Nation remembers Gulab Singh – the founder of Jammu and Kashmir – on his Coronation Day

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Maharaja Gulab Singh

It is the 199th Coronation Day of Maharaja Gulab Singh – the founder of Jammu and Kashmir. On this day in 1822, his Coronation took place at Jio Pota Akhnoor on the banks of River Chenab. Maharaja Gulab Singh had carved a big empire under Gen Zorawar Singh, who had annexed Leh, Ladakh, Gilgit, Baltistan, Hunza, Chilas and had reached Western Tibet.

Jammu: As the nation pays tributes to the brave soldiers who laid down their life protecting India’s border at Galwan two days ago, the people of Jammu and Kashmir, especially the Dogras, recalled the bravery and valour of Maharaja Gulab Singh on his coronation day on Wednesday 17 June.

On 17 June 1822, Gulab Singh was anointed as Raja of Jammu at Akhnoor, by Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

Extending his greetings on the Coronation Day of Maharaja Gulab Singh on Wednesday 17 June at Jio Pota Ghat on the banks of River Chenab at Akhnoor, Maj Gen Goverdhan Singh Jamwal, President J & K Exservices League, said: “It is a day to remind the Nation about the contribution of Maharaja Gulab Singh, his General Zorawar Singh and the Dogra Army that were helped by the Ladakhis and Baltis to venture into China and Tibet in 1841 where the First Battle against the Chinese was won and their Dragon Flag called the ‘Mantlai Flag’ captured. It is the prize possession of the Jammu and Kashmir Rifles that was then commanded by Col Mehta Baste Ram of Kishtwar.

Replica of Chinese Standard (Mantlai Flag) captured by Dogra Forces under General
Zorawar Singh in Tibet in May 1841, the only Chinese War trophy in India.

Incidentally these areas are disputed and the confrontation is going on today. They extended the frontiers of India to provide strategic depth, almost 200 years ago which Pakistan has been searching in Afghanistan which too is our neighbour providing yet another approach to us behind Pakistan only if we retake our Gilgit – Baltistan, illegally occupied by Pakistan with the help of the British who had treacherously deceived us after the handing over of Gilgit on 1 August 1947.

Today we also remember the farsightedness and sagacity of Maharaja Ranjit Singh who saw in Gulab Singh the future of India and stopped Sikh raids and attacks on Jammu Dogra Principalities for decades and converted it into a friendly neighbour till he lived.”

Our great Dogra heroes founded the State of Jammu and Kashmir, protected it for 101 years, saved it and finally handed over to India. Salute to Maharaja Gulab Singh and the great Dogras today on his Coronation Day. Let us Remember them from wherever we are, pay tributes and educate our youth about them from our homes on 17 June – Maj Gen Goverdhan Singh Jamwal

Responding to the barbaric way the Chinese ambushed the Indian Army personnel at Galwan Valley on Monday, General Jamwal expressed grief and said no doubt China is up for limited show, 20 lives cannot be lost without a bullet being fired. It was a deliberate, well calibrated and planned limited operation.

On our part we should not utter a word which affects the morale of the troops and even their families and the Nation. Present wars are not fought by the Armed Forces alone but the whole nation fights. We have to show the solidarity which will be a factor in the future course of the conflict. We condole the loss of 20 bravehearts but are proud of them.

It was here General Zorawar Singh had defeated the Chinese in May 1841 though he lost the last battle at Toyo on 12 December 1841 more due to attrition and cold of minus 15 degrees. Even today it is minus which has cost us 20 Bravehearts. This gives us the idea of the Dogras and their sacrifices under General Zorawar Singh and the contribution of Maharaja Gulab Singh. We remember them and also pay tributes to Colonel B Santosh Babu and 19 Martyrs today from our Homes again due to the Chinese Corona mischief”.

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