Dogra’s role is almost forgotten in all the discussions and writings about Jammu and Kashmir. While the fact is that the state of Jammu and Kashmir would not have come into existence, it would not have been an amazing display of diplomacy and valor by the Dogras led by Maharaja Gulab Singh (1792–1858). Maharaja Gulab Singh was the favorite commander of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in the early days. He showed his valor in the Sikh Wars in Afghanistan, due to which, in 1822, Maharaja Ranjit Singh ruled himself on the banks of the Chenab and gave him the title of King of Jammu.

During the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Gulab Singh united the Jammu region and started the Dogra settlement in the Himalayas. After the death of this great Punjab ruler, the Treaty of Amritsar in 1846 extended the kingdom of Maharaja Gulab Singh to the Kashmir Valley. The area was not neglected, but the Muslim governor strongly opposed the Dogras. Meanwhile, Dogra soldiers of Jammu and Himachal Pradesh carried out an important military operation in the Trans-Himalayas and fought a successful battle at great altitude. The great Dogra commander Zorawar Singh, who is counted among the bravest military officers in world history, won Ladakh after stiff opposition from the local empire. General Baj Singh, Mehta Basti Ram and other Dogra generals won over Gilgit-Baltistan. The Dogras also suffered heavy losses in this journey of success, but they were successful in establishing the Dogra Empire of Jammu and Kashmir, Which emerged as the largest princely state in British India. Maharaja Ranbir Singh, the successor of Gulab Singh, incorporated Hanja and Nagar into the Dogra Kingdom. Clearly, the unique multi-regional, multi-linguistic, multi-religious and multi-cultural feature of Jammu and Kashmir is the product of Dogras, for which historians did not give them enough credit.

Apart from the establishment of the state, Dogra also ruled it successfully for nearly a century, from 1846 to 1947. On 19 October 1947, my father approved the merger of the state with India. Throughout this century, there were four rulers – Maharaja Gulab Singh, Maharaja Ranbir Singh, Maharaja Pratap Singh and Maharaja Hari Singh. Despite the fact that the state had 80 percent Muslim population, the Dogras kept this state one by one. In those days, not only the talented Kashmiri Pandits helped to run the administration, but also the less people from outside the state joined it. These people included Sir Wajahat Hussain, Sir Gopalaswami Iyengar, who was the Prime Minister of the state from 1933 to 1939. BN Rao, one of the prominent names who framed the Constitution of India, was also the Prime Minister of India for some time.

Many progressive and far-reaching social reforms were introduced during Dogra’s rule, especially by my father Maharaja Hari Singh, who ascended the throne in 1925. It is sad that he is usually remembered for the last months of his rule, counting the tribal attacks, the merger of the kingdom into India, and the subsequent war. This faded out the notable reforms that my father had initiated, such as the end of begari (forced labor), opening of doors to all temples for Harijans / Dalits in 1929, the introduction of forced schools (including Muslim girls at the time To study when no such concept existed elsewhere in India) and to protect the land ownership and service-employment of the permanent settlers of the state from external strong forces by the state-institution. The hallmark of how I led the journey from feudalism to democracy is that I have made Sadar-e-Riyasat and Union Cabinet Minister,
Apart from outstanding contribution to the Indian Army, Dogra has also played an important role in cultural cooperation, be it traditional dance music or world famous hill paintings like Basohli, Guler and Kangra. Dogri language has also been included in the eighth schedule of the constitution. Dogras are undoubtedly small in number, but they play a notable role in many areas of public life.

Both of them remain connected even after changing the constitutional position of Jammu and Kashmir. In many ways, the economies of the two regions are mutually supportive. While a large part of the pilgrims who come to the holy cave of Amarnath pass through Jammu, most of the products of horticulture and handicrafts of Kashmir pass through the markets of Jammu. True, the two regions have been consolidated as a joint union territory, which has not been welcomed in both the regions. Kashmiris feel that after enjoying special status and constitution, their status has now diminished from other Indian states, while Dogras believe that given their contribution to the expansion and strengthening of India’s northern border, they expect it to be wrong Not that they get full state status with regional autonomy of both the areas.

The prolonged internet ban and the detention of several political leaders (including three former chief ministers and it has now entered its sixth month) in Kashmir have started to have negative psychological effects on people. In the larger national interest, it is important that the political situation is normalized and the Internet restored. Only after all this, since August 2019, this Union Territory will be able to recover huge losses of thousands of crores of rupees and all the benefits, which were promised to be after the reorganization, are actually the people of the erstwhile Dogra State. Will reach


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