Kashmir and Jammu (princely state)


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Jammu and Kashmir
Princely State of British India

Flag of Kashmir

Flag of Jammu and Kashmir from 1936

Location of Kashmir

Map of Kashmir

Historical era New Imperialism
 – Established 1846
 – Disestablished 1952
Today part of China, India and Pakistan

Kashmir and Jammu was, from 1846 until 1952, a princely state in the British Empire in India, and was ruled by Jamwal Dogra Dynasty.[1] The state was created in 1846 when, after its victory in the First Anglo-Sikh War, the East India Company annexed the Kashmir valley and on the counsel of Henry Lawrence to Lord Hardinge, in order to make good on the financial loss incurred during the Anglo-Sikh war, Kashmir was sold by the British to Gulab Singh for 7,500,000 rupees of all the lands in Kashmir that were ceded to them by the Sikhs under the Treaty of Lahore.[2]

According to the treaty, the state was “situated to the westward of the river Indus and eastward of the river Ravi“, and covered an area of 80,900 square miles (210,000 km2).[3] Later, the regions of Hunza, Nagar, andGilgit were added to the state.

At the time of the partition of India, Maharaja Hari Singh, the ruler of the state, preferred to remain independent and did not want to join either the Union of India or the Dominion of Pakistan. He wanted both India and Pakistan to recognise his princely state as an independent neutral country like Switzerland.[4]


Flag of J&K (1846–1936)

Flag of Maharaja of J&K (1846–1936)

Prior to the creation of the princely state, Kashmir was ruled by the Pashtun Durrani Empire, until it was annexed by Sikhs led by Ranjit Singh.[5] During Sikh rule, Jammu was a tributary of the Sikh Empire.

After the death of the Raja of Jammu, Kishore Singh, in 1822, his son Gulab Singh was recognised by the Sikhs as his heir. He then, initially under the Sikhs, began expanding his kingdom.[6]

As Raja of Jammu, Gulab Singh conquered Bhadarwah after a slight resistance. He then annexed Kishtwar after the minister, Wazir Lakhpat, quarrelled with the ruler and sought the assistance of Gulab Singh. The Raja of Kishtwar surrendered without fighting when Gulab Singh’s forces arrived. The conquest of Kishtwar meant that Singh had gained control of two of the roads which led into Ladakh, which then led to the conquest of that territory. Although there were huge difficulties due to the mountains and glaciers, the Dogras under Gulab Singh’s officer, Zorawar Singh, conquered the whole of Ladakh in two campaigns.[7]

A few years later, in 1840, General Zorawar Singh invaded Baltistan, captured the Raja of Skardu, who had sided with the Ladakhis, and annexed his country. The following year (1841) Zorawar Singh, while invadingTibet, was overtaken by winter and, as a result of being attacked when his troops were disabled by cold, perished with nearly his entire army. Whether it was policy or whether it was accident, by 1840 Gulab Singh had encircled Kashmir.[7]

In the winter of 1845, war broke out between the British and the Sikhs. Gulab Singh remained neutral until the battle of Sobraon in 1846, when he appeared as a useful mediator and the trusted adviser of Sir Henry Lawrence. Two treaties were concluded. By the first, the State of Lahore was handed over to the British, as equivalent to an indemnity of ten million rupee Nanakshahee, the hill countries between the rivers Beas and the Indus; by the second, the British made over to Gulab Singh for 7.5 million rupees all the hilly or mountainous country situated to the east of the Indus and west of the Ravi.[7]

Rani Jindan’s lover and chief minister of the Sikh empire, Lal Singh, who later became the prime minister of the Sikh empire, asked the governor of Kashmir, Imam-Uddin, to resist the force of Dogras, which was going there to replace Sikhs as the newly founded state. Gulab Singh and British forces ousted the governor and appointed Gulab Singh as the new Maharaja of Kashmir and Jammu. For this treachery, Lal Singh faced the wrath of the British Empire. Imam-uddin showed the British and Gulab Singh the documents which had been sent to him by the Sikh Empire, which caused him to attack the Dogra Forces, which were on their way to replace Sikh forces in the Kashmir valley. Lal Singh was removed from the post and also banished from entering the Punjab Region.[8]



S.no Name Reign
1. Gulab Singh 1846–1857
2. Ranbir Singh 1857–1885
3. Pratap Singh 1885–1925
4. Hari Singh 1925–1948
5. Karan Singh (Prince Regent) 1948-1952

Prime ministers[edit]

# Name Took Office Left Office
1 Raja Hari Singh 1925 1927
2 Sir Albion Banerjee January, 1927 March, 1929
3 G.E.C. Wakefield 1929 1931
4 1933
5 Elliot James Dowell Colvin 1933 1936
6 Sir Barjor J. Dalal 1936 1936
7 Sir N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar 1936 July, 1943
8 Kailas Narain Haksar July, 1943 February, 1944
9 Sir Benegal Narsing Rau February, 1944 28 June 1945
10 Ram Chandra Kak 28 June 1945 11 August 1947
11 Janak Singh 11 August 1947 15 October 1947


Not long afterwards the Hunza Raja, attacked Gilgit territory. Nathu Shah on behalf of Gulab Singh responded by leading a force to attack the Hunza valley; he and his force were destroyed, and Gilgit fort fell into the hands of the Hunza Raja, along with Punial, Yasin, and Darel. The Maharaja then sent two columns, one from Astor and one from Baltistan, and after some fighting Gilgit fort was recovered. In 1852 the Dogra troops were annihilated by Gaur Rahman of Yasin, and for eight years the Indus formed the boundary of the Maharaja’s territories.[9]

