When that political entity was reorganised in 1956, the territories of the erstwhile state of Malerkotla became part of Punjab. It is located on the Sangrur-Ludhiana State Highway (no. 11) and lies on the secondary Ludhiana-Delhi railway line. It is about 50 kilometres (31 mi) from Ludhiana and 35 kilometres (22 mi) from Sangrur in Sangrur district.
Malerkotla, a Muslim majority state was established in 1454 A.D. by Sheikh Sadruddin-i-Jahan from Afghanistan, and was ruled by his Sherwani descendents. The State of Malerkotla was established in 1600 A.D. It is noteworthy that during the 1947 riots when Punjab was in flames, the State of Malerkotla did not witness a single incident of violence; through it all, it remained a lone island of peace.
The roots of communal harmony date back to 1705, when Sahibzada Fateh Singh and Sahibzada Zorawar Singh, 9 and 7 year old sons of 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, were ordered to be bricked alive by the governor of Sirhind, Wazir Khan, his close relative, Sher Mohammed Khan, Nawab of Malerkotla, who was present in the court, lodged vehement protest against this inhuman act and said it is against the glorious tenets of Quran and Islam. Wazir Khan nevertheless had the Sahibzadas tortured and bricked into a section of wall while still alive. At this the noble Nawab of Malerkotla walked out of the court in protest. Guru Gobind Singh on learning this kind and humanitarian approach and blessed the Nawab of Malerkotla with his Hukamnama, Kirpan etc. In recognition of this act, the State of Malerkotla did not witness a single incident of violence during partition.
During the partition of India, there were no riots or bloodshed in any part of Maler Kotla State. The last Nawab Iftkhar Ali Khan maintained calm & harmony during the turbulent period. He remained in India & died in the year 1982. His tomb is located in Shahi grave yard situated at Sirhandi gate, Maler Kotla.
However a part of the Ruling Family of Sheikh Sadr-ud-Din Sherwani migrated to Pakistan and living mostly in Model Town, Lahore, Muzzafargarh, Khangarh. Though many also contribute this peace to the presence of the shrine of 'Baba Haidar Sheikh', the Sufi saint, who founded the town of Malerkotla more than 500 years ago.
Malerkotla is famous for its vegetables and badge-making industry as well, besides its poets and monuments.
As per provisional data of 2011 census Malerkotla urban agglomeration had a population of 135,330, out of which males were 71,401 and females were 63,923. The literacy rate was 70.25 per cent.
Urdu is taught alongside Punjabi in Malerkotla schools due to the local Muslim majority. The Nawab Sher Mohammad Khan Institute of Advanced Studies in Urdu, Persian and Arabic is part of Punjabi University, Patiala, and is named after one of the founders of Malerkotla State. It provides facilities for higher research in the languages and literature of Urdu and Persian up to PhD level and additionally runs classes for M.A. (Persian), Certificate courses (Urdu, Persian and Arabic), MSc (IT) 2 years, MSc (IT) Lateral entry, PGDCA (1 year) and CCA (6 months).
Malerkotla is situated on Delhi-Jakhal-Dhuri-Ludhiana Railway line. The nearest railway junctions are Dhuri 18 Kilometers, Ludhiana 45 Kilometers.
The nearest airports to Malerkotla are:Chandigarh International Airport, Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar, Mohali (about 120 kilometres (75 mi) away)
Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport, Amritsar (about 250 kilometres (160 mi) away)