MŪL RĀJ, DĪWĀN (1814-1851), son of Dīwān Sāvan Mall, the governor of Multān, served as the kārdār of Shujā'ābād and Jhaṅg during the lifetime of his father. He succeeded his father to the governorship of Multān after the latter's death on 29 September 1844. The sūbah of Multān then included the territories of Jhaṅg and the ḍerājāt, and he had to pay to government annually a sum of 23,00,000 rupees. Rājā Hīrā Siṅgh, gaining power at the court, imposed a heavy nazrānā, or succession fee, of about 30 lakhs of rupees on Mūl Rāj, which he was unable to pay. But Mūl Rāj's real troubles began when Lāl Siṅgh became the prime minister in November 1845. He arbitrarily revised the terms of Mūl Rāj's appointment by reducing his territories and enhancing annual payments, demanded the statement of accounts for the preceding 10 years and ordered that appeals against the decision of the governor of Multān would be heard by the Lahore Darbār. To overawe Mūl Rāj, a force was despatched to Multān. Mūl Rāj chared under the stringent terms imposed and appealed to the British Resident at Lahore, Henry Law rence, at whose intercession a new settlement was effected in October 1846. Mūl Rāj promptly paid up the arrears, but one-third of his territory had been taken away from him and the revenue payable annually enhanced. Further, the Darbār introduced export and import duties in territories administered by him. He also felt offended by the Darbār's decision to hear appeals against his judicial decisions. In December 1847, he tendered his resignation which was accepted, effective from March 1848, by Sir Frederick Currie, the new British Resident at Lahore. When on 19 April 1848, Kāhn Siṅgh Mān, the governor-designate, accompanied by two, British officers, P.A. Vans Agnew and Lieutenant Anderson, took charge from Mūl Rāj, his troops revolted, killed the two British officers and held Mūl Rāj a prisoner. But Mūl Rāj became the symbol of Sikhs' discontent and they rallied round him to strike against the British.

         The incidents at Multān led to the second Anglo-Sikh war at the conclusion of which Mūl Rāj was tried by a court of inquiry and sentenced to death. The Governor-General, Lord Dalhousie, however, commuted his sentence to life imprisonment. Mūl Rāj was first detained at Lahore and then, in January 1850, taken to Calcutta where he fell seriously ill. He died on 11 August 1851 near Buxar on his way to Banāras.


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Harī Rām Gupta