Gulab Singh died in 1857; and when his successor, Ranbir Singh, had recovered from the strain caused by the Indian Rebellion, in which he had loyally sided with the British, he was determined to recover Gilgit and to expand to the frontier. In 1860 a force under Devi Singh crossed the Indus, and advanced on Gaur Rahman’s strong fort at Gilgit. Gaur Rahman had died just before the arrival of the Dogras. The fort was taken and held by the Maharajas of Kashmir and Jammu until 1947.[9] Capturing Gligit was not the last frontier, determine to expand their land they capture the fort of Yasin and Punial however the lack of funds and to make more stronger barrier against Invaders they fell back to Gilgit and hold it until the Independence of Indian Subcontinent from British Rule.[10]

Gulab Singh’s grandson Pratap Singh defeated Ruler of Chitral in 1891 and forced Hunza and Nagar to accept the suzerainty of the Kashmir and Jammu state.[11]

Ranbir Singh although tolerant of other creeds lacked his father’s strong will and determination, and his control over the State officials was weak. The latter part of his life was darkened by the dreadful famine in Kashmir, 1877-9; and in September 1885, he was succeeded: by his eldest son, Maharaja Pratap Singh, G.C.S.I.[9]


1909 map showing Kashmir.

The area of the state extended from 32° 17′ to 36° 58′ N. and from 73° 26′ to 80° 30′ E.[3] Jammu was the southernmost part of the state and was adjacent to the Punjab districts of Jhelum, Gujrat, Sialkot, and Gurdaspur. There is just a fringe of level land along the Punjab frontier, bordered by a plinth of low hilly country sparsely wooded, broken, and irregular. This is known as the Kandi, the home of the Chibs and the Dogras. To travel north, a range of mountains 8,000 feet (2,400 m) high must be climbed. This is a temperate country with forests of oak, rhododendron, chestnut, and higher up, of deodar and pine, a country of uplands, such as Bbadarwah and Kishtwar, drained by the deep gorge of the Chenab river. The steps of the Himalayan range, known as the Pir Panjal, lead to the second storey, on which rests the valley of Kashmir, drained by the Jhelum river.[3]

Up steeper flights of the Himalayas led to Astore and Baltistan on the north and to Ladakh on the east, a tract drained by the river Indus. In the back premises, faraway to the north-west, lies Gilgit, west and north of the Indus, the whole area shadowed by a wall of giant mountains which run east from the Kilik or Mintaka passes of the Hindu Kush, leading to the Pamirs and the Chinese dominions past Rakaposhi (25,561 ft), along the Muztagh range pastK2 (Godwin Austen, 28,265 feet), Gasherbrum and Masherbrum (28,100 and 28,561 feet (8,705 m) respectively) to the Karakoram range which merges in the Kunlun Mountains. Westward of the northern angle above HunzaNagar the maze of mountains and glaciers trends a little south of east along the Hindu Kush range bordering Chitral, and so on into the limits of Kafiristan and Afghan territory.[3]


There used to be a route from Kohala to Leh, it was possible to travel from Rawalpindi via Kohala and over the Kohala Bridge into Kashmir. The route from Kohala to Srinagar was a cart-road 132 miles (212 km) in length, from Kohala to Baramulla the road was close to the River Jhelum. At Muzaffarabad the Kishenganga River joins the Jhelum and at this point the road from Abbottabad and Garhi Habibullah meet the Kashmir route. The road carried heavy traffic and required expensive maintenance by the authorities to repair.[12]


In 1893, after 52 hours of continuous rain, very serious flooding took place in the Jhelum and much damage was done to Srinagar. The floods of 1903 were much more severe and it caused a great disaster.[13]

End of the princely state[edit]

In 1947 the Indian Independence Act was passed dividing British India into two independent states, the Dominions of Pakistan and India. According to the Act, “the suzerainty of His Majesty over the Indian States lapses, and with it, all treaties and agreements in force at the date of the passing of this Act between His Majesty and the rulers of Indian States”,[14] so each of the princely states would be free to join India or Pakistan or to remain independent. Most of the princes acceded to one or the other of the two nations.

Jammu and Kashmir had a Muslim majority but was ruled by a Hindu Raja. On 2 October 1947, the Working Committee of the National Conference met under Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah’s presidency and took the decision to support the accession of the State to India. The decision of the Working Committee was conveyed to Nehru by another Kashmiri, Dwarka Nath Kachroo, the Secretary General of the All India States Peoples’ Conference, who was invited to attend the Working Committee meeting of the National Conference as an observer.[citation needed]

Maharaja Hari Singh wanted his state to remain independent, joining neither Pakistan nor India. For this reason, he offered a standstill agreement (to maintain the status quo) to both India and Pakistan. India refused the offer but Pakistan accepted it. The Maharaja was advised by Mehr Chand Mahajan, who later became his Prime Minister, that a landlocked country such as Kashmir would be soon engulfed by foreign powers such as the USSR or China.[15]

The Gilgit Scouts staged a rebellion in the Northern Areas under British command; as a result, this region became effectively a part of Pakistan (and has since been administered by Pakistan). Subsequently tribal Kabailis (Mehsuds and Afridis) from the Northwest Frontier Province invaded Kashmir proper. The Pakistan Army‘s British chiefs, Sir Frank Messervy and Douglas Gracey, refused to involve the armed forces.

With independence no longer an option, the Maharaja turned to India, requesting troops for safeguarding Kashmir. Although the Indian Prime Minister Nehru was ready to send troops, the Governor-General of India, Lord Mountbatten of Burma, advised the Maharaja to accede to India before India would send its troops. Hence, considering the emergent situation, the Maharaja signed an Instrument of Accession to the Dominion of India.

