Newsroom24x7 remembers Zorawar Singh, the legendary General of Maharaja Gulab Singh – the Dogra ruler of Jammu and Kashmir, on his 235th Anniversary (b.13 April 1786, in a Dogra family in village Kahlur, now Bilaspur in Himachal Pradesh). Every Indian citizen should cherish the memory and legacy of this great warrior who will always be remembered for the conquests in Ladakh, Tibet, Baltistan and Iskardu. General Zorawar Singh is popularly referred to as the “Conqueror of Ladakh and Tibet“. As tribute to the great warrior we are reproducing an article on him by Maj Gen Goverdhan Singh Jamwal.
Maj Gen Goverdhan Singh Jamwal
Zorawar, the legendary General of Maharaja Gulab Singh of Jammu and Kashmir, earned for himself the title of “Little Napoleon of India’ and has been described as the military genius of the nineteenth century by Cunningham. “During the long history of India, no Army from Hindustan had attacked Tibet. No Indian ruler had thought of conquering it and no Indian General accustomed to the heat of the plains had ever dared face the rigour of the Tibetan climate. Zorawar conceived the idea of conquering the Central Tibetan province for his master and prepared an expedition for that purpose.”
These Trans-Himalayan Campaigns fought by General Zorawar Singh, over a century ago, have suddenly become important for us, for with the Chinese aggression we find a large portion of our Army deployed in those very areas. Even the lapse of this period has not changed some basic factors of warfare in these regions and the effects of terrain, altitude and climate remain very much the same. We can, therefore, still learn some useful lessons from the study of his campaigns.
Jammu:Veteran General Goverdhan Singh Jamwal, 92, the last General of the Maharaja Hari Singh’s State Forces of Gen Zorawar Singh, now the Jammu and Kashmir Rifles that had founded the unique Dogra State under Maharaja Gulab Singh has voiced the demand of all Ex-servicemen and the Dogras and urged the Prime Minister, Government of India and the Lt Governor of Jammu and Kashmir to build a statue of Maharaja Gulab Singh and a Museum in Jammu to commemorate his memory.
General Jamwal has underscored the importance of a Museum as it will show how Maharaja Gulab Singh had created the unique plural Empire and handed it over to India providing strategic depth where Prime Minister Narendra Modi had the honour to address the soldiers and the Nation together with international ramifications. It will be a befitting Tribute to Maharaja Gulab Singh and the Dogras who have always been ready to sacrifice their all and have paid the price to establish and defend the territory of Jammu and Kashmir for 101 years and suffered for 72 years till 2019.
General Jamwal, a Dogra Veteran who has lived the History for almost a century, is urging the Prime Minister for a genuine cause. A Museum to commemorate the memory of Maharaja Gulab Singh in Jammu, on the way to Mata Vaishno Devi, where over 10 million pilgrims go every year to offer their prayers, will put the State not only on the map and at the heart of the country but also on the World map.
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.
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”.