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[dih-wahn, -wawn] /dɪˈwɑn, -ˈwɔn/
(in India) any of certain officials, as a financial minister or prime minister of a native colony.
Also, diwan.
1680-90; < Hindi: minister (of state) < Persian dēvan register; see divan Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for dewan


(formerly in India) the chief minister or finance minister of a state ruled by an Indian prince
Word Origin
C17: from Hindi dīwān, from Persian dēvan register, book of accounts; see divan
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
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Encyclopedia Article for dewan

in Islamic societies, a "register," or logbook, and later a "finance department," "government bureau," or "administration." The first divan appeared under the caliph 'Umar I (634-644) as a pensions list, recording free Arab warriors entitled to a share of the spoils of war. Out of rents and property taxes exacted from conquered farmers and landowners, hereditary pensions were assigned to warriors entered in the divan. Later the term came to signify a financial institution, and, by the time of the caliphate of Mu'awiyah (661-680), it meant a government bureau, e.g., the chancellery or the postal service. Iranians used the term divan until about the 19th century to mean the central government in general, while in Mughal India, from the time of Akbar (1556-1605), the term was chiefly associated with government finance, the chief finance minister being the divan, with provincial dawawin under him. In the Ottoman Empire the divan became the imperial chancery headed by the grand vizier, though a consultative assembly of senior officials summoned by Selim I in 1515 was also called a divan. The term was early extended to mean the audience chamber of important government officers, whose offices, furnished with mattresses and cushions along the walls, account for the extension of the meaning of divan to sofa. In modern Turkey a divan is an administrative unit in rural areas

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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