MAJITHIA (Family)

LOCATION: Punjab DYNASTY: Gill clan (Shergil sub-sept)
RELIGION: Sikh
PRESENT HEAD OF HOUSE:
PREDECESSORS AND SHORT HISTORY: The Majithia Sardars are a set of three related families from the area of Majitha, a town 26 kilometres north of the Punjab city of Amritsar. The town was founded by one Madho, a Jat of the Gill clan. He was 'jetha' (the eldest son) of his father and hence the place was 'Madho-Jetha', which became in time, Majitha. They rose to prominence in the early 19th century by throwing in their lot with the rising star of the Sikh misls, viz. that of Ranjit Singh, during the late 18th century. As Ranjit Singh established the Sikh Empire around the turn of the 19th century, the Majithia sirdars gained prominence and became very influential in the Maharaja's army. Ten different Majithia generals can be counted amongst the Sikh army during the period of 1800 to 1849, and they became one of the three most powerful families in Punjab under the Maharaja.
  • Gujar, married and had issue.
    • Veghu, married and had issue.
      • Dargah Singh, married and had issue.
        • Sardar Amar Singh Kalan, a distinguished soldier he was appointed Governor of Hazara in succession to Diwan Ram Dyal; married and had issue. He died at Hazara.
          • General Sardar Kahn Singh, he was granted estates at Kot Bhai and Syadpur; he took part in the second Anglo-Sikh war, where he fought the British both at Cheliarivala and Gujra, afterwards his jagir was confiscated and in lieu he was granted a pension of 3,600Rs per annum. He died 1853 at Majitha.
    • Taighu, married and had issue.
      • Izat Singh, with his brother, he followed the fortunes of the Sukerchukia Sardars; he was able to acquire a strip of the Dhanni country, and held it till his death; married and had issue. He died 1772.
        • Sardar Fateh Singh, married and had issue.
          • Sardar Chanda Singh, married and had issue.
            • Sardar Karam Singh, married and had issue, three sons.
              • Sardar Rajinder Singh (second son)
          • Sardar Wasawa Singh, married a daughter of Sardar Gulab Singh Povindia (died 1854), and his wife, Sardarni Nand Kaur.
          • Sardar Attar Singh, he was adopted by Sardar Uttam Singh (see below), appointed Governor of the district around Rawalpindi in 1809; he was granted estates worth 28,000Rs at Syad Kasra and Ganja Mahal; married and had issue, one son. He died 1843 in Hazara. commander and civilian officer under Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
            • Raja Surat Singh C.S.I., commandant of the Sikh battalion posted at Peshawar during the first Anglo-Sikh war, commanded 2,000 men in the division sent to Multan to quell a revolt. After the annexation of the Punjab, Surat Singh's jagirs were confiscated and he was removed to Banaras with an annual pension of 720Rs. He lived at Banaras in privation till 1857, when during the mutiny he helped the British and saved the Banaras treasury, which contained the jewellery of Maharani Jind Kaur, on 6th July 1857. For these services, Surat Singh was allowed to return to the Punjab, his pension was raised to 4,800Rs and he was granted a permanent jagir in Gorakhpur district, appointed an honorary magistrate in his village of Majitha to which he came back in 1861, and was invested with civil and judicial powers. In 1877, the titles of Raja and Companionship of the Star of India were conferred upon him, he married 1stly, a daughter of Sardar Ran Singh of Wachohar, married 2ndly, a daughter of Sahib Singh of Attari, and had issue. He died in 1881 at Majitha.
              • Sardar Umrao Singh, born 1870 at Majitha, a village in Amritsar district, educated at a school in Amritsar and later joined the Aitchison College, Lahore, visited England in 1896 with his wife and again in 1897 to attend the Diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria. A scholar in Sanskrit and Persian, he studied philosophy and religion, dabbled in astronomy, photography and carpentry, and spoke five different languages fluently. As head of the Majitha family, Umrao Singh was privileged to attend the Coronation darbars in 1903 and 1910. In the autumn of 1912, he went with his wife to Budapest, returning to India in 1921, after the general amnesty had been granted by the King for political offences during the war. From 1929 to 1934, he lived in Paris, returning to India in 1934; he married 1stly, Sardarni Narindar Kumari, daughter of Sardar Gulab Singh of Attari, married 2ndly, 1911, Marie Antoinette Gottesman, pianist, a Hungarian lady whom he had met in Lahore at the house of Princess Sofia Duleep Singh, died 1948, and had issue. He died in Delhi on 17th December 1954.
