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Gulab Singh

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For other people named Gulab Singh, see Gulab Singh (disambiguation).

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Gulab Singh
Maharaja Gulab Singh of Jammu and Kashmir.jpg
Raja of Jammu
Reign 16 June 182216 March 1846[1]
Predecessor Kishore Singh
Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir
Reign 16 March 184630 June 1857
Successor Ranbir Singh
Wazir of the Sikh Empire
In office 31 January 1846 9 March 1846
Predecessor Jawahar Singh Aulakh
Born 17 October 1792
Jammu
Died 30 June 1857 (aged 64)
Issue Ranbir Singh
House Jamwal
Royal House of Jammu and Kashmir
Father Kishