A plaque commemorating Sardar Ranoji Shinde Bahadur, Prince of Gwalior. The title of Sardar is used by the Maratha nobility of Gwalior State and as such is used by the most senior Mahratta nobles.
Sardar (Persian: سردار, Persian pronunciation: [sær'dɑr]; "Commander" literally; "Headmaster"), also spelled as Sirdar, Sardaar, Shordar or Serdar, is a title of nobility 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 as a Persian synonym of the Arabic title Emir.
In Himalayanmountaineering, a Sirdar is a local leader of the Sherpas. 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 served in high-ranking positions within the Indian Army. Sometimes, it has also been used to describe Punjabi Muslims.
In Baluchistan, the title Sardar marked the chief of his tribe.
In the Royal Afghan Kingdom, the original Nishan-i-Sardari (Order of the Leader), founded by King Amanullah in 1923, was bestowed for exceptional service to the Crown by the Afghan monarch. Recipients enjoyed the titles of Sardar-i-Ala or Sardar-i-Ali before their names and also received grants of land. The original Order was disbanded in 1929, and was later revived by King Muhammad Zahir Shah. In addition, several important tribal leaders and chiefs in Afghanistan, were also designated as 'Sardars'.
In Ottoman Turkey, Serdar was a rank in Montenegro and Serbia. Serdar was also used in the Principality of Montenegro and the Principality of Serbia as an honorary "title" below that of Vojvoda. For example, Janko Vukotić who was a military leader and former prime minister of Montenegro with title of Serdar. However, this were not noble titles as there was no nobility in Serbia and Montenegro and no hereditary titles apart from those borne by members of the reigning families of both countries.
The early feudalMaratha Empire prior to Peshwa administration (1674–1749) used the title Sardar to identify an imperial court minister with military and diplomatic functions. If granted land (jagir), the title Sardar also marked a feudal superior responsible for administration, defense and taxing of the granted territory (equivalent to the European title Count, from the French comte meaning the "companion" or delegate to the Emperor that administered a county). These Sardars of the early Maratha Empire were life peers; the title was not hereditary.
The title Sirdar was used by Englishmen to describe native noblemen in British India (e.g., Sirdars of the Deccan).
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.
In the small district of Sudhanoti, Kashmir, Sardar is used by the hybrid Sudhan tribe to refer to their putative part-descent from the Sadduzai clan of King Ahmad Shah Durrani. Also, Poonch families in this region use Sardar at the beginning of their names.
Similarly Sardar is used by Khattar tribe noble men, native to the districts of Attock and adjacent areas of Rawalpindi.
Sardar was used for important political, tribal, military and religious officers rankings by the Sikhs during the period of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and this title was borrowed from Muslims.
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 Himalayanmountaineering, a Sirdar is the local leader of the Sherpas and porters. Among other duties, he records the heights reached by individual Sherpas, which dictates the amounts the Sherpas will be paid.
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.