As the invading tribal Kabailis spread into the princely state, the Maharaja signed the Instrument of Accession to the Dominion of India on 26 October 1947. Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah had already reached Delhi on 25 October to persuade Nehru to lose no time in accepting the accession and dispatching Indian troops to the State. (Sheikh Abdullah corroborates this account in his Aatish e Chinaar (at pages 416 and 417) and records that V.P. Menon returned to Delhi on 26 October with the signed Instrument of Accession.)

The Instrument was accepted by the Governor-General the next day, 27 October. With the signature of the Maharaja and the acceptance by the Governor-General, the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir became a part of the Dominion of India according to the provisions of the Indian Independence Act 1947. Indian troops landed at Srinagar airport in Kashmir on 27 October and secured the airport before proceeding to evict the invaders from the Kashmir valley.

The princely state of Kashmir and Jammu, thus came under Indian suzerainty on 27 October 1947, with a portion of it having passed to Pakistan’s control. The Maharaja appointed Sheikh Abdullah as the Prime Minister and, in 1948, appointed his son Karan Singhas the Prince Regent to act on his behalf. Jammu and Kashmir operated as a princely state under Indian control till 1952 when the Constitution of India came into effect abolishing monarchies. Karan Singh then accepted th post of Sadar-i-Riyasat (constitutional Head of State).

See also[edit]


Hari Singh

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other uses, see Hari Singh (disambiguation).
Hari Singh
Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir
Sir Hari Singh Bahadur, Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, 1944.jpg
Reign 1925–1961
Predecessor Pratap Singh of Jammu and Kashmir
Spouse Tara Devi
House Royal House of Jammu and Kashmir
Father Amar Singh
Born Jammu, Kashmir and Jammu,British Raj
Died 26 April 1961
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
Religion Hinduism

Maharaja of Jammu & Kashmir, Mr. Hari Singh (1895–1961)

Hari Singh (born 23 September 1895 in Jammu; died 26 April 1961 in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India) was the last ruling Maharaja of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir in India.

He was married four times. With his fourth wife, Maharani Tara Devi (1910–1967), he had one son, Yuvraj (Crown Prince) Karan Singh.

Early life[edit]

Hari Singh, a Hindu Kachwaha,kushwaha Family was born on 23 September 1895 at the palace of Amar Mahal, Jammu, the only surviving son of General Raja Sir Amar Singh Jamwal (14 January 1864 – 26 March 1909), the younger son of General Maharajadhiraj Sri Sir Ranbir Singh and the brother of Lieutenant-General Maharajadhiraj Sri Sir Pratap Singh, the then Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir.

Education and preparation for the throne[edit]

In 1903, Hari Singh served as a page of honour to Lord Curzon at the grand Delhi Durbar. At the age of thirteen, Hari Singh was dispatched to Mayo College in Ajmer. A year later, in 1909, his father died, and the British took a keen interest in his education and appointed Major H. K. Brar as his guardian. After Mayo College, the ruler-in-waiting went to the British-run Imperial Cadet Corps at Dehra Dun for military training. By the age of twenty he had been appointed as commander-in-chief of the state of Kashmir.


The last Maharaja of Kashmir

Following the death of his uncle Sir Pratap Singh in 1925, Sir Hari Singh ascended the throne of Jammu and Kashmir. He made primary education compulsory in the State, introduced laws prohibiting child marriage, and opened places of worship to the low castes.[citation needed]

Singh was hostile towards the Indian National Congress, in part because of the close friendship between Kashmiri political activist and socialist Sheikh Abdullah and Jawaharlal Nehru. He also opposed the Muslim League and its members’ communalist outlook illustrated in their two-nation theory. During the Second World War, from 1944–1946 Sir Hari Singh was a member of the Imperial War Cabinet.

In 1947, after India gained independence from British rule, Jammu and Kashmir had the option to join either India or Pakistan or to remain independent[citation needed]. He originally manoeuvred to maintain his independence by playing off India and Pakistan. There was a widespread belief that rulers of the princely states, in deciding to accede to India or Pakistan, should respect the wishes of the population, but few rulers took any steps to consult on such decisions. Jammu and Kashmir was a Muslim majority state, and Pashtun tribesmen from Pakistan invaded Jammu and Kashmir with the help of Pakistan’s government under the impression that Hari Singh would accede to India. Hari Singh appealed to India for help.[1] Although the Indian Prime Minister Nehru was ready to send troops, the Governor-General of India, Lord Mountbatten of Burma, advised the Maharaja to accede to India before India would send its troops. Hence, considering the emergent situation, the Maharaja signed an Instrument of Accession to the Dominion of India.

Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession on 26 October 1947, acceding the whole of his princely state (including Jammu, Kashmir, Northern Areas, Ladakh, Trans-Karakoram Tract and Aksai Chin) to the Dominion of India.[2][3] These events triggered the first Indo-Pakistan War.

Pressure from Nehru and Sardar Patel eventually compelled Hari Singh to appoint his son and heir, Yuvraj (Crown Prince) Karan Singh, as Regent of Jammu and Kashmir in 1949, although he remained titular Maharaja of the state until 1952, when the monarchy was abolished. Karan Singh was appointed ‘Sadr-e-Riyasat’ (‘President of the Province’) in 1952 and Governor of the State in 1964.

Hari Singh spent his final days in Kashmir at the Hari Niwas Palace in Jammu, before moving to Bombay, where he died on 26 April 1961.[4]

Seal of Maharaja Hari Singh[edit]

Detail of the Seal of Maharaja Hari Singh as printed on the Civil List of his government

The British Crown is at the top, representing Emperor of India, whose Resident was posted in Kashmir. A katar[citation needed] is below the crown. Two soldiers are holding two flags. An image of the sun is between them, as the Rajput clan to which Hari Singh belonged claimed to have descended from the sun.


