NŪR UD-DĪN, FAQĪR (d. 1852), third son of Ghulām Mohy ud-Dīn and the youngest brother of Faqīr 'Azīz ud-Dīn, was one of the prominent Muslim courtiers serving the Sikh sovereign Mahārājā Raṇjīt Siṅgh and his successors. In 1801, when Raṇjīt Siṅgh assumed the title of Mahārājā, Nūr ud-Dīn was appointed hakīm or physician to the court and put in charge of dispensaries in the city of Lahore. He also performed protocol duties on behalf of the State. Foreign travellers such as Moorcraft, Jacquemont, Burnes, Wolff, Hugel and Fane, whom he received on behalf of the Mahārājā or whom he otherwise met on State occasions, have paid tributes to his outstanding abilities. Hugel, for instance, described him as "an upright yet versatile courtier, who has acquired the respect of the natives and the strangers." Nūr ud-Dīn was indeed a versatile man who was entrusted by Mahārājā Raṇjīt Siṅgh with diverse responsibilities such as the administration of the capital, superintendence of artillery stores, and commissariat arrangements for visiting dignitaries. He was at times also assigned to important administrative responsibilities outside the capital. In June 1810, he took Wazīrābād and was soon after appointed governor of Gujrāt. In the beginning of 1817, he was sent to settle the Rāmgaṛhīā territories seized by Raṇjīt Siṅgh towards the end of 1816. In 1827, he went to Kapūrthalā on a mission to restore normal relations after a temporary estrangement between Raṇjīt Siṅgh and the local chief, Fateh Siṅgh Āhlūvālīā.

         Even after the death of Mahārājā Raṇjīt Siṅgh, Faqīr Nūr ud-Dīn retained his position of eminence at the court. At the conclusion of the first Anglo-Sikh war, he was one of the signatories, on behalf of the State, to the Treaty of Lahore, 9 March 1846, and to the Articles of Agreement, 11 March 1846. He was appointed a member of the Council of Regency formed, under the treaty of 16 December 1846, to conduct the administration of the country during the minority of Mahārājā Duleep Siṅgh. The Council ceased to exist with the annexation of the Punjab to the British dominions on 29 March 1849. Nūr ud-Dīn's jāgīrs of the annual value of Rs 20,885 were confirmed to him by the British. Nūr ud-Dīn died at Lahore on 26 March 1852. He was survived by four sons: from his first wife, Zahūr ud-Dīn (1824-1893), who was for a time tutor to Mahārājā Duleep Siṅgh, and Hafīz ud-Dīn (1835-1899), and from the second, Shamas ud-Dīn (1825-1872) and Qamar ud-Dīn (1826-1910), who travelled with his father as escort to Mahārāṇī Jīnd Kaur when she was exiled to Banāras. Like his brother 'Aziz ud-Dīn, Nūr ud-Dīn was a man of learning. He was also a poet and left a collection of verse entitled Dīwān-i-Munawwar.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  1. Sūrī, Sohan Lāl, 'Umdāt ut-Twārīkh. Lahore, 1885-89
  2. Waheed-ud-Din, Faqir, The Real Ranjit Singh. Karachi, 1965
  3. Bhagat Siṅgh, Maharaja Ranjit Singh and His Times. Delhi 1990
  4. Harbans Singh, Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Delhi, 1980

F. S. Aijāzūddīn