Sardar

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President Sardar Ayub Khan and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy with the prized stallion "Sardar".[1]
Sardar-I-Azam, HRH Prince Abdol Majid Mirza c. 1920s.
King Amānullāh Khān conferred the title Sardar-i-Ala to those of exceptional service to the Crown.
A plaque commemorating H.H. Sardar Ranoji Shinde Bahadur, Prince of Gwalior. The title of Sardar is used by the Maratha nobility of Gwalior State[2] and as such is used by the most senior Mahratta nobles.[3]

Sardar, a word of Indo-Iranian origin also spelled as Sirdar, Sardaar or Serdar, is a title of nobility (sir-, sar/sair- means "head or authority" and -dār means "holder" in Sanskrit[4] and Avestan[5] respectively) that was originally used to denote princes, noblemen, and other aristocrats. It has also been used to denote a chief or leader of a tribe or group. It is used synonymously with the title Amir.

The term and its cognates originate from and have been historically used across Persia (now Iran), South Asia (Pakistan, India, and Nepal), Mesopotamia (now Iraq, Kurdistan, Turkey, Syria), the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Balkans and Egypt.[6] It is frequently used as a personal name by both men and women throughout the Balkans, the Caucasus, Turkey, Central Asia, Iran, and Pakistan.[citation needed]

The term was widely used by Maratha nobility, who held important positions in various Maratha States of the imperial Maratha Empire.

After the decline of feudalism, Sardar later indicated a Head of State, a Commander-in-chief, and an Army military rank. As a military rank, a Sardar typically marked the Commander-in-Chief or the highest-ranking military officer in an Army, akin to the modern Field Marshal, General of the Army or Chief of Army. The more administrative title Sirdar-Bahadur denoted a Governor-General or Chief Minister of a remote province, akin to a British Viceroy.

In Himalayan mountaineering, a Sirdar is a local leader of the Sherpas.[7] Among other duties, he records the heights reached by the individual Sherpas, which factors into their compensation. Sardar is also colloquially used to refer to adult male followers of Sikhism, as a disproportionate number of Sikhs have honorably served in many high-ranking positions within the Indian Army.

Princes[edit]

Noblemen[edit]

Aristocrats[edit]

  • In the small district of Sudhanoti, Kashmir, Sardar is used by the hybrid Sudhan tribe to refer to their putative part-descent from the Sadozai clan of King Ahmad Shah Durrani. Also, Poonch families in this region use Sardar at the beginning of their names.
  • Sardar was used for important political, tribal, military and religious officers rankings by the Sikhs during the period of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
  • In the Hazara Division of Pakistan, the word Sardar is used by the Karlal tribe before their names, traditionally, to stress their upper-caste status, e.g., Sardar Muhammad Aslam, Sardar Haider Zaman etc.

Head of State[edit]

  • Vallabhbhai Patel, the first Deputy Prime Minister of India was referred to as Sardar Patel; he is also now known as the "Iron Man of India".
  • Sadar-i-Riyasat was the title of one Constitutional Head of State of the princely state of Kashmir, Yuvaraj Shri Karan Singhji Bahadur, who was appointed as Heir Apparent in 1931. After his father had acceded to India, ending the sovereign Monarchy, Regent in 1949 to 1956. Sardar-i-Riyasat 1956 to 1965 (succeeded on the death of his father as Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, 1961, no longer carrying any hereditary power), next Governor of the Indian constitutive State of Jammu and Kashmir 1965 to 1967.
  • In Persian, Sardar i-Azam was occasionally used as an alternative title for the Shahanshah's Head of government, normally styled Vazir i-Azam, notably in 1904-06 for a Qajar prince, HRH, the Prince Major General Abdol Majid Mirza.

Military title[edit]

A Sikh sardar

Modern usage[edit]

  • In Himalayan mountaineering, a Sirdar is the local leader of the Sherpas and porters.[8] Among other duties, he records the heights reached by individual Sherpas, which dictates the amounts the Sherpas will be paid.
  • HMS Sirdar was a World War II Royal Navy submarine.
  • "Siridar" is a title of planetary rulers in Frank Herbert's Dune. The Padishah Emperor's elite troops are also called the Sardaukar.
  • Sardar is also colloquially used to refer to adult male followers of the religion of Sikhism, as a disproportionate number of Sikhs have honorably served in many high-ranking positions within the Indian Army. Notable examples include Generals Joginder Jaswant Singh and Harbaksh Singh.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.ciaonet.org/book/mcmahon/McMahon09.html
  2. ^ http://books.google.co.in/books?id=r2O3W7mkAwAC&pg=PA252&dq=title+of+sardar+maratha&hl=en&sa=X&ei=T12gUf_RJ4P4rQew-IC4CQ&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=title%20of%20sardar%20maratha&f=false
  3. ^ http://www.royalark.net/India/gwalior.htm
  4. ^ http://enlight.lib.ntu.edu.tw/FULLTEXT/JR-MAG/mag140864.pdf
  5. ^ http://hem.passagen.se/adragoor/DoD/avestan.htm
  6. ^ http://encyclopedia.jrank.org/SHA_SIV/SIRDAR_or_SARDAR_Persian_sardar.html
  7. ^ Sayre, Woodrow Wilson (1964). Four Against Everest. Englewood Cliffs, NJ, USA: Prentice-Hall. p. 223. Library of Congress Catalog Card No: 64-15208. 
  8. ^ Sayre, Woodrow Wilson (1964). Four Against Everest. Englewood Cliffs, NJ, USA: Prentice-Hall. p. 223. Library of Congress Catalog Card No: 64-15208. 

External links[edit]