Malik Umar Hayat Khan

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Sir Umar Hayat Khan
Malik Umar Hayat Khan - Assistant Delhi Herald.jpg
Khan as Assistant Delhi Herald, 1911
Born(1874-10-05)5 October 1874
Megha, Punjab, British India
Died24 March 1944(1944-03-24) (aged 69)
Sargodha, Punjab, British India
Allegiance British India
Service/branchBritish Indian Army
RankMajor General
Unit18th King George's Own Lancers
19th King George's Own Lancers
Battles/warsSomaliland War
British expedition to Tibet
World War I
Third Anglo-Afghan War
Alma materAitchison College

Major General Nawab Sir Umar Hayat Khan Tiwana GBE KCIE MVO (5 October 1874 – 24 March 1944), was a Rajput soldier of the Indian Empire, one of the largest landholders in the Punjab, and an elected member of the Council of State of India.

Background and early life[edit]

He was born in Megha, Punjab.[1] His father was Sir Malik Sahib Khan and his family, from Khushab, were part of the Tiwana family of Shahpur.[2] Khan was educated at Aitchison Chiefs College, Lahore between 1888–93.[1]

Sir Malik Umar Hayat Khan as an Honorary Lieutenant of the 18th King George's Own Lancers, early 20th century (watercolour by Major A.C. Lovett (1862-1919)).

Military service[edit]

Khan served in the Somaliland War of 1902–1904, receiving the Jidballi medal and clasp, the British expedition to Tibet of 1903-1904 (for which he was Mentioned in Despatches[3]), the European theatre of the Great War between 1914-15 (during which he was Mentioned in Despatches[4][5] a further six times), and then in the Third Anglo-Afghan War. He was attached to the 18th King George's Own Lancers and later the 19th King George's Own Lancers.[2]

He acted as an honorary aide-de-camp to George V,[6] Edward VIII,[7] and George VI.[2][8]

Public life[edit]

In 1907, moving beyond his career as a soldier, the management of his family estates in the Punjab, and his role as an hereditary Provincial Darbari, Khan became an Attaché to HM the Amir of Afghanistan.[2] He served as a member of the Governor-General of India's Imperial Council from 1910 to 1944.[2]

In 1910, in the Imperial legislature, Khan called for Europeans to supervise districts as "...disinterested men to safeguard the interests of all".[9]

At the Delhi Durbar of 1911, Khan acted as Assistant Herald to Brigadier General William Peyton, the Delhi Herald Extraordinary.[2][10]

In December 1913, he was elected as one of the seventeen officers of the All-India Muslim League, at the League's Seventh Session held at Agra.[11] He was instrumental in ensuring ex-servicemen were enfranchised in the Montagu–Chelmsford Reforms of 1919.[1]

He was a member of the Council of the Secretary of State for India from 1924 to 1934, as well as becoming an elected member of the Council of State and a member of the Punjab Legislative Council for two terms.[2]

In a deposition for a case in the High Court in 1924, Khan was described as "Colonel Sir Malik Umar Hayat Khan Tiwana KCIE, CEI, MVO, Zamindar of forty-eight thousand bighas at Shapur, Rawalpindi, Honorary Magistrate 1st Class".[12]


From 1929 to 1934, he spent most of his time in London, joining the conservative Carlton Club and becoming President of the British Falconers' Club.[2] He was accompanied to London by Sultan Khan, a servant and talented chess player, whose career he promoted whilst in the United Kingdom.[13]

In London he resided in the 10 Prince Albert Road, Regent's Park, and held an open house every weekend.[14] Choudhry Rahmat Ali was a regular guest of his during this time and his Now or Never pamphlet was partly penned at the residence.[15]

O'Dwyer v. Nair libel case[edit]

In 1924, Khan appeared as a significant witness in the O'Dwyer v. Nair libel case, heard in the High Court in London over five weeks from 30 April 1924.[16]

Sir Michael O'Dwyer, Lieutenant-Governor of the Punjab until 1919, sued Sir Chettur Sankaran Nair in a case concerning matters arising from the Amritsar Massacre and the Punjab Disturbances of 1919, and in particular recruiting abuses in the Punjab between 1917 and 1918. The case turned into one of the longest civil hearings in English legal history up to that time.[16]

