DEVĪ DĀS, DĪWĀN (1767-1830), eldest son of Dīwān Ṭhākur Dās Khatrī of Peshāwar, was, like his father, in the service of the Afghān rulers prior to joining the court of Mahārājā Raṇjīt Siṅgh. At the time of Shāh Zamān's last invasion of northern India (1798-99), the Mahārājā, who had heard about the reputation of Devī Dās, offered him the post of Dīwān at Lahore. Devī Dās entered the service of the Mahārājā in 1803 as the keeper of the royal seal, accountant-general and head of the secretariat (mīr munshī). Devī Dās found that the financial administration needed his immediate attention. The territories which fell to the Mahārājā's arms were generally farmed out to individuals who were always in arrears with their payments. Devī Dās settled the amount of the deohṛī fees in each district, and kārdārs, revenue officers, were made responsible for having them deposited into government treasuries through the deohṛīdārs. He also established a rudimentary Sarishtā'-i-Hazūr where records of all major financial transactions were kept; to it was attached a Naqal Daftar or copying office. All vouchers of expenditure and pay orders were scrutinized by him for approval and sanction by the Mahārājā.

         As the mīr munshī of the Mahārājā, Devī Dās read out to him reports from various parts of the kingdom, and wrote out royal orders to the chiefs and kārdārs. He kept ready money for State expenditure and royal charities. In 1819, when Kashmīr was conquered, Devī Dās was sent there for the settlement of the country.

         Devī Dās died at Lahore in 1830.


  1. Sūrī, Sohan Lāl, 'Umdāt-ut-Twārīkh. Lahore, 1885-89
  2. Griffin, Lepel and C. F. Massy, Chiefs and Families of Note in the Punjab. Lahore, 1909
  3. Garrett, H. L. O. and G. L. Chopra, eds. , Events at the Court of Raṇjit Singh 1810-1817. Delhi, 1986
  4. Hasrat, B. J. , Life and Times of Raṇjit Singh. Nabha, 1977

Harī Rām Gupta