Remembering the last ruler of Jammu and Kashmir: Maharaja Hari Singh
The state holiday on the birthday of Maharaja Hari Singh started in 1931 when the Maharaja returned after participating in the Round Table Conference held in London in November 1930 and the Praja Sabha of the princely state took this decision on the demand of the people.
The Jammu and Kashmir administration issued a formal holiday order on Monday evening on the birthday of Hari Singh, the fourth and last Maharaja of the princely state.
Now every year on 23rd September, there will be a holiday in the government offices and educational institutions of Jammu and Kashmir. As soon as this order was issued, there was an atmosphere of celebration in Jammu and fireworks started, while politics began in Kashmir.
The National Conference questioned the contribution of the Dogra ruler, alleging that the Lt Governor’s administration was discriminatory.
Let us inform you that after the reorganization of Jammu and Kashmir in 2019 and the removal of Article 370, the Jammu and Kashmir administration has abolished the state holiday on December 5, the birth anniversary of National Conference founder Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah, from the list of public holidays for the year 2020.
Along with this, 26 October was also declared a holiday as the day of accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India.
Since then, there was a demand for a holiday in the Jammu region on the birthday of Maharaja Hari Singh. After this, the foundation of this demand was laid by the controversial statement given by the then President of the National Conference and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on September 19, 2002.
Omar Abdullah had reportedly said in an election meeting in Samba that we followed the Maharaja till he left Jammu and Kashmir.
There was a massive uproar on his statement and after that Maharaja Hari Singh became an issue in electoral politics. After that, the name Maharaja Hari Singh started being introduced in the political circles by linking the Dogra identity and a holiday in Jammu and Kashmir was demanded in his honour.
Later resolutions were also brought in the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council to declare a holiday.
The Jammu Municipal Corporation also passed a resolution in this regard twice and sent it to the government for approval.
But every time this demand of the people remained unfulfilled. In the year 2020, when the state holiday on the birth anniversary of Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah was cancelled, once again the demand for a holiday on the Maharaja’s birthday got wind.
By the way, the state holiday on the birthday of Maharaja Hari Singh started in the year 1931, when the Maharaja returned after participating in the Round Table Conference held in London in November 1930 and on the demand of the public, the Praja Sabha of the princely state took this decision.
But when the monarchy ended, this holiday was cancelled. Even at that time, the Dogras of the state had opposed this decision, but the government suppressed that protest. T
he issue of respect for Maharaja Hari Singh and Sheikh Abdullah has been a part of the politics between Jammu and Kashmir. The Dogra ruler has been highly respected in Jammu and Ladakh, while in Kashmir, Sheikh Abdullah’s personality has been considered a big one.
During the country’s independence, there were deep differences between Maharaja Hari Singh and Sheikh Abdullah.
Sheikh Abdullah also agitated against the rule of the Maharaja. Now with the order issued on Monday, a long cycle of politics in Jammu and Kashmir has been completed. Maharaja Hari Singh was the Dogra ruler and Jammu has a sizeable Dogra population.
Because of this, the decision to declare a holiday is also likely to give political advantage to the Bharatiya Janata Party in Jammu.
To capitalize on this opportunity, the party has organized celebrations and addresses of party leaders in all the districts. With this decision, the government has also tried to satisfy the nationalists and handle the politics of Jammu and Kashmir.