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Dewan (also known as diwan, also spelled or devan and divan) at various points in Islamic history and Indian history, designated a powerful government official, minister or ruler. A dewan was the head of a state institution of the same name (see Divan).

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EtymologyEdit

The word is Persian in origin and was loaned into Arabic. The original meaning was "bundle (of written sheets)", hence "book", especially "book of accounts," and hence "office of accounts," "custom house," "council chamber". The meaning divan "long, cushioned seat" is due to such seats having been found along the walls in Middle Eastern council chambers. A common surname among sikhs in punjab. [1]

CouncilEdit

The word first appears under the Caliphate of Omar I (A.D. 634–644). As the Caliphate state became more complicated, the term was extended over all the government bureaus.[citation needed]

The divan of the Sublime Porte was the council or Cabinet of the state. In the Ottoman Empire, it consisted of the usually (except in the Sultan's presence) presiding Grand Vizier and other viziers, and occasionally the Janissary Ağa.[citation needed]

In 19th-century Romania the Ad hoc Divan was a body which played a role in the country's development towards independence from Ottoman rule.[citation needed]

In Javanese and related languages, the cognate "dewan" is the standard word for council, as in the Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat or (Indonesia's Council of People's Representatives) and Dewan Negara (Senate of Malaysia).[citation needed]

Indian subcontinentEdit

Mughal IndiaEdit

During the effective rule of Mughal India, the Dewan served as the chief revenue officer of a province.[2]

Later, when most vassal states gained various degrees of self-determination, the finance — and/or chief minister and leader of many princely states (especially Muslim, but also many Hindu, including Baroda, Hyderabad, Mysore, Kochi, Travancore — referred to as Dalawa until 1811) became known as a dewan.[citation needed]

Exceptionally, a ruler was himself titled Dewan or a loftier variation, notably:

Maratha periodEdit

As a title used in various Early Modern Indian states, Diwan denoted the highest officials in the court after the king; the suffix -ji is added as a mark of respect in India.[3] In the major Maratha states of Baroda (ruled by the Gaekwad), Gwalior (ruled by Scindias or Shinde), Indore (ruled by Holkar), and Nagpur (ruled by Bhonsle, but not from the Chhatrapati Shivaji family), the highest officer after the king was called the Diwan.

One of the examples was – Shrimant Diwan/Rao Bahadur Atmaram Kulkarni was the Diwan (Prime Minister) of Maratha Jamkhandi State. In the 19th century, the British Parliament established in British India a supreme court for revenue matters (non-criminal matters) named the "Sudder Dewanny Adawlut", which applied Hindu law.[4][5]

Among Hindus and Sikhs of Punjab and BengalEdit

Dewan, Diwan, Divan, or Deo was the hereditary title borne by the Chief Minister of the Hindu Cooch State in Bengal region.

Diwan also became a surname of high-caste Hindus or Sikhs in the Punjab region.

Diwani in British IndiaEdit

After the Battle of Buxar when the Bengal was annexed by the East India Company in 1764, the Mughal Emperor granted the Company the Diwani (the right to collect revenue) in Bengal and Bihar in 1765.[6][5] The term Diwani thus referred to British (fiscal) suzerainty over parts of India during the early British Raj.

Diwani in French IndiaEdit

In French India, one of its constituent colonies, Yanaon, had Zamindar and Diwan. They were active in its local and municipal administration during French rule. The Zamindar of Yanam was given a 4 gun salute by French counterparts.[citation needed]

NepalEdit

The document dated Bikram Samvat 1833 Bhadra Vadi 3 Roj 6 (i.e. Friday 2 August 1776), shows that Vamsharaj Pande and Swaroop Singh Karki had carried the title of Dewan (equivalent to Prime Minister) of Kingdom of Nepal.[7]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=divan
  2. ^ Thangjam, Homen (Summer 2014). "Militarism, Human Rights, and Democracy in Northeast India". Kangla Lanpung. RK Sanatomba Memorial Trust,Imphal. VIII (II): 27–. ISSN 2321-2357.
  3. ^ https://luthar.com/2014/05/06/the-meaning-of-the-term-ji-in-the-indian-culture-by-dr-harsh-k-luthar/
  4. ^ Campbell, Lawrence Dundas (ed), Asiatic Annual Register for 1802, or A View of the History of Hindustan and of the Politics, Commerce and Literature of Asia, London, J. Debrett, 1803, footnote pp.97-100, Miscellaneous Tracts [1]
  5. ^ a b Definition per James Mill (1826): "Dewan, Duan: place of assembly. Native minister of the revenue department; and chief justice, in civil causes, within his jurisdiction; receiver-general of a province. The term is also used, to designate the principal revenue servant under a European collector, and even of a Zemindar. By this title, the East India Company are receivers-general of the revenues of Bengal, under a grant from the Great Mogul"..."Dewanny, Duannee: the office, or jurisdiction of a Dewan" (Mill, James, The History of British India, Vol. 1 (of 6), 3rd Edition, London, 1826, Glossary [2])
  6. ^ Robb 2004, pp. 116–147 "Chapter 5: Early Modern India II: Company Raj", Metcalf & Metcalf 2006, pp. 56–91 "Chapter 3: The East India Company Raj, 1772-1850," Bose & Jalal 2003, pp. 76–87 "Chapter 7: Company Raj and Indian Society 1757 to 1857, Reinvention and Reform of Tradition."
  7. ^ Regmi 1975, p. 272.

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