  1. Dharampur Rani Sri Lal Kunverba Sahiba; married at Rajkot 7 May 1913, died during pregnancy in 1915. No child.
  2. Chamba Rani Sahiba; married at Chamba 8 November 1915, died 31 January 1920. No child.
  3. Maharani Dhanvant Kunveri Baiji Sahiba (1910–19?); married at Dharampur 30 April 1923. No child.
  4. Maharani Tara Devi Sahiba of Kangra,(1910–1967); married 1928, separated 1950, one son:


Titles of Maharaga Hari Singh and Yuvraj Karan Singh on the first page of his Civil List of 1945

Title page of Civi List(List of civil officers of Hari Singh) 1945 .Interesting for two reasons. (a) Has seal of Maharaja Hari singh at Bottom.(b) On page 30 serial No:5 shows that Molvi Abdul Rahim one of the leaders of the 1931 agitation was appointed as a judge by the Maharaja in 1934.This proves that the agitation was for democratic reforms and not directed against the Maharaja
  • 1895–1916: Sri Hari Singh
  • 1916–1918: Raja Sri Hari Singh
  • 1918–1922: Captain Raja Sir Hari Singh, KCIE
  • 1922–1925: Captain Raja Sri Sir Hari Singh, KCIE, KCVO
  • 1925–1926: Captain His Highness Shriman Rajrajeshwar Maharajadhiraj Sri Sir Hari Singh Indar Mahindar Bahadur, Sipar-i-Sultanat, Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, KCIE, KCVO
  • 1926–1929: Colonel His Highness Shriman Rajrajeshwar Maharajadhiraj Sri Sir Hari Singh Indar Mahindar Bahadur, Sipar-i-Sultanat, Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, KCIE, KCVO
  • 1929–1933: Colonel His Highness Shriman Rajrajeshwar Maharajadhiraj Sri Sir Hari Singh Indar Mahindar Bahadur, Sipar-i-Sultanat, Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, GCIE, KCVO
  • 1933–1935: Colonel His Highness Shriman Rajrajeshwar Maharajadhiraj Sri Sir Hari Singh Indar Mahindar Bahadur, Sipar-i-Sultanat, Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, GCSI, GCIE, KCVO
  • 1935–1941: Major-General His Highness Shriman Rajrajeshwar Maharajadhiraj Sri Sir Hari Singh Indar Mahindar Bahadur, Sipar-i-Sultanat, Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, GCSI, GCIE, KCVO
  • 1941–1946: Lieutenant-General His Highness Shriman Rajrajeshwar Maharajadhiraj Sri Sir Hari Singh Indar Mahindar Bahadur, Sipar-i-Sultanat, Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, GCSI, GCIE, KCVO.
  • 1946–1961: Lieutenant-General His Highness Shriman Rajrajeshwar Maharajadhiraj Sri Sir Hari Singh Indar Mahindar Bahadur, Sipar-i-Sultanat, Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, GCSI, GCIE, GCVO


(ribbon bar, as it would look today; incomplete)

Ord.Stella.India.jpgOrder of the Indian Empire Ribbon.svg

Royal Victorian Order ribbon sm.jpgIndia Service Medal BAR.svg39-45 Star BAR.svgAfrica Star BAR.svg

War Medal 39-45 BAR.svgMed.DelhiDurbar1903.pngKing George V Coronation Medal ribbon.pngGeorgeVSilverJubileum-ribbon.png

GeorgeVICoronationRibbon.pngIndian Independence medal 1947.svgCavaliere di Gran Croce OCI Kingdom BAR.svgLegion Honneur GO ribbon.svg

Accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India[edit]

Kashmir became a princely state on 16 March 1846 after the British acquired it. They then sold it to Gulab Singh, the ruler of Jammu. Hari Singh was the great-grandson of Gulab Singh.

The founder of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, had perhaps assumed that Kashmir, by the logic of its majority Muslim population, would become a part of his country. But a few years before Partition, when he sent an aide to Kashmir for an assessment, the conclusion was sobering: “No important religious leader has ever made Kashmir his home or even an ordinary center of Islamic activities”, the aide reported that “It was require considerable effort, spread over a long period of time, to reform them and convert them to true Muslims.”

Hari Singh, in the weeks after 15 August 1947, gave no indication of giving up his State’s independence. Pakistan then decided to force the issue, and a tribal invasion to drive out the Maharaja was given the green signal.

According to C. B. Duke, the then British High Commissioner in Lahore, “Kashmir has always been regarded as a land flowing with milk and honey, and if to the temptation to loot [by the tribesmen] is added the merit of assisting oppressed Muslims, the attractions will be nigh irresistible.”

In the early hours of 24 October 1947 the invasion began, as thousands of tribal Pathans swept into Kashmir. Their destination: the state’s capital, Srinagar, from where Hari Singh ruled.

The Maharaja appealed to India for help.

On 25 October, V. P. Menon, a civil servant considered to be close to Patel, flew to Srinagar to get Hari Singh’s nod for Kashmir’s accession to India.

On 26 October, Hari Singh and his durbar shifted to Jammu, to the safety of the Maharaja’s winter palace, and out of harm’s way from the marauding tribesmen.

Hari Singh’s prime minister, M. C. Mahajan, requested for ” immediate military aid on any terms, he urged Nehru to give them the military force they need. Take the accession and give whatever power you (India) desire to the popular party. The Indian army must fly to save Srinagar or else they will go to Lahore and negotiate terms with Mr. Jinnah.”

The accession to India was completed on 27 October, India’s 1st Sikh battalion flew into Srinagar.

When Jinnah learnt of the Indian troops landing ,he did send troops to Kashmir but by then Indian forces had taken control of nearly two thirds of the state. Gilgit and Baltistan territories were secured by Pakistani troops. Fighting between Indian troops, and the tribesmen and Pakistani troops continued for more than a year after the accession, in what is generally known as the first India-Pakistan war.

