Monday, 14 November 2022

Maharaja: lustful Cabinet Meetings of Princely State Kapurthala. (By Divan Germani Das)

Ghulam Gilani was the Prime Minister of the Government of Kapurthala, an important State in Northern India, situated in the strategic Doab region of Punjab. He was virtually a dictator during the reign of Maharaja Nihal Singh of Kapurthala.

The ministers and officials of the State feared him, and even the Maharaja was dependent on him. There was no check on his powers by any other authority in the Government.

In those days the Maharajas and the Kings were mere nominal figures but the real power was vested in the hands of the Prime Ministers who were in reality the dictators, like the Ranas of Nepal.


These dictators used the Kings to satisfy the subjects as imperial symbols of authority, but wielded real power themselves.

Ghulam Gilani lived in the city of Kapurthala, not far out in splen did isolation. He held his daily cabinet meetings at Diwan Khana near the palace of Princess Gobind Kaur, daughter of Maharaja Nihal Singh and sister of Maharaja Kharak Singh, Ruler of Kapurthala State and she was renowned for her great beauty and sex appeal.

Ghulam Gilani had a harem of his own, but he loved Princess Gobind Kaur madly.


In those times most of the Hindu States had Muslim Prime Minis ters and the Court language used to be Persian or Urdu. Most of the official documents and files were written in Persian or Persia-nised Urdu.


Ghulam Gilani was a man of most luxurious habits and had many wives who were strictly veiled as ordained by the Muslim faith. One part of the Diwan Khana was set apart exclusively for his personal use and in the other part, cabinet meetings used to be held.


These meetings took place everyday when most of the ministers brought their official files for submission to the Prime Minister and for receiving his orders. At the back of the Diwan Khana there was a garden for his relaxation.


In one part of the house, Ghulam Gilani had a narrow under ground tunnel dug up which connected the Diwan Khana with the adjacent palace where Princess Gobind Kaur lived.


This tunnel was unknown to anyone except Ghulam Gilani and Gobind Kaur and at the entrance of the tunnel there was a big spacious room where Ghulam Gilani administered justice and did his official work of the day.


In front of this room there was a big hall where the ministers collected for Cabinet meetings, presided over by the Prime Minister. The time for the meeting usually was about 2 p.m. in the winter months and about 9 a.m. in the summer months.


Ghulam Gilani had put up a big curtain between the main hall and his study room adjoining it.

He sat in the small room on a Persian carpet with a huge white pillow on which he inclined and smoked hookah (a big smoking pipe) and used to conduct the proceedings while the other ministers sat luxuriously in the main room on Persian carpets but they were not allowed to smoke hookah.


Screened by the curtain the Prime Minister’s movements were not noticeable and he went through the tunnel to the palace of Gobind Kaur to be with her whenever it pleased him and at the same time gave the appearance of carrying on the administration of Ihe State.


Each Minister prepared the case and submitted his views in writing to the Prime Minister who had the power to agree with the views of the Minister or not and give final orders. All the Ministers used to study thoroughly the civil and criminal cases including murder cases, civil or revenue disputes, and submitted their views to the Prime Minister.


The Prime Minister had adopted a peculiar and unique method for conducting the proceedings of the Cabinet. As he used to sit behind the curtain, he was not visible to the members of the Cabinet but he could speak to them whenever he wanted to do so.


The Cabinet members were given to understand that whenever he was silent on a case, this should be considered as rejected.


If he would say, ‘Yes’ or ‘I don’t mind agreeing with you,’ then they should understand that the Prime Minister agreed with the views of the Minister concerned.


But it habitually happened that when the Cabinet Meeting was going on, the Prime Minister used to sneak away from his study room. He was away to the residence of Gobind Kaur through the underground tunnel.


The Ministers used to read out their cases loudly and submitted them to the Prime Minister, seeking his sanction, but as most of the time, the Prime Minister was not in his room, there was no response from him.


Silence had meant that the case was rejected by the Prime Minister.

Whenever it suited the Prime Minister to bring Gobind Kaur to his study room, he did so and she used to sit in his lap while he presided over the Cabinet meetings sitting behind the curtain, smoking the hukka and drinking strong beverages especially brewed for the Prime Minister.

The most intoxicating wines were prepared with the admixture of precious metals including gold, silver and pearls of rare value which cost the Prime Minister one thousand rupees per cup. The Ministers sitting in the next room were ignorant of what was happening in the Prime Minister’s room.


Both the Prime Minister and Princess Gobind Kaur drained one cup after another. The Ministers were under the illusion that their presiding genius was there alone attending carefully to the cases and reports submitted to him by them.


The Cabinet meeting would last several hours during which period Ghulam Gilani was either at the palace of Gobind Kaur or playing with her a romantic game in the Cabinet room.


The Ministers would get disappointed to find that nearly all their recommenda tions were rejected by the Prime Minister.


After some time the Ministers came to know of the mystery surrounding Ghulam Gilani’s performance. They decided to find out a way to get rid of such a licentious Prime Minister.


The public was also tired of the administration as most of the innocent people were hung and murderers were set scot free. The revenues of the State dwindled and the treasury got depleted. The people were revolting everywhere.

The End

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