NĀNŪ MALL (d. 1791), minister and army general in Paṭiālā state, was born at Sunām, in Saṅgrūr district. He came of a mercantile Aggarval family and became known as a highly capable administrator and a brave general. He acquired proficiency in classical languages ---Sanskrit, Arabic and Persian, and served in a civil capacity under Bābā Ālā Siṅgh, founder of the Paṭiālā dynasty. It was at the court of his successor, Mahārājā Amar Siṅgh, (1748-82), that Nānū Mall rose to be the Dīwān of the state. In 1778, he was deputed by the Mahārājā to assist Rājā Gajpat Siṅgh of Jīnd against Rahīm Khān of Hāṅsī, who had attacked his territory. Rahīm Khān was slain in the battle that ensued and the Dīwān obtained much booty in horses, elephants and arms. He then proceeded to occupy important places such as Hāṅsī, Hissār, Rohtak, Tosham, Meham and Gohāṇā, all in present-day Haryāṇā state.

         When, on Rājā Amar Siṅgh's death in 1782, Sāhib Siṅgh ascended the throne of Paṭiālā, he was only eight. Owing to the Mahārājā's minority, the affairs of the state fell into disorder. Rāṇī Hukmā , grandmother of the minor Mahārājā, had Nānū Mall appointed as madār-ul-mahām or the prime minister of the state. Rāmjī Dās Sayyāh, the author of the Tarīkh-i-Sunām compares Dīwān Nānū Mall with Bairam Khān, the tutor of Akbar the Great, who administered the kingdom during the latter's minority. Dīwān Nānū Māll put down a large number of revolts against the state and established peace and order. But with the death of Rāṇī Hukmā, who was his staunchest supporter, began his downfall. He had incurred the hostility of other members of the royal family and of the courtiers by his arrogant manner. He was eventually dismissed from service, along with his sons and relatives. When he failed to regain his position, he revolted and, with the help of Nawāb 'Atā Ullāh of Mālerkoṭlā, led an attack against the state forces, but was defeated.

         Nānū Māll died at Malerkoṭlā on 21 November 1791.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  1. Griffin, Lepel, The Rajas of the Punjab [Reprint]. Delhi, 1977
  2. Giān Siṅgh, Giānī, Twārīkh Gurū Khālsā [Reprint]. Patiala, 1970

Janak Siṅgh