BHAVĀNĪ DĀS, DĪWĀN (1770-1834), was the son of Dīwān Ṭhākur Dās, revenue and finance minister of the Afghān king, Ahmad Shāh Durrānī. Bhavānī Dās succeeded to the position after the death of his father and served successively Shāh Zamān, Shāh Mahmūd and Shāh Shujā' until 1808 when Mahārājā Raṇjīt Siṅgh having heard of his reputation, invited him to Lahore to take charge of the State's finances. At Lahore, Bhavānī Dās set up 12 departments called daftars to deal with all civil and military accounts. In the districts of different sūbahs treasuries were established to maintain regular accounts of income and expenditure. In the newly conquered territories, settlement officers were appointed to regulate revenue and finance. On occasions, Diwān Bhavānī Dās also performed diplomatic and military duties. He was one of the Mahārājā's counsellors at the negotiations with the British envoy, Charles T. Metcalfe. In 1809, he was sent to Jammū in command of a Sikh force, which conquered and annexed the city. In 1813, he reduced Harīpur state in the Kāṅgṛā hills; in 1816, he annexed the Rāmgaṛhīā estates to the Lahore kingdom. Twice, in 1816 and 1817, he commanded a division of the Lahore army in the Multān expeditions. He also took part in the expeditions to Peshāwar and the Yūsafzaī country.

        Dīwān Bhavānī Dās suffered a temporary eclipse in his career when he was accused of misappropriation of State revenues, and was expelled from Lahore to the hills of Kāṅgṛā. He was, however, soon recalled from Kāṅgṛā and reinstated in his position as the charges against him could not be proved.

        He remained in the service of the Mahārājā till his death in 1834.


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Harī Rām Gupta