Khan, appearing as a witness for O'Dwyer, stated that there had been a recruiting quota, namely one third of all villagers of military age. He described the killing of Tahsildar Sayyad Nadir Hussain in Lakk by villagers who strongly objected to his approach to recruiting, and an attack by one thousand rioters on police seeking to enforce recruitment warrants, resulting in the killing of some of the rioters. Under cross examination, he admitted that there had been a "white book" and a "black book", in which village headmen who met recruitment targets and those who did not were listed.[16]

O'Dwyer won his case,[16] with the sole dissenting member of the jury being the political philosopher Harold Laski.[17]

Personal life[edit]

His son Malik Khizar Hayat Tiwana went on to become the last Premier of the Punjab.[1]


Military promotions[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Talbot, Ian (16 December 2013). Khizr Tiwana, the Punjab Unionist Party and the Partition of India. Routledge. p. 1136790292.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y MALIK MOHAMMED UMAR HAYAT KHAN (TIWANA), Maj.-Gen. Hon. Sir in Who Was Who 1941–1950, (London, A & C Black, 1980 reprint: ISBN 0-7136-2131-1)
  3. ^ "No. 27710". The London Gazette. 2 September 1904. p. 5684.
  4. ^ "No. 29422". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 1915. p. 75.
  5. ^ "No. 29823". The London Gazette (Supplement). 14 November 1916. p. 11037.
  6. ^ a b "No. 33664". The London Gazette. 25 November 1930. p. 7501.
  7. ^ a b "No. 34325". The London Gazette. 22 September 1936. p. 6074.
  8. ^ a b "No. 34370". The London Gazette. 12 February 1937. p. 996.
  9. ^ Shukla, J. D., Indianisation of All-India Services and Its Impact on Administration 1834-1947, New Delhi, Allied Publishers, 1982
  10. ^ Cox, Noel, A New Zealand Heraldic Authority? in John Campbell-Kease (ed), Tribute to an Armorist: Essays for John Brooke-Little to mark the Golden Jubilee of The Coat of Arms, London, The Heraldry Society, 2000, p. 93 & p. 101: "Two heralds, with ceremonial rather than heraldic responsibilities, were appointed for the Delhi Durbar in 1911... Delhi Herald (Brigadier-General William Eliot Peyton) and Assistant Delhi Herald (Captain the Honourable Malik Mohammed Umar Hayat Khan)."
  11. ^ Ralhan, O. P., Encyclopaedia of Political Parties: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh (1996), p. 242: "10. The Hon'ble Captain Malik Umar Hayat Khan, CIE, MVO"
  12. ^ Collett, Nigel A., The Jallianwala Bagh Revisited II online at The Jallianwala Bagh Revisited II Archived 1 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine at the web site (accessed 25 January 2008)
  13. ^ King, Daniel (8 April 2020). Sultan Khan: The Indian Servant Who Became Chess Champion of the British Empire. New in Chess. ISBN 9056918761.
  14. ^ Aziz, Khursheed Kamal (1987). Rahmat Ali: A Biography. Steiner Verlag Wiesbaden. ISBN 3515050515.
  15. ^ Ali Usman Qasmi, Megan Eaton Robb (15 September 2017). Muslims against the Muslim League. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 1107166632.
  16. ^ a b c d Collett, Nigel A., The Jallianwala Bagh Revisited online at The Jallianwala Bagh Revisited Archived 1 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine at the web site (accessed 25 January 2008)
  17. ^ Berg, Maxine, A Woman in History (1996), p. 148
  18. ^ "No. 28559". The London Gazette. 8 December 1911. pp. 9363–9364.
  19. ^ "No. 29608". The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 June 1916. p. 5570.
  20. ^ "No. 27926". The London Gazette (Supplement). 26 June 1906. p. 4462.
  21. ^ "No. 34056". The London Gazette. 1 June 1934. p. 3568.
  22. ^ "No. 31379". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 May 1919. p. 7051.
  23. ^ "No. 27312". The London Gazette. 10 May 1901. p. 3202.
  24. ^ "No. 28506". The London Gazette. 20 June 1911. p. 4603.
  25. ^ "No. 30252". The London Gazette (Supplement). 27 May 1930. p. 8853.
  26. ^ "No. 33609". The London Gazette. 27 May 1930. p. 3327.
  27. ^ "No. 34155". The London Gazette. 30 April 1935. p. 2823.
  28. ^ "No. 34209". The London Gazette. 18 October 1935. p. 6545.

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