Nawab Sher Mohammed Khan
The founder of Royal family of Malerkotla was Shaikh Sardar ud-din Sardar-i-Jahan, a Sherwani Afghan originating from Daraban. He received a jagir of 58 villages near Ludhiana and three lakhs of rupees as marriage gift, after marrying a daughter of Sultan Bahlol Lodhi of Delhi in 1454. The ruling family descends from Shaikh Salar ud-din the issue of this marriage.
The founder of the Malerkotla state was Bayazid Khan, who rose high in rank in the Mughal army. Saving the life of the Emperor Aurangzeb from an attacking tiger, he received high honours and recognition as an independent ruler. He was granted the right to construct a defensive fort, which he named Malerkotla, from which the state took its name. According to family tradition, he summoned Shah Fazl Chishti, a Sufi saint, and Damodar Das, a Hindu sadhu, to place the foundation stone, thereby also laying the foundations for the spirit of communal harmony and religious toleration that characterise Malerkotla.
Nawab Sher Muhammad Khan, Bayazid's grandson, earned the undying gratitude and honour of the Sikhs. He had interceded with the Emperor in an attempt to stay the execution of Guru Gobind Singh's two young sons, after their capture at Sirhind. Guru Gobind Singh on learning this kind and humanitarian approach profusely thanked the Nawab of Malerkotla and blessed him.
The spirit of communal harmony that pervaded the history of this little state endured even through the most difficult period during partition in 1947. As the rest of the Punjab went up in flames, and hundreds of thousands perished at the hands of their neighbours, Malerkotla remained an oasis of peace.
(With thanks from: Malerkotla.org)