Delhi has a long history of policing through the famed institution of
the Kotwal. Malikul Umara Faqruddin is said to be the first Kotwal of
Delhi. He became the Kotwal at the age of 40 in 1237 A.D. and was also
simultaneously appointed as the Naibe-Ghibat (Regent in absence). Because
of his integrity and sagacity he had a very long tenure, holding the post
through the reigions of three Sultans Balban, Kaikobad and Kaikhusrau.
On one occasion when some Turkish nobles had approached him to secure
the withdrawal of Balban's order. confiscating their estates, the Kotwal
is recorded to have said, "My words will carry no weight if I accept
any bribe from you. It is presumed that the Kotwal, or Police Head quarters
was then located at Qila Rai Pithora or today's Mehrauli.
Another Kotwal mentioned in history books is Malik Alaul Mulk, who was
appointed by Sultan Allauddin Khilji in 1297 AD. Sultan Alauddin Khilji
once said of him, "He deserves the Wizarat (Prime Ministership)
but I have appointed him only the Kotwal of Delhi on account of' his
When Emperor Shahjahan shifted his capital from Agra to Delhi, in 1648,
he appointed Ghaznafar Khan as the first Kotwal of the new city, bestowing
on him also the very important office of Mir-i-Atish (Chief of Artillery).
The institution of Kotwal came to an end with the crushing of the
revolt of 1857,
the first war of freedom by the British and, interestingly, the last Kotwal of Delhi,
appointed just before the eruption of the first war of freedom, was Gangadhar Nehru,
father of Pandit Motilal Nehru and grand father of Pandit Jawaharlal
Nehru, India's first Prime Minister .