KHĀLSĀ DARBĀR RECORDS, official papers in Persian, written in a running shikastā hand, pertaining to the civil, military and revenue administration of the Punjab under the Sikhs covering a period of 38 years, Samvat 1868 to Chet 1906 (AD 1811 to March 1849) . These documents, which came into the hands of the British after the annexation of the Punjab in 1849, lay in heaps on the shelves of the vernacular office in the Civil Secretariat in Lahore and remained in that state untouched until work on arranging and classifying them started under the orders of the Lt-Governor, Sir Michael O'Dwyer (1912-19) . The task was undertaken by Sītā Rām Kohlī who, spending four diligent years on putting them into order, published in 1919 the first volume of his 3-part catalogue. The records make up a total of 129 bundles, some of which contain several thousand sheets each. The paper used is of the kind commonly known as Kashmīrī or Siālkoṭī and the sheets, as a rule, measure 5"x7.5".Supplementary to these bundles are 15 manuscript volumes, bound in leather, containing duplicates of the orders issued to various government officials and the voluminous correspondence between the Sikh Darbār and the Ambālā and Ludhiāṇā political agencies of the British.

         The documents fall into four different categories: Daftar-i-Fauj, Daftar-i-Māl, Daftar-i-Toshākhānā and Jāgīrāt. The Daftar-i-Fauj, i.e. papers concerning the army, comprises mainly the pay rolls of the cavalry, infantry and artillery from which information can be obtained about the composition and strength of the Sikh army. Till 1813 the Punjabi or Jaṭṭ Sikh element in it was, for instance, meagre, the bulk being made up of the Hindustānīs, Gurkhās and Afghāns. After 1818, the Punjabi element, i.e.Sikhs, Muslims and Hindus, became predominant. Service in the Sikh army was, however, not restricted to any particular class or caste. In AD 1811, the strength was 2, 852 infantry and 1, 209 artillery. By 1845, the figure had risen to 70, 721 with 53, 962 infantry, 6, 235 cavalry and 10, 524 artillery. The infantry and cavalry were 60 per cent Sikh, 20 per cent Muslim and 20 per cent Hindu, whereas the artillery regiments were predominantly Muslim, some commanded by European officers. The total expenditure amounted to Rs 1, 27, 96, 482 which was about one-third of the annual revenue of the State. Names of various generals, colonels and commandants also figure in these papers. The pay rolls reveal that a commandant's monthly salary ranged between Rs 60 and Rs 150; an adjutant's between Rs 30 and Rs 60;a major's between Rs 21 and Rs 25;a Sūbadār's between Rs 20 and Rs 30;a jamādār's between Rs15 and Rs 22;a havildār's between Rs 13 and Rs 15;a naik's between Rs10 and Rs12;a sergeant's between Rs 8 and Rs 12; and a sepoy's between Rs 7 and Rs 8. Even the pay rolls of beldārs, blacksmiths, etc., attached to the army are also preserved. The date of transfer from one regiment to another or of removal whether by death, desertion or dismissal is invariably noted. The pay rolls and the jamā'-kharch (income and expenditure) papers show not only the expenditure on the three wings of the army, but also income from rents of shops in regimental bazars, sale proceeds of the property of men dying without heirs, and a return of the in'āms or awards bestowed upon infantry officers on the occasions of Dussehrā and Dīvālī.

         The Daftar-i-Māl, i.e. papers concerning the revenue department, fall under three heads receipts and disbursements (awārjā), adjustments (tauzīhāt) and the day-book of disbursements (roznāmchā) . There existed in Sikh times a well-organized system of collecting the revenue and maintaining accounts, including those relating to the expenditure on the royal household. These records also provide information regarding the reorganization of ta'alluqās or administrative units. A general summary settlement of each ta'alluqā was undertaken and the areas of cultivable lands together with the liabilities and rights of the landlords over the paying tenants were recorded. The details of the districts and their subdivisions, the names of their kārdārs and governors and the estimated annual income of the State from various sources are also given. Likewise, there are in the Records papers pertaining to jāgīrs of different kinds bestowed upon or assigned to civil and military officers, religious personages and shrines.

         The toshākhānā papers relate to the royal wardrobe and the privy purse and contain inventories of treasures as well of confiscated properties. Raṇjīt Siṅgh was quick to take action against corrupt officers who were made to disgorge their ill-gotten wealth.

         These records were, after the partition of 1947, shifted from Lahore to Shimlā, in what then became East Punjab. In 1959, they were brought to the Punjab State Archives, Paṭiālā, from where they were taken to the Archives Cell, Rām Bagh, Amritsar, in 1984.

B. J. Hasrat