See also[edit]

  • Kashmir conflict
  • List of topics on the land and the people of “Jammu and Kashmir”
  • The royal house of Jammu and Kashmir
  • Hari Singh’s Blackmailing and Love In London
  • Hari Niwas Palace
  • Sheikh Abdullah biographer writes book on Nehru’s bond with Kashmir

    Mohammad Yousuf Taing, the literary assistant to whom the late Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah dictated his autobiography Aatish-e-Chinar, has written a book on Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s bond with Kashmir.

    Titled Nehru and Kashmir, the book will be released later this year. Taing says a memoir of Nehru on his visit to Kashmir in 1940 inspired him to write the book.

    Taing pictured with Sheikh Abdullah

    Taing pictured with Sheikh Abdullah

    “Nehru came here in 1940 on a personal visit. He remained here for 12 days. He went to Shetalnath (in Srinagar) where Pandit women welcomed him by singing traditional Kashmiri songs. He went trekking to Aaro Pahalgam,” the 77-year-old said.

    The author was inspired to write the book after reading Nehru's memoir on Kashmir

    The author was inspired to write the book after reading Nehru’s memoir on Kashmir

    He said after Nehru returned, he wrote a series on his visit to Kashmir in his newspaper National Herald. Nehru also named his memoir Kashmir.

    “No one knew about it. Nehru was a wonderful prose writer and in his memoir on Kashmir he has praised Kashmir beautifully. A few years ago, I went to Nehru Memorial Museum and fortunately got a copy of Nehru’s memoir. I thought I will publish it. Later, the idea struck to write a book on Nehru and Kashmir. The rare Kashmir memoirs of Nehru have been included in the book,” Taing, who is deputy-chairman of the state’s legislative council, said.

    Taing is a well-known Kashmiri critic, writer and historian. In 1998, his critically acclaimed work ‘Mahjoor Shinasi’ won him the Sahitya Akademi Award.

    He said unlike other authors, he has stated in his book that Nehru caste was originally Kashmiri. “Nehrus are aborigines of Kashmir and Nehru is a Kashmir caste. The book also has photos photos of Nehru in Kashmir,” he said.

  • Sheikh Abdullah

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Sheikh Abdullah
    Sheikh Abdullah.jpg
    3rd Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir
    In office
    25 February 1975 – 26 March 1977
    Preceded by Syed Mir Qasim
    Succeeded by Governor’s rule
    In office
    9 July 1977 – 8 September 1982
    Preceded by Governor’s rule
    Succeeded by Farooq Abdullah
    2nd Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir
    In office
    5 March 1948 – 9 August 1953
    Preceded by Mehr Chand Mahajan
    Succeeded by Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad
    Personal details
    Born 5 December 1905[1]
    Soura, Kashmir and Jammu,British India
    Died 8 September 1982 (aged 76)[1]
    Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India
    Political party Jammu & Kashmir National Conference
    Spouse(s) Begum Akbar Jahan Abdullah
    Children Farooq Abdullah, Suraiya Abdullah Ali
    Alma mater Islamia College Lahore
    Aligarh Muslim University[2]
    Religion Islam

    Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah (5 December 1905 – 8 September 1982) was an Indian statesman who played a central role in the politics of Jammu and Kashmir, the northernmost Indian state. The self-styled “Sher-e-Kashmir” (Lion of Kashmir), Abdullah was the founding leader of the National Conference and thrice served as the head of government in Kashmir. He agitated against the rule of the MaharajaHari Singh and urged self-rule for Kashmir.

    He was the Prime Minister of the state of Jammu and Kashmir after its accession to India in 1947[3] and was later jailed and exiled. He was dismissed from the position of Prime Ministership on 8 August 1953 and Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad was appointed as the new Prime Minister. The expressions ‘Sadar-i-Riyasat’ and ‘Prime Minister’ were replaced with the terms ‘Governor’ and ‘Chief Minister’ in 1965.[4] Sheikh Abdullah again became the Chief Minister of the state following the 1974 Indira-Sheikh accord and remained in the top slot till his death on 8 September 1982.

    Early life[edit]

    The most important source of Sheikh Abdullah’s early life is his official biography Atish e Chinar by his son.[citation needed] He was born in Soura, a village on the outskirts of Srinagar, eleven days after the death of his father Sheikh Mohammed Ibrahim. His father was a middle class manufacturer and trader of Kashmiri shawls. He was the descendent of a Kashmiri pandit named Ragho Ram Kaul who converted to Islam in 1890 A.D. as per “Atish e Chinar”.[5]

    According to Sheikh Abdullah, his step brother mistreated his mother and his early childhood was marked by utter poverty. His mother was keen that her children should receive proper education and so as a child he was first admitted to a traditional school or Maktab where he learnt the recitation of the Koran and some basic Persian texts like Gulistan of Sa’di, Bostan, Padshanama, etc. Then in 1911 he was admitted to a primary school where he studied for about two years.

    However, their family barber Mohammed Ramzan prevailed upon his uncle to send him back to school. He had to walk the distance of ten miles to school and back on foot but in his own words the joy of being allowed to obtain a school education made it seem a light work. He passed his Matriculation examination from Punjab University in 1922.[6]

    Higher studies[edit]

    After matriculation he obtained admission in Shri Partap College, the leading college of Kashmir. He also went to the Prince of Wales College in Jammu.[1] Then he took admission in Islamia College, Lahore and graduated from there. In 1930, he obtained an M.Sc. in Chemistry from Aligarh Muslim University.[1] During his college days he was an eye witness of the protests of the workers of the Government Silk Factory during the Silk Factory Workers Agitation and the sight of workers agitating for their rights made a deep impression on him and was an important factor in motivating him to struggle for the rights of the people of the Jammu and Kashmir State.[7]

    Political career[edit]

    Kashmiri polymath and lawyer Molvi Abdullah. His lectures motivated Sheikh Abdullah and other educated Muslim youth to struggle for justice and fundamental rights

    As a student at Aligarh Muslim University,[2] he came in contact with and was influenced by persons with liberal and progressive ideas. He became convinced that the feudal system was responsible for the miseries of the Kashmiris and like all progressive nations of the world Kashmir too should have a democratically elected government.

