Dina Nath, Diwan
Civil Administrator at the Court of Lahore
Civil administrator and counsellor of considerable influence at the Sikh court for well over three decades, was the son of a Kashmiri Pandit, Bakht Mall, who had migrated to Delhi during the oppressive rule of the Afghan governors of the valley. He was also closely related to Diwan Ganga Ram, head of the military accounts and keeper of the privy seal at Lahore.
In 1815, at the instance of Diwan Ganga Ram, Maharaja Ranjit Singh invited Dina Nath to Lahore and offered him the post of mutsaddi, or writer, in the department of military accounts. In 1826, when Diwan Ganga Ram died, Dina Nath succeeded him as the head of military accounts department and keeper of the privy seal. In 1834, when Diwan Bhavani Das passed away, the Maharaja made him the head of the civil and finance office and conferred upon him, in 1838, the honorary title of Diwan.
By his ability and political acumen, Dina Nith rose to the highest position of power and influence in the affairs of the State. Lepel Griffin styles him the ‘Talleyrand of the Punjab’. Dina Nath knew how to keep his ambition in check and was one man in Lahore who made no enemies at the court. In the turbulent days following Ranjit Singh’s death, he refused to take sides with Rani Chand Kaur or Kanvar Sher Singh.
However, Sher Singh upon his succession to the throne, reposed his full trust in him. Dina Nath retained his position at the court during the wazarats of both Hira Singh and Jawahar Singh as well as during the regency of Mahirani Jind Kaur. After the Anglo-Sikh war of 1845-46, the British nominated him a member of the Council of Regency established in Lahore for the minor king, Duleep Singh. In November 1847, the title
of the Raja of Kalanaur, with a jagir worth 20,000 rupees annually, was conferred upon him.
After the annexation of the Punjab in 1849, Dina Nath served under the British who confirmed him in his jigirs worth about fifty thousand rupees annually. Diwan Dina Nath died at Lahore in 1857.