                • Amrita Sher-gil, born 30th January 1913 in Budapest, educated briefly at Santa Anunciata School in Florence, Italy and at the École des Beaux Arts, Paris (Degree in Fine Arts); a famous painter, the only Asian to be elected as Associate of the Grand Salon in Paris; the Government of India has declared her works as National Art Treasures, and most of them are housed in the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi; she married in June 1938, her maternal cousin, Dr. Victor Egan, who was a medical doctor in her father's factory, she died sp 5th December 1941 in Lahore.
                • Indira Sher-gil, born 28th March 1914 in Budapest, married K.V.K. Sundaram of the Indian Civil Service, and had issue. She died 1975.
                  • Vivan Sundaram, born 1943 in Simla, studied painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts, M.S. University, Baroda (B.A. Fine Arts, 1965) and at the Slade School, London (Post-Diploma, 1968, on a Commonwealth Scholarship); a well known painter, he held his first solo exhibition in New Delhi in 1966; a founding member of SAHMAT (Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust, a collective to building solidarity among artists and individuals on questions of conscience in politics), presently a Visiting Professor at the Jamia Milia Islamia University in New Delhi; married Geeta Kapur.
                  • Navina Sundaram, born 1947.
              • Hon. Sardar Bahadur Dr. Sir Sundar Singh Majithia C.I.E., D.O.L., born 17th February 1872 at Majithia, a village 18 kms northeast of Amritsar, educated at Government School, Amritsar, and Aitchison College, Lahore, finally joining Government College, Lahore, to pass the intermediate (undergraduate) examination, secretary of Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Amritsar from 1894, became a member of the governing council of the Khalsa College, Amritsar from 1895, secretary of the college council from 1902 to 1912 and president of the council as well as of the college managing committee from 1920 till his death in 1941, a founder-member of the Chief Khalsa Diwan, established in October 1902, holding the office of secretary from 1902 to 1920 and again from 1934 to 1937. In 1932/1933, he acted as the president of the Diwan. He took a leading part in the founding of the Sikh Educational Conference in 1908, and presided at its annual sessions in 1911, 1924 and 1935, was nominated a member of the Viceroy's Legislative Council in 1909, elected the first president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee on the 16th November 1920, resigning the following year after his election to the Punjab Legislative Council and appointment as an executive councillor and revenue minister in the Punjab Government, elected to the Punjab Legislative Assembly from Batala constituency on the nomination of the Kalsa National Party Sundar Singh's field of activities extended to commerce and industry as well, Sardar Bahadur [cr.1911], C.I.E. [cr.1920], knighted in 1926, Doctor of Oriental Learning (D.O.L) honoris causa in 1926 awarded by the University of the Punjab, married 1stly 1886, Sardarni Khushalpal Kaur, daughter of Sardar Bishan Singh Kandaula, maternal uncle of Raja Bikram Singh of Faridkot, died 1887, married 2ndly, Sardarni Lady Parson Kaur, eldest daughter of Sardar Bhagwant Singh, Rais-i-Azam of Bhadaur, and had issue, and had issue. He died 2nd April 1941 at Lahore. The cremation took place at Amritsar on the premises of his permanent residence.
                • Sardar Surendra Singh Majithia (by Sardarni Khushpal Kaur), born 4th March 1895 (#2), educated at Kalsa Collegiate High School and Kalsa College, Amritsar; Senior Managing Partner, Saraya Sugar Factory, Saraya Oil Works, Saraya Distillery, Saraya Dairy Farm and Saraya Chemical Works, Sadarnagar; Fairweathers, Muzaffarpur, Bihar; Member, Kalsa College, Managing Committee and Governing Council, Amritsar; Patron and Life Member, Managing Committee and Vice-Chairman, Managing Council, Maharana Pratap High School, Gorakhpur; Member, Sugar Technologists' Association of India; Member, District Resettlement Committee and District Court of Wards Advisory Committee, Gorakhpur and Sant Attar Singh Educational Council, Mastuana, PEPSU; Life Member, Sikh Educational Committee; Patron U.P. Olympic Committee; married Lady Balbir Kaur Surendra Singh Majithia, daughter of General Hazura Singh of Patiala State. (Saraya Estate, P.O. Sardarnagar, Dist. Gorakhpur, U.P., India or Majithia House, Amritsar, Punjab, India)
                • Sardar Kirpal Singh Majithia (by Sardarni Khushpal Kaur), married and had issue.