    Muslim Conference formed[edit]

    Sheikh Abdullah and his colleagues were greatly influenced by the lectures of a Kashmiri polymath and lawyer Molvi Abdullah.[8]

    Molvi Abdullah’s son Molvi Abdul Rahim, Sheikh Abdullah and Ghulam Nabi Gilkar were the first three educated Kashmiri youth to be arrested during the public agitation of 1931.[9]

    Sheikh Abdullah with other leaders of 1931 agitation. Sitting R to L: Sardar Gohar Rehman, Mistri Yaqoob Ali, Sheikh Abdullah, Chaudhary Ghulam Abbas. Standing R: Molvi Abdul Rahim, L:Ghulam Nabi Gilkar

    Kashmir’s first political party the Kashmir Muslim Conference with Sheikh Abdullah as President, Chaudhary Ghulam Abbas as general secretary, and Molvi Abdul Rahim as Secretary was formed on 16 October 1932. In his presidential address Sheikh Abdullah categorically stated that the Muslim Conference had come into existence to struggle for the rights of all oppressed sections of the society and not Muslims alone. It was not a communal party and would struggle for the rights of the oppressed, whether Hindu, Muslim or Sikh, with the same fervor. He reasserted that the struggle of Kashmiris was not a communal struggle.[10]

    In March 1933 the Muslim Conference constituted a committee which included Molvi Abdullah and nine other members for the purpose of establishing contacts with non-Muslim parties and exploring the possibility of forming a joint organisation. Those nine members were Khwaja Saad-ud-din Shawl, Khwaja Hassan Shah Naqshbandi, Mirwaiz Kashmir, Molvi Ahmad-Ullah, Mirwaiz Hamadani, Agha Syed Hussain Shah Jalali, Mufti Sharif-ud-din, Molvi Atiq-Ullah and Haji Jafar Khan. According to Sheikh Abdullah this effort was not successful because of the unfavourable reception of the idea by the non-Muslim parties.[11] Sheikh Abdullah campaigned to change the name of the Muslim Conference to National Conference, under the influence of among othersJawaharlal Nehru. After a prolonged and vigorous campaign a special session of the Muslim Conference held in June 1939 voted to change the name of the party to National Conference. Of the 176 members attending the session, 172 members voted in favour of the resolution.[12] According to Sheikh Abdullah the support of Chaudhary Ghulam Abbas of Jammu was very important in motivating the members to vote for this change.[13]

    Formation of Praja Sabha (Legislative Assembly)[edit]

    As a result of the 1931 agitation the Maharajah appointed a Grievances Commission with an Englishman B.J. Glancy as President which submitted its report in March 1932.[14] Subsequently a Constitutional Reforms Conference also presided over by B.J. Glancy recommended the setting up of an elected Legislative Assembly (Praja Sabha). Consequently a Praja Sabha with 33 elected and 42 nominated members elected on the basis of separate electorates for Hindus and Muslims was established in 1934.[15] Women and illiterate men without sufficient property, or title, or annual income of less than Rupees four hundred did not have the right to vote. Roughly less than 10% (according to Justice Anand only 3%) of the population were enfranchised.[16]

    Even after the formation of Praja Sabha in 1934 as recommended by the Commission real power continued to remain in the hands of the Maharajah.[17]

    Seventeen years later in 1951, the government of Kashmir with Sheikh Abdullah as Prime Minister held elections to a Constituent Assembly on the basis of universal adult suffrage. Sheikh Abdullah’s Government had been accused of rigging in these elections to theConstituent Assembly.[18] Nonetheless, due consideration should be given to the quantum leap in moving from elections with 10% of enfranchised population to universal adult suffrage and that too just after a ceasefire from an active war.

    Meeting with Nehru[edit]

    Sheikh Abdullah with Nehru and Badshah Khan (centre) at Nishat Garden in 1945

    Sheikh Abdullah was introduced to Jawaharlal Nehru in 1937 and as he too was a leader of the Indian National Congress was demanding similar rights for people of British India[19] and had formed The All India States Peoples Conference[20] for supporting the people of Princely States in their struggle for a representative government the two became friends and political allies.

    Muslim Conference renamed as National Conference[edit]

    He introduced a resolution in the working committee of the Muslim Conference for changing its name to National Conference on 24 June 1938 to allow people from all communities to join the struggle against the autocratic rule of the Maharaja.[21] Meanwhile he along with his liberal progressive friends, many of whom were not Muslim like Kashyap Bandhu, Jia Lal Kilam, Pandit Sudama Sidha, Prem Nath Bazaz and Sardar Budh Singh drafted the National Demands[22] the forerunner of the famous Naya Kashmir (New Kashmir) Manifesto (which was a charter of demands for granting a democratic constitution committed to the welfare of the common people of Kashmir)[23]

    He presented these demands to the Maharajah in a speech on 28 August 1938.[24] The Maharajah was not willing to accept these demands and so he along with many of his companions was arrested for defying prohibitory orders and sentenced to six months imprisonment and a fine. His arrest provoked a public agitation in which volunteers called Dictators (so called because they had the authority to defy laws that was forbidden for normal law abiding party members) courted arrest. This agitation was called off on the appeal of Mohandas K. Gandhi. He was released after serving his sentence on 24 February 1939 and accorded a grand reception by the people of Srinagar on his return. Speeches were made at the reception stressing the importance of unity among Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs.[25] Subsequently the resolution for changing the name of Muslim Conference to National Conference was ratified with an overwhelming majority by the General Council of the Muslim Conference on 11 June 1939 and from that date Muslim Conference became National Conference.[26]

