PUNJAB CHIEFS, THE, by Sir Lepel H. Griffin, contains historical and biographical notices of the principal chiefs and families of note in the Punjab, with detailed pedigree tables, first published at Lahore in 1865, revised edition (2 vols.) by Charles Francis Massy published at Lahore in 1890, and revised pedigree tables published at Lahore in 1899. The book may be regarded as the forerunner of Griffin's later works on the subject such as Rajas of the Punjab, Law of Inheritance to Chiefship as observed by the Sikhs before the Annexation of the Punjab (Lahore, 1869), Sikhism and the Sikhs (Great Religions of the World : New York, 1901), and Maharaja Ranjit Singh (Asiatic Quarterly, London). The author, a high-ranking civilian in the Punjab after it was occupied by the British in 1849, undertook the task of recording the history of the "fallen nobility" of the Punjab and determining their status under the British. In compiling this work, Griffin made use of the history sheets sent by the chiefs; records of the old Sikh government, of British agencies of Delhi and Ludhiāṇā (1809-45), and of Lahore (1846-49), and of the Punjab Government (1849-65); personal interviews with the living chiefs and their family priests and bards; and of all major historical accounts, travelogues and memoirs relating to the Punjab written in English, Persian and Urdu.
The book as published in 1865 dealt with the chiefs and their families in districts between the rivers Beās and Indus, then forming the Lahore and Rāwalpiṇḍī division, recording their genealogies and furnishing details about the roles they played in the political history of the Punjab from the closing decades of the eighteenth century to the establishment of the Sikh monarchy under Mahārājā Raṇjīt Siṅgh, in the Anglo-Sikh wars and at the time of the annexation of the Punjab. The book took into account mainly chiefs and families enjoying rank, wealth or influence at the time of annexation. The second edition of the book (2 vols.) brought out by Charles Francis Massy in 1890 extends the scope of the work, including in it the North West Frontier, most of the Himalayan states and a large part of the south-eastern Punjab, filling in gaps left by Griffin and making revisions to bring the work up to date. Some of the chiefs who had been reduced to insignificance were omitted and others who had risen to importance included.
The next edition, brought out in 1909 by H.D. Craik, embraced additionally the leading families of Delhi, Jalandhar, Peshāwar and ḍerājāt divisions as well as of some of the princely states. As the North West Frontier was constituted into a separate province in 1901, the area was omitted from Craik's survey. The fourth edition, revised and updated till July 1930 by G.L.Chopṛā, was published in 1940. An Urdu translation of the book was made by Bhagvān Dās and published under the title Tārīkh-i-Raūsā-i-Puñjāb.
B. J. Hasrat