 A.D. by Sheikh Sadruddin-i-Jahan, a pious man of the Sherwani tribe of Afghanistan area, and was ruled by his descendants.[2]

Local tradition says that Bahlul Lodi (1451–1489), the Afghan king who had most of western India under his control, desired to rule Delhi and on his way, he was caught in a sand drift.[3] In the darkness the King spotted a dim light of a lamp still burning in the wind. It was the hut of Sheikh Sadruddin and when the king found out he came to the hut to show his respect and asked the holy man to pray for him to bear a son and have victory.[3] During 1451 and 1452, the king married off his daughter Taj Murassa to Sheikh Sadruddin after being enthroned in Delhi, and also gave him the area of Maler as a jagir.[3]

The descendants of Sheikh Sadruddin branched into two groups. One started ruling the state and were given the title of Nawab when the Mughal Empire arose.[3] The other branch lived around the Shrine of Shaikh Sadruddin, controlling its revenue from pilgrims.[3]

17th century

The State of Malerkotla was established in 1657 by Bayazid Khan. After saving the life of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb in a tiger attack, Bayazid Khan was granted the privilege to build a fort, which he named Malerkotla and eventually gave its name to the state.

18th century

Illustration of Nawab Sher Muhammad Khan Bahadur of Malerkotla State (b. 1640, d. 1712, r. 1672–1712)

The roots of communal harmony in the area date back to 1705, when Fateh Singh and Zorawar Singh, the 9- and 7-year-old sons of 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, were ordered to be bricked alive by the governor of Sirhind, Wazir Khan. His close relative, Sher Mohammed Khan, Nawab of Malerkotla, who was present in the court, lodged a vehement protest against this inhuman act and said it was against the teachings of Islam. Wazir Khan nevertheless had the boys bricked into a section of wall while still alive. At this, the Nawab of Malerkotla walked out of the court in protest. Guru Gobind Singh on learning this approach profusely thanked the Nawab of Malerkotla and blessed him with his hukamnama and kirpan. Banda Singh Bahadur's avoidance of attacking Malerkotla has been attributed to the actions of Sher Mohammed Khan, however J.S. Grewal notes that Banda's passivity towards the state was due to his prescribed route taking him elsewhere. Wars between Malerkotla state (originally siding with the Mughals, and later the forces of Ahmad Shah Abdali and the Rohilla Afghans, both of whom repeatedly raided Punjab during the eighteenth century) and the Sikh powers in Punjab resumed shortly after. Relations between the two oscillated during this period- involving events of intermittent warring as well as interventions of mutual defense against certain extra-local Sikh invaders.

Nawab Bikhan Khan had assisted the Durranis and participated in Vadda Ghulaghara genocide of Sikhs on 5 February 1762.[4]

In 1795, Sahib Singh Bedi, a descendant of Guru Nanak, attacked Malerkotla, in part due to the issue of cow slaughter taking place in the city as well as other motivations influencing the expedition including the role of the nawab in the killing of a relative of Guru Gobind, as well as the contemporary nawab's ostensible role in the Vadda Ghallugura- a massacre in which twenty five thousand Sikhs were said to have been killed. His forces were stopped and repelled, with assistance coming from the rulers of Patiala.

The state was also under the suzeranity of Mahadaji Shinde.[citation needed]

19th century

In 1808, Ranjit Singh, arrived at the town and demanded an extortionate tribute of one million rupees from the state. Upon the nawab's inability to accumulate this wealth, Ranjit Singh attacked, forcing the nawab to take loans from wealthier Sikh neighbors to pay the due. The nawab subsequently appealed to the British and shortly after ceded to British suzerainty.[5][6] On 3 May 1809 Maler Kotla became a British protectorate and was made part of the Cis-Sutlej states until 1862. Malerkotla ranked 12th in the Punjab Darbar in 1890.

Partition of India

During the 1947 riots when Punjab was in flames, the State of Malerkotla did not witness a single incident of violence; through it all, it remained a lone island of peace.[2][7] The State of Malerkotla experienced relatively insignificant communal violence due to the aforementioned objections of Sher Mohammed Khan to Wazir Khan's handling of Gobind Singh's sons.[2] Many local people attribute this peaceful strain to the presence of the shrine of 'Baba Haidar Sheikh', the Sufi saint, who founded the town of Malerkotla more than 500 years ago.[8][9]


Following Indian independence and the signing of the instrument of accession to the Dominion of India in 1948, Maler Kotla joined the newly established state of Patiala and East Punjab States Union (PEPSU) until its merger with Punjab in 1956.

List of rulers


The chiefs were the holders of the jagir of Maler.