    Quit Kashmir agitation[edit]

    In May 1946 Sheikh Abdullah launched the Quit Kashmir agitation against the Maharajah Hari Singh and was arrested and sentenced to three years imprisonment but was released only sixteen months later on 29 September 1947[27] According to prominent columnist and writer A.G.noorani quit kashmir was illtimed and illogic (See Tehreek e Hurriyat e Kashmir By Rashid Taseer (Urdu) volume 2-page 29 for “National Demands” discussion and see Chapter 12-page 310-313 regarding presentation of “Naya Kashmir” Manifesto to Maharaja Hari Singh. Full text of “Naya Kashmir” manifesto is given from page 314 to 383. English translation of this text is available at Wikisource. Also see relevant chapters from Atish e Chinar regarding 1931 agitation (Chapters 9, 10 and 11) Glancy Commission (Chapter 15) formation of Muslim Conference (Chapter 18) meeting with Nehru (Chapter 23), reasons for change in name of Muslim Conference to National Conference (Chapter 24) and becoming president of All India States Peoples Conference (Chapter 31). His arrest and subsequent release following the Quit Kashmir agitation is discussed in Chapter 34-page 372-389.) [28]

    Head of emergency administration[edit]

    Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah (right), chosen to head interim government in Kashmir, confers with Sardar Patel, deputy premier of India

    Maharaja Hari Singh appealed to Lord Mountbatten of Burma the Governor-General of India for Indian military aid. In his Accession Offer dated 26 October 1947 which accompanied The Instrument of Accession duly signed by him on 26 October 1947, Maharaja Hari Singh wrote “I may also inform your Excellency’s Government that it is my intention at once to set up an interim Government and ask Shaikh Abdullah to carry the responsibilities in this emergency with my Prime Minister.”

    Lord Mountbatten accepted the accession after a meeting of the Defence Committee on 26 October 1947. In accepting the accession unconditionally he wrote, “I do hereby accept this Instrument of Accession. Dated this twenty seventh day of October, nineteen hundred and forty seven”.[29] In the covering letter to Hari Singh. he wrote “In consistence with their policy that in the case of any State where the issue of accession has been the subject of dispute, the question of accession should be decided in accordance with the wishes of the people of the State, it is my Government’s wish that, as soon as law and order have been restored in Kashmir and its soil cleared of the invader, the question of the State’s accession should be settled by a reference to the people“.[30] Also in his letter to the Maharaja Lord Mountbatten wrote “My Government and I note with satisfaction that your Highness has decided to invite Sheikh Abdullah to form an Interim Government to work with your Prime Minister.” The support of Mahatma Gandhi and Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, was a key factor in getting Sheikh Abdullah appointed as Head of the emergency administration by the Maharaja.[31]

    As a consequence, Sheikh Abdullah was appointed head of an emergency administration by an order issued by the Maharaja which was undated except for the mention October 1947 in place of the date. He took charge as Head of the Emergency Administration on 30 October 1947.[32]

    He raised a force of local Kashmiri volunteers to patrol Srinagar and take control of administration after the flight of the Maharaja along with his family and Prime Minister Meher Chand Mahajan to Jammu even before the Indian troops had landed. This group of volunteers would serve as the nucleus for the subsequent formation of Jammu and Kashmir Militia.[33] This, Sheikh Abdullah hoped, would take over the defence of Kashmir after the Indian army was withdrawn. This was articulated in his letter to Sardar Patel dated 7 October 1948 in which he wrote, “With the taking over of the State forces by the Indian Government, it was agreed that steps would be taken to reorganise and rebuild our army so that when the present emergency is over and the Indian forces are withdrawn the State will be left with a proper organised army of its own to fall back upon.”[34] (Sheikh Abdullah has alleged that most of the Muslim soldiers of the Militia were either discharged or imprisoned before his arrest in 1953.[35] The Militia (dubbed as Dagan Brigade) was converted from a State Militia to a regular unit of the Indian Army on 2 December 1972 and redesignated the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry)[36]

    Prime minister[edit]

    Sheikh Abdullah took oath as Prime Minister of Kashmir on 17 March 1948.[37]

    Pakistani view[edit]

    The government of Pakistan in 1947 viewed Abdullah and his party as agents of Nehru and did not recognise his leadership of Kashmir.[38] He spoke against Pakistani government in united nations by comparing it with Hitler’s rule,and he also endorsed Indian stand on Jammu and Kashmir. However there was a change in Pakistan’s viewpoint with the passage of time. When he visited Pakistan in 1964 he was awarded a tumultuous welcome by the people of Pakistan. Among the persons who received him was Chaudhary Ghulam Abbas his once colleague and later bitter political enemy who earlier in his book Kashmakash had denounced Sheikh Abdullah as a turncoat and traitor. Chaudhary Ghulam Abbas embraced him and in his speech described him as one of the greatest leaders of the subcontinent and a great benefactor of the Muslims of the subcontinent.[39][40] President Ayub Khan and his then Foreign minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto discussed the Kashmir problem with him. The government of Pakistan treated him as a state guest.[41]Sheikh Abdullah had the rare distinction of having poems in his praise written by three major Pakistani Urdu poets namely Hafeez Jullundhri, Josh and Faiz Ahmed Faiz who admired his lifelong struggle against injustice and for democratic rights of the common man.[42]

    Arrest and release[edit]