                  • Sardar Gurnihal Singh Majithia
                  • Sardar Dilip Singh Majithia
                • Sqdr.-Ldr. Sardar Surjit Singh Majithia (by Sardarni Parsan Kaur), born 8th August 1912, Member of Lok Sabha I (1952), II (1957) and III (1962), educated at the Khalsa College at Amritsar, entered the Indian Air Force and reached the rank of Squadron Leader, he became a member of the Central Legislative Assembly in 1945, Indian Ambassador to Nepal 1947/1949, served as India's deputy defence minister 1952/1962, President of the Wrestling Federation of India 1964/1976 and President, Cricket Control Board of India 1956/1958, first President of the Yachting Association of India when it was established in 1960, President of Khalsa College, Amritsar 1944 for three decades, married the daughter of General Shivdev Singh, of an old family of the Wazirs of the princely state of Nabha. He died in Delhi on 27th September 1995.
                  • Sardar Satyajit Singh Majithia, former Deputy Defence Minister, married Sardarni Sukhmanjus Kaur, and has issue.
                    • Bibiji Harsimrat Kaur, born 25th July 1966, elected to the 15th Lok Sabha in 2009; Member, Committee on Estimates since 6th August 2009; Member, Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment since 31st August 2009; Member, Committee on Estimates;Member, Standing Committee on Food & Public Distribution since 5th May 2010; married 21st November 1991, Sukhbir Singh Badal, born 9th July 1962 in Badal, educated at Panjab University, Chandigarh (Punjab) and California State University, Los Angeles, USA; B.A (Hons.) Economics, M.A (Economics), M.B.A.; Elected to 11th Lok Sabha 1996; 12th Lok Sabha 1998/- ; and has issue, one son and two daughters. (Vill. Badal, P.O. Badal,Distt. Muktsar, Punjab, India)
                    • Kanwar Gurmehar Singh Majithia
                    • Kanwar Bikram Singh Majithia, born 1975, former Minister of State, Minister for Punjab Revenue and Rehabilitation; married 21st November 2009 in Delhi, Ganieve Grewal.
          • Sardar Partap Singh, Zamindar.
          • Sardar Hira Singh, Zamindar.
        • Jaimal Singh
      • Sahaj Singh, his nephewa were only young boys at their fathers death and he took possession of the property which went to his own son after his death; married and had issue. He died 1781.
        • Sardar Uttam Singh, the estate was forcibly taken by Maharaja Ranjit Singh of Lahore in 1803-1804; he adopted his nephew, Attar Singh, married and had adoptive issue. He died sp in 1827 when all his jagirs were resumed.
          • (A) Sardar Attar Singh (see above)

  • Manna Singh [Mahna Singh], he served under Sardar Charhat Singh Sukerchukia, and his son, Sardar Mahan Singh Sukerchukia, and received jagirs for his loyal services; married and had issue. He was killed in a battle to take Chuniot Fort in 1802 (1803).
    • Dassonda Singh, died 1806.
    • Jajji Singh
    • Sardar Amar Singh Khurd, he entered army service in the Dera Khas. a regiment of irregular cavalry composed of the sons of the Sikh nobility, he was granted the villages of Thallanwala and Sheikhapur in jagir by Maharaja Ranjit Singh; he received the Ilaqa of Majrah in recognition of his bravery at the siege of Multan in 1818, and after the Kashmir campaign in 1819, he was granted his fathers old estate of Jadah; in 1834, he accompanied the army under Prince Nau Nihal Singh and General Hari Singh Nalwa to Peshawar, when the province was formally annexed to the Sikh kingdom; he fought with distinction at the battle of Jamrud on 30th April 1837; in 1847, he left the Punjab on a pilgrimage to Hardwar where he died a year later, married and had issue. He died 1848 at Hardwar.
