The Bold Voice of J&K

Maharaja Hari Singh architect of Accession and great ruler

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Omkar Dattatray

The name of Maharaja Hari Singh is written in the golden letters in the history of Jammu and Kashmir. .He was born on September 23,1895 and passed away on 26th April 1961 after making many strides and scripting the history of annexing J&K with India .The great Maharaja was real national hero who will continue to inspire the people for generations .He was the last ruler -Maharaja of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir .He reigned Jammu and Kashmir from 23 September 1925 to 17 November 1952.His was a multifaceted personality .Hari Singh was a great visionary ,able ruler ,great administrator ,a big reformist and above all a true secularist who never differentiated between the religions while ruling the state. Hari Singh was the son of Amar Singh and Bhotiali Chib ,following his uncle’s death ,Singh became the new Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir .After Indian independence in 1947,Singh wanted to remain an independent kingdom but sanity prevailed on him and he acceded to Indian union and thus did a great nationalistic and patriotic feat .Hari Singh remained the titular Maharaja of the state until 1952 ,when the monarchy was abolished by the Indian government .However some also regard him a controversial ruler ,who faced an agitation in Kashmir in 1931 ,a rebellion in Poonch in 1947.Hari Singh was an able administrator and a reformist besides being a progressive and dynamic ruler who won the hearts of the people of Jammu and Kashmir .He initiated many reforms in education sector and gave much emphasis on the education of the children and opened a number of schools during his rule .Hari Singh served as the second Prime Minister from 1925 to 1926 of Jammu and Kashmir and ascended the throne of Jammu and Kashmir in February 1926 under British intervention .After becoming the ruler ,Hari Singh conducted free elections and formed the Praja Sabha Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly to rule with laws implemented under Ranbir Penal Code -RPC which Praja Sabha decreed .In September 7,1939 Maharaja Hari Singh and his law and Revenue minister ,Justice Sir Lal Gopal Mukherjee who had served the state of Jammu and Kashmir from 1935 to 1940,produced a written constitution for Jammu and Kashmir which was the pioneer in the annals of Asia’s constitutional history ,despite the fact that it was anything but a people -friendly ”Magna Carta’ ‘for the state .Thus seemingly a despot Hari Singh was a true democrat on the ground.He was credited with making with making primary education compulsory in the state and introduced laws prohibiting child marriage and opened places of worship to low caste subjects .This confirms that he was truly a visionary and farsighted ahead of his times .In 1930,Hari Singh attended the First Round Table Conference in London and suggested that the Indian Princely States should join an ”All India Federation ”and pleaded for equal status for Indians in the British Commonwealth of Nations .In 1947 ,after India gained independence from British rule ,Jammu and Kashmir could have joined India ,joined Pakistan or remained independent .Singh originally maneuvered to maintain his independence .Pakistan invaded Kashmir and defeated Singh’s forces .Hari Singh appealed India for help .Although the Indian Prime minister Nehru was ready to send troops ,the Governor General of India ,Lord Mountbatten ,advised Maharaja to accede to India before India could send troops .Hence considering emergency ,the Maharaja signed the Instrument of Accession on 26 October 1947 ,joining the whole of his princely state to the Dominion of India .Thus on October 26,1947 ,Maharaja Hari Singh of Jammu and Kashmir signed the Instrument of Accession with India ,thereby ending the intense angling for that princely state by rival players India and Pakistan .He was a veteran of the Indian National Army and has fought in it .Maharaja Hari Singh was a Real Hero of Nation and was the fourth and last Dogra ruler of the state of Jammu and Kashmir who ascended to the throne in 1927.He gauged the pulse of the time and was very progressive ruler .He gave Zamindars greater rights to the land they held ,female infanticide and early marriage were discouraged and more schools ,hospitals and educational institutions were opened .He has announced many reforms .The state was in a stable and progressive mode during his reign but it was only in the year 1931 ,there started an agitation against the Dogra government .Hari Singh was a true patriot and a nationalist who is credited with making Jammu and Kashmir a part and parcel of India by signing the Instrument of Accession and thus tied the destiny of Jammu and Kashmir with India .Thus he was the most farsighted ruler who finally acceded Jammu and Kashmir with India .He was a tall ruler who made Jammu and Kashmir part of Indian union and therefore he will be remembered for his right decision of annexing his state with India. .But it is a dismay and unfortunate as well that the people of Jammu and the Yuva Rajput Sabha had to agitate and toil a lot to get the 23rd September declared a public holiday which is the birth anniversary of the great ruler and legendary and they finally succeeded in this genuine demand .The declaration of a holiday on the birth day of the great ruler and reformist is a befitting tribute to the big ruler and progressive leader .Hari Singh is the real architect of the accession of J&K to India and the people of not only Jammu and Kashmir but of the India as well will remember this doyen and it will be the real tribute to great ruler on his birth day .Let us remember this big ruler and democrat as well as nationalist and may he continue to inspire the coming generations for his important role that he played in annexing his princely state of Jammu and Kashmir with India .Salute to the man of multidimensional personality on his birth anniversary .In short Hari Singh was the real national asset who played his crucial role in acceding Jammu and Kashmir with India.\

(The author is a columnist, social and KP activist).

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