BELĪ RĀM (d. 1843), head of the royal toshākhānā at Lahore, was the second of the five sons of Misr Dīvān Chand, a general in Mahārājā Raṇjīt Siṅgh's army. He joined the Mahārājā's treasury in 1809 and within seven years rose to occupy the highest position in it. Besides, he received numerous jāgīrs, including that of Raṅghaṛ Naṅgal worth 30, 000 rupees a year. Belī Rām maintained strict discipline. He annoyed Rājā Dhiān Siṅgh, the prime minister, by declining him to show a rare piece of jewellery in the toshākhānā, royal treasury, without the Mahārājā's permission. When during his last illness, the Mahārājā, on the astrologers' suggestion, desired the famous Koh-i-Nūr diamond to be sent to the Jagannāth Purī temple. Belī Rām refused to accede to the royal wishes declaring that the diamond was not the property of the Mahārājā but that of the State. He made an enemy of Kaṅvar Nau Nihāl Siṅgh by disallowing him entry into the toshākhānā without a written order from the Mahārājā. In January 1840, Nau Nihāl Siṅgh fined Misr Belī Rām 5, 00, 000 rupees and imprisoned him along with his five brothers. When Mahārājā Sher Siṅgh ascended the throne, Misr Belī Rām and his brothers were restored to their old positions. When Hīrā Siṅgh Ḍogrā became the prime minister after the assassination of Mahārājā Sher Siṅgh, he had Misr Belī Rām and his brothers arrested. Belī Rām was handed over to Shaikh Imām ud-Dīn, who kept him in chains in his stables, before strangling him to death on 17 September 1843. Belī Rām had three sons, Rām Dās and Ṭhākur Dās born to his Brāhmaṇ wife, and Khurram Rāi to his Muslim wife. Rām Dās escaped to Fīrozpur, and others to Ludhiāṇā. They returned to Lahore after Hīrā Siṅgh's death on 21 December 1844. After annexation, Rām Dās got from the British a pension of 2, 000 rupees per mensem. Belī Rām's wives Gulāb Devī and Misrāṇī Begam received a pension of 1, 387 rupees each.


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  2. Bhagat Singh, Maharaja Raṇjit Singh and His Times, Delhi, 1990
  3. Chopra, B. R. , Kingdom of the Punjab. Hoshiarpur, 1969

Harī Rām Gupta