    On 8 August 1953 he was dismissed as Prime Minister by the then Sadr-i-Riyasat (Constitutional Head of State) Dr. Karan Singh, son of the erstwhile Maharajah Hari Singh, on the charge that he had lost the confidence of his cabinet (not the house)[43] He was denied the opportunity to prove his majority on the floor of the house.[44] and his dissident cabinet minister Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed was appointed as Prime Minister.[45] Sheikh Abdullah was immediately arrested and later jailed for eleven years, accused of conspiracy against the State in the infamous “Kashmir Conspiracy Case“.[46]

    According to Sheikh Abdullah his dismissal and arrest were engineered by the central government headed by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.[28] He has quoted B.N. Mullicks’ statements in his book “My Years with Nehru”[47] in support of his statement.[28] A.G. Noorani writing in Frontline supports this view, as according to him Nehru himself ordered the arrest.[48] On 8 April 1964 the State Government dropped all charges in the so-called “Kashmir Conspiracy Case“.[49] Sheikh Abdullah was released and returned to Srinagar where he was accorded an unprecedented welcome by the people of the valley”.[50]

    After his release he was reconciled with Nehru. Nehru requested Sheikh Abdullah to act as a bridge between India and Pakistan and make President Ayub to agree to come to New Delhi for talks for a final solution of the Kashmir problem. President Ayub Khan also sent telegrams to Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah with the message that as Pakistan too was a party to the Kashmir dispute any resolution of the conflict without its participation would not be acceptable to Pakistan. This paved the way for Sheikh Abdullah’s visit to Pakistan to help broker a solution to the Kashmir problem.[51]

    Sheikh Abdullah went to Pakistan in spring of 1964. President Ayub Khan of Pakistan held extensive talks with him to explore various avenues for solving the Kashmir problem and agreed to come to Delhi in mid June for talks with Nehru as suggested by him. Even the date of his proposed visit was fixed and communicated to New Delhi.[52] On 27 May while he was en route to Muzaffarabad in Pakistani Administered Kashmir news came of the sudden death of Nehru and the Sheikh after addressing a public rally at Muzaffarabad returned to Delhi.[53] On his suggestion President Ayub Khan sent a high level Pakistani delegation led by his Foreign Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto along with him to take part in the last rites of Jawaharlal Nehru.[54]

    After Nehru’s death in 1964, he was interned from 1965 to 1968 and exiled from Kashmir in 1971 for 18 months. The Plebiscite Front was also banned. This was allegedly done to prevent him and the Plebiscite Front which was supported by him from taking part in elections in Kashmir.[55]

    After Indo-Pakistan war and creation of Bangladesh[edit]

    Sheikh Abdullah addressing a mammoth gathering at Lal Chowk Srinagar in 1975

    In 1971, the declaration of Bangladesh’s independence was proclaimed on 26 March by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and subsequently the Bangladesh Liberation War broke out in erstwhile East Pakistan between Pakistan and Bangladesh joined later by India, and subsequently war broke out on the western border of India between India and Pakistan, both of which culminated in the creation of Bangladesh. Sheikh Abdullah watching the alarming turn of events in the subcontinent realised that for the survival of this region there was an urgent need to stop pursuing confrontational politics and promoting solution of issues by a process of reconciliation and dialogue rather than confrontation.Critics of sheikh hold the view that he sold cherished goal of plebiscite for gaining chief ministers chair. He started talks with the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi for normalising the situation in the region and came to an accord called 1974 Indira-Sheikh accord with Indira Gandhi, then India’s Prime Minister, by giving up the demand for a plebiscite in lieu of the people being given the right to self-rule by a democratically elected Government (as envisaged under article 370 of the Constitution of India) rather than the puppet government which till then ruled the State.[56]

    Chief minister[edit]

    Sheikh Abdullahs funeral procession was miles long and the largest in living memory. In this clip the President of India is offering his tribute

    He assumed the position of Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir. The Central Government and the ruling Congress Party withdrew its support so that the State Assembly had to be dissolved and mid term elections called.[57]

    The National Conference won an overwhelming majority in the subsequent elections and re-elected Sheikh Abdullah as Chief Minister.[58] He remained as Chief Minister till his death in 1982.

    Abdullah, described as a six feet four inches (1.93m)[59][60][61] to six feet six inches (1.98m) tall man,[62] was fluent in both Kashmiri and Urdu. His biography in Urdu entitled Atish-e-Chinar was written by the noted Kashmiri author M.Y. Taing and published after Sheikh Abdullah’s death. It is often referred to as his autobiography as Taing claimed that he only acted as an amanuensis.[63] It is based on extensive interviews that Taing had with Sheikh Abdullah and provides valuable information on Sheikh Abdullah’s family background, early life, ringside glimpses of happenings in Kashmir at a crucial juncture in its history, and his viewpoint about the political events in Kashmir in which he himself played a central role.

    After his death his eldest son Dr. Farooq Abdullah was elected as the Chief Minister of the State.

    Personal life[edit]

    In 1933 he married Akbar Jahan, the daughter of Michael Harry Nedou, the eldest son of the European proprietor of a chain of hotels in India including Nedous Hotel in Srinagar, and his Kashmiri wife Mirjan. Michael Harry Nedou was himself the proprietor of a hotel at the tourist resort of Gulmarg[64] (The writer Tariq Ali claims that Akbar Jehan was previously married in 1928 to an Arab Karam Shah who disappeared after a Calcutta newspaper Liberty reported that he was actually T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia)[65] aBritish Intelligence officer. He claims that Akbar Jehan was divorced by her first husband in 1929.)[66]

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/article-2208544/Mohammad-Yousuf-Taing-Sheikh-Abdullah-biographer-writes-book-Nehrus-bond-Kashmir.html#ixzz3i2XTtTsN
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