AskDefine | Define dewan

Extensive Definition

The originally Persian title of diwan (also quite commonly known as Dewan; also spelled -van) has at various points in the Islamic history, designated various differing though similar functions.


The title diwan is derived from the name of a particular sofa-like piece of sitting furniture known as a divan, which is the common shape of thrones in the Indian subcontinent, either a Hindu Gadi or a Muslim Musnaid.


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. 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.
In Javanese and related languages the cognate Dewan is the standard word for council, as in the Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat or Council of People's Representatives.


During the effective rule of the Mughal empire, the diwan served as the chief revenue officer of a province.
Later, when most vassal states gained various degrees of self-determination, the finance - and/or chief minister of many princely states (especially Muslim, but also many Hindu, including Baroda, Hyderabad, Mysore, Kochi, Travancore - referred as Dalawa until 1811) became known as a diwan.
Exceptionally, a ruler was himself titled Dewan, notably
Nowadays, the title is used amongst certain upper-middle-class families in the South Asia; several landlords in villages and provinces across the subcontinent have names prefixed with this title. The title, in its variant form "Dewan", is especially common amongst Muslim land-owners in Bengal and the Punjab.

Derived and compound titles

Diwan Deo was the hereditary title borne by the Chief Minister of Cooch, held by a junior branch of the ruling Narayan dynasty

Abstract use

The term Diwani is sometimes used to refer to British sovereignty or suzerainty over India, either just before or during the British Raj.

French India

In French India, one of its colonies Yanaon has Zamindar and Diwan. They much active in its local and municipal administration during french reign. The Zamindar of Yanam was given a 4 gun salute by the French counterparts.
dewan in Swedish: Divan (titel)
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1