Name Reign Began Reign Ended
1 Sheikh Sadruddin (b. 1434 - d. 1515) 1454 1508
2 Sheikh Muhammad Isa (d. 1538) 1508 1538
3 Khan Muhammad Shah (d. 1545) 1538 1545
4 Khan Muhammad Ishaq Khan (d. 1556) 1545 1556
5 Khan Fateh Muhammad Khan (d. 1600) 1556 1600
6 Muhammad Bayazid Khan Bahadur (b. 1593 - d. 1659) 1600 1657


The rulers were titled 'Nawab'. They had the right to an 11 gun salute.

Name Reign Began Reign Ended
1 Muhammad Bayazid Khan Bahadur (b. 1593 - d. 1659) 1657 1659
2 Feroz Khan (b. 1616 - d. 1672) 1659 1672
3 Sher Muhammad Khan Bahadur (b. 1640 - d. 1710 or 1712) 1672 1710 or 1712[10]
4 Ghulam Hussain Khan (d. 1734) 1710 or 1712 1717
5 Jamal Khan (d. 1762) 1717 1762
6 Bhikan Khan (d. 1763/64) 1762 1763/64
Khan Sahib Khan Bahadur Khan (d. 1766) - Regent 1764 1766
7 Khan Sahib Umar Khan (d. 1780) 1766 1 November 1780
8 Khan Sahib Asadullah Khan (d. 1784) 1 November 1780 Apr 1784
9 Khan Sahib Ataullah Khan (d. 1809) Apr 1784 14 August 1809
10 Muhammad Wazir Ali Khan (b. 17.. - d. 1821) 14 August 1809 4 September 1821
11 Amir Ali Khan Bahadur (d. 1846) 4 September 1821 8 April 1846
12 Mahbub Ali Khan Bahadur (d. 1857) "Sube Khan" 8 April 1846 25 November 1857
13 Sikandar Ali Khan Bahadur (d. 1871) 25 November 1857 16 July 1871
14 Muhammad Ibrahim Ali Khan (b. 1857 - d. 1908) 16 July 1871 23 August 1908
Sir Ahmad Ali Khan Regent 1 February 1905 23 August 1908
15 Ahmad Ali Khan (b. 1881 - d. 1947) – Acceded to the Dominion of India 23 August 1908 15 August 1947

Titular Rulers

Name Reign Began Reign Ended Notes
Iftikhar Ali Khan (d. 1982) 15 August 1947 20 November 1982 Retained official recognition until 1971 under the 26th Amendment to the Constitution of India by Indira Gandhi's government.

Titular Holder

Name Reign Began Reign Ended
Mushtaq Ali Khan (b.1927 - d. 2012) 20 November 1982 02 October 2012
Atif Ali Khan (b.2002) 02 October 2012 Present



Religion in Malerkotla State (1941)[11]: 42 
Religion Population Percentage
Islam 33,881 38.45%
Sikhism 30,320 34.41%
Hinduism [a] 23,482 26.65%
Christianity 115 0.13%
Others[b] 311 0.35%
Total Population 88,109 100%

See also


  1. ^ Including Ad-Dharmis
  2. ^ Including Jainism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Tribals, others, or not stated


  1. ^ The motto of the Order of the Star of India
  2. ^ a b c Goyal, Sushil (19 August 2006). "'Malerkotla has Guru's blessings'". The Tribune. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Study of the Pathan Communities in four States of India". Khyber. Archived from the original on 14 May 2008. Retrieved 7 June 2007.((cite web)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  4. ^ Singh, Harbans. The Encyclopedia of Sikhism. Vol. 4: S-Z. Punjabi University, Patiala. pp. 395–397.
  5. ^ Wellman, James K. Jr.; Lombardi, Clark (16 August 2012). Religion and Human Security: A Global Perspective. Oxford University Press. p. 97. ISBN 978-0-19-982773-2.
  6. ^ Bigelow, Anna (4 February 2010). Sharing the Sacred: Practicing Pluralism in Muslim North India. Oxford University Press. pp. 68–72. ISBN 978-0-19-536823-9.
  7. ^ A people's gratitude Archived 14 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine The Sikh Review, Issue No. 14, November 2003
  8. ^ The Legend of Malerkotla: A Tale from the Punjab (2004) Archived 19 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine 48 min, DVD, ISBN 978-0-8026-0761-4.
  9. ^ Bigelow, Anna B (2 December 2000). "Malerkotla: A heritage going to seed". The Tribune. Retrieved 24 March 2013.
  10. ^ Singh, Ganda (1935). Life Of Banda Singh Bahadur Based On Contemporary And Original Records. The Sikh History Research Dettart^pjpnt, Khalsa College, AmritsaiS. p. 64. Retrieved 7 January 2023.
  11. ^ "CENSUS OF INDIA, 1941 VOLUME VI PUNJAB PROVINCE". Retrieved 17 January 2023.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Maler Kotla". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 17 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 487.

30°32′N 75°59′E / 30.533°N 75.983°E / 30.533; 75.983