Mahadeep Singh Jamwal
A meeting of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s wife and that of Raja Ajit Singh’s wife was agreed upon at Jammu on the condition that honored guest will go to Jammu with small contingent of about 200 men only. But when prince and his mother entered Jammu city, in their company were some thousands of men. Frightened the host took to flight, and their followers submitted without fighting. Subsequently Raja Ajit Singh was pensioned off and Jammu was conferred as Jagir on Karrak Singh, who appointed Dewn Ajit Singh Khullal of Gujrat to govern it on his behalf in consultation with Mian Mota Singh, who was assigned one – fourth of its revenues. Thus Jammu was made a part of the kingdom of the Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
Jammu Raj to Gulab Singh: In order to arrive at how the Jammu Raj was given to Gulab Singh, we have to dip further into other chapter of history. In 1810, Gulab Singh was taken into the services of Maharaja Ranjit Singh as ‘Ghorchara’ (a cavalryman). In 1812, Gulab Singh’s father Mian Kishore Singh and his younger brother Dhian Singh also entered the services of Maharaja at Lahore. In 1813, Gulab Singh and his father took active part in a pitched battle that Lahore forces fought and won against Fateh Khan of Kabul for possession of ‘Attock’. In an abortive attempt in 1814, by Maharaja to conquer Kashmir, Gulab Singh was active player. As reward to Gulab Singh, Maharaja granted him the Jagirs of Kharoti and Beyol and promoted him to the command of twenty two horses. Somewhere in 1815, he received in Jagir’ Lala Chobara’ in Sialkot District and Ramgarh near Samba for his services in reduction of Garh Damala fort in the Jullundur Doab with enhanced authority to raise his own company of two hundred horses. In due course of time for his other heroic deeds for the Lahore Durbar, he became proud possessor of Reasi somewhere in 1816-17. On the other hand Mian Dido, a descendent of Raja Hari Dev of Jammu (1650-58), residing in the Jagti Jagir of his father, consolidated himself in the area and set his face against the Sikh rule in Jammu. Soon his words became law in the hills of Jammu, and Lahore authorities found it impossible to collect revenues from there. The Maharaja resolved to lead himself an expedition against Mian Dido. Gulab Singh asked for a chance to chastise the rebel before Maharaja himself took the trouble. Maharaja granted the request but realised necessity of lacing with proper authority and dignity a man who was to deal with a formidable foe of the stature of Mian Dido. Accordingly, on November 30, 1820 Ranjit Singh granted Gulab Singh, his father and brother jointly as Jagir “the Taalluqa of the Chakla of Jammu” (all the territories connected with Jammu) along with small states of Patti-Bhoti, Bandraltha, Chenani and Kishtwar. But we find that this was granted with certain conditions including one to either capture or kill Dido or force him across the Sutlej. Kishore Singh was granted the title of Raja, and appointed him as the administrator of the new Jagir, with wide powers. In due course of time most tasks were accomplished by Gulab Singh for the Lahore Durbar (including illuminating Mian Dido) and by 1821, Gulab Singh’s authority came to be established over a vast area in the Jammu region. In 1822, Gulab Singh’s father Raja Kishore Singh passed away sometime before his ‘Rajaship’ has been declared permanent. Later on, on 17 June 1822, Raj-Tilak ceremony of Gulab Singh was held by Maharaja Ranjit Singh himself at Jio Pota Ghat at the bank of river Chenab in Akhnoor and making him the Raja of Jammu Princely state.
Making of the Princely state of J&K: On the other hand, in Punjab, Maharaja Ranjit Singh had made Lahore the capital of the Sikh Empire. After his death, factions and assassinations destroyed the unity of the State, causing alarm to the British because it weakened the buffer against the perceived threat of invasion from the north. Provocative acts by both the British and the Sikhs escalated tension. On November 17, 1845, war against the British was formally declared and on December 11, 1845, some detachments began to cross the Sutlej towards Ferojpur, where British have established its Garrison in 1843. On 13 December 1845, Lord Hardinge, Governor-General of India issued a proclamation declaring war on the Sikhs. The British marched unopposed into Lahore on 20 February 1846. A peace treaty marking the end of the First Anglo-Sikh War was worked out with active participation of Gulab Singh. The main features of the treaty were: Recognition of Dalip Singh as sovereign of Lahore, surrender to the British in full sovereignty of all the territory, hill and plain, lying between the Sutjej and the Bias, payment of one and half crores of rupees as indemnity for the expenses of the war. Before the treaty could take its form of documentation, Gulab Singh was sacked as Wazir of Dalip Singh on 26 Feb 1846. Before final ratification of treaty, finding itself unable to pay a more than one third of stipulated war indemnity, it offered to cede to British, as an equivalent for one crore, its hill territories between Bias and Sindh, including province of Kashmir and Hazara, these territories including that of Jammu also. Gulab Singh unhappy with ceding of Jammu approached British camp. The British gave happy tiding that if the Raja paid, the indemnity of one crore of rupees, the British will be willing to bestow upon him territories between Bias and Sindh, including province of Kashmir and Hazara. Further plea of Gulab Singh to exclude the territory lying to the right bank of Bias, was acceded and indemnity amount was reduced by twenty five thousand. Certain suggestions of Lahore Durbar were over ruled by British and ‘The Treaty of Lahore’ was signed on 9 March 1846 between British and Lahore Durbar. After this treaty the Governor-General reached Amritsar on 15 March 1846, where Gulab Singh was formally invested with the title of Maharaja and on 16 March 1846, a separate treaty known as ‘Treaty of Amritsar’ was signed between him and British Governor-General that formalised the arrangements in the Treaty of Lahore. Under the treaty, the British Government transferred and made over, forever, in independent possession to Maharaja Gulab Singh and heirs male of his body, all the hilly and mountainous country, with its dependencies situated to the eastward of river Indus and Westward of river Ravi including Chamba. Laterally on the claim of Chamba ruler arbitrator Henry Lawrence formed Chamba as separate state under the British control. Hence after traversing a journey of ups and down, The State of Jammu and Kashmir emerged as Princely State in 1946 with Maharaja Gulab Singh as its first ruler.
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