      • General Sardar Mahtab Singh, born 1811, appointed subedar while still a young boy and later then to the rank of Colonel in 1831, and was placed in charge of two regiments at Amritsar; he accompanied his father in a campaign to Peshawar in 1834 where he served with distinction; he took part in the Afridi expedition in 1839; he was promoted to the rank of General in 1841 by Maharaja Sher Singh; he served in the Sutlej campaign in 1846, and was appointed a Sardar soon afterwards; appointed an Honorary Magistrate at Amritsar in 1862, married 1stly, a daughter of Bhag Singh of Kila Chunda, married 2ndly, a daughter of Oghar Singh Lohianwala, married 3rdly, a daughter of Sardar Gulab Singh Gujratia (see Bhangi), and had issue. He died 1865 at Majitha.
      • General Sardar Gurdit Singh, he entered military service under Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1834, and rose to command three infantry battalions and a wing of light artillery, he was in command of the Lahore troops at Peshawar in September 1845; married the daughter of Nanak Chand, and niece of Diwan Sawan Mall, the governor of Multan. He died sp in 1853 at Majitha.
      • Colonel Mith Singh, he served as Colonel in the Sikh army from 1844; married and had issue. He died 1857.
        • Bachattar Singh, died of cholera in 1858 at Cawnpore.
        • Bijja Singh, born 1844, he succeeded his brother as Jamadar in the force.
        • Bishan Singh, born 1856.
      • General Kahn Singh, born 1826, he succeeded his father in command of the regiment.
      • General Hardit Singh, born 1836, married and had issue.
        • Partap Singh, born 1855.
        • Bhup Singh, born 1858.

  • Sardar Naudh Singh, Jagirdar -/1788, a feudal retainer under Amar Singh Bagga of the Kanhaiya misl, married a daughter of Akal, a Mann Jat Zamindar of the village Bhagga in Amritsar district, and had issue. He died 1788.
    • Sardar Desa Singh, Jagirdar 1788/1832, born 1768, commander of 400 sowars in 1804, appointed commandant of the Fort of Kangra after Ranjit Singh had occupied it driving away the Gurkha general, Amar Singh Thapa in 1809, made the nazim (administrator) of Kangra and hill districts of Chamba, Nurpur, Kotla, Shahpur, Jasrota, Basohli, Mankot, Jasvan, Siba, Guler, Mandi, Suket, Kulru and Datarpur in 1811, participated in the campaigns launched to capture Multan in 1818, Kashmir in 1819 and Naushera in 1823, he served as the nazim of Amritsar and its adjoining territories, with management of the Golden Temple as his special charge, married 1stly, married 2ndly, a Kangra lady, and had issue, three sons. He died 1832.
      • General Sardar Lehna Singh Hasam ud-Daula (by Sardarni Katochni), Jagirdar 1832/1854, was commander, civil and military administrator, and one of the principal sardars of the Sikh court, succeeded his father in 1832 as the nazim (governor) of Kangra and the hill districts, with the title of Qaisar ul-Iqtidar, holding the appointment until early 1844; he commanded 2 battalions of infantry, a topkhana of 10 light and field guns, and 1,500 horse, took part in the Dera Isma'il Khan expedition in 1831, and held charge of the management of Sri Harimandar Sahib, Amritsar; in March 1844, he fell foul of the Jalla regime and left the Punjab for Haridwar and settled in Banaras, he was arrested and kept under surveillance by the British he returned to the Punjab in 1851, but after two years went back to Banaras where he died; he was a man of considerable ability, a skilful mechanist and an original inventor, he much improved the Sikh ordinance, and also invented a clock which showed the hour, the day of the month and the phases of the moon, as an administrator, his assessments were moderate and his decisions were essentially just; married (amongst others), 1stly, a daughter of Sardar Gulab Singh Aimahwala, she died sp six months after the marriage, married 2ndly, and had issue, an only son. He died 25th July 1854 in Banaras.
        • Sardar Dayal Singh Majithia, Jagirdar 1854/1898, born 1848 at Banaras, educated at the Mission School at Amritsar and later privately by English tutors, he served as a member of the managing committee of the Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple), Amritsar for nearly thirty years; he accepted to be president of the standing committee of the Indian National Congress; he was founder of the Dyal Singh College and Dyal Singh Library; he was the first president of the Indian Asociation of Lahore continuing till his death; he was Chairman, Board of Directors of the Punjab National Bank. He died sp on 9th September 1898.
      • Sardar Gujar Singh, in 1834, he was selected to take charge of a mission to Calcutta to convey presents to the King of England, in order to ascertain British intentions with regard to Shikarpur, he fell in love with an European lady and wanted to marry her, but only ended up taking back home, English airs and graces as well as a love for champagne, which killed him two years later, when he walked over the parapet of his home in Amritsar whilst under its influence and was killed instantly (#1).
      • General Sardar Ranjodh Singh (by Sardarni Katochni), a military commander and jagirdar of the Sikh Darbar, governor of Hazara and the commander of Darbar troops in 1844, commanded a division of the Khalsa army with 70 guns, took part in the battle of 'Alival on 28th January 1846, made a member of the Council of Regency, arrested in 1848 following interception of his correspondence with Diwan Mal Raj of Multan, but was released after the war, his jagir was confiscated and he was given a pension of 2,500Rs per annum; he married and had issue. He died 1872.
        • Sardar Gajindar Singh Majithia
    • Bibiji (name unknown) Kaur, married Sardar Panjab Singh Randhawah of Khundah, and had issue.
OTHER MEMBERS:
  • Sardar Harbans Singh Majithia (aged 97 in 2005) and his grandson Jagjit Singh.
  • Sardar Iqbal Singh Majithia, married Sardarni Harbans Kaur, and had issue. (9-A, Ranjit Avenue, Amritsar, Punja, India)
    • Sardar Raj Mohinder Singh Majitha B.A., born 7th October 1939 in Majitha, Distt. Amritsar (Punjab), educated at Khalsa College, Amritsar (Punjab); 1963-83 Sarpanch, Village Hardo Putli, Distt. Amritsar1967-77 Member, Panchayat Samiti, Ajnala, Distt. AmritsarJuly 1998 Elected to Rajya SabhaAug. 1998-2000 Member, Committee on Papers Laid on the Table2001-02 Member, Punjab Vidhan SabhaJuly 2004 Elected to Rajya SabhaAug. 2004 onwards Member, Committee on Chemicals and FertilizersOct. 2004 onwards Member, Consultative Committee for the Ministry of Home Affairs; President, Governing Council, Khalsa College, Amritsar, 1996-2004; Chairman, The Majitha Cooperative Marketing-cum-Processing Society Limited, Majitha, 1991-2000; Chancellor, Governing Council, Khalsa College, Amritsar till date; Managing Director, Central Cooperative Bank Limited, Amritsar, 1968-70; Managing Director, (i) Central Cooperative Bank, Amritsar for six years; Director, (i) Cooperative Sugar Mills, Batala for six years and (ii) Punjab Agriculture Land Development Bank, Amritsar for three terms; Member, (i) Governing Council, Khalsa College, Amritsar since 1971 and (ii) Managing Committee Chief Khalsa Dewan since 1992; married 15th December 1969, Sardarni Gurpreet Kaur, and has issue, two sons and one daughter.
  • Sardar Parkash Singh Majithia, he was one of the most prominent of the Akali leaders of the 70's, 80's and 90's, and was popularly known as 'Majhe da jarnail'; he remained cabinet minister in many Akali governments holding important portfolios like Irrigation, Transport, Revenue and Rehabilitation; he was also a five-term elected M.L.A.; he served as the acting President of Akali Dal; being the senior most Akali leader in the 1990s, he was unanimously appointed the patron of Shiromani Akali Dal, an honour he retained till his last breath. His grandsons Sardar Jagteshwar Singh Majithia, Sardar Ajay Singh Majithia and Sardar Gurteshwar Singh Majithia have also been serving the people of Majitha and have carried the legacy of the family forward; married and had issue.
    • Sardar Simarjit Singh Majithia (Ex. chairman PUNSEED punjab), and his nephew Sardar Rajmohinder Singh Majithia (MP and MLA) are also well-known Akali leaders.
ADDITIONS, CORRECTIONS, SUGGESTIONS? ... Click_here
1. The Panjab chiefs: historical and biographical notices of the principal families in the territories under the Panjab government by Lepel Henry Griffin, Sir; Lahore, 1865, p.87
2. "The Indian and Pakistan Year Book and Who's Who 1951", published by Bennett, Coleman & Co., Ltd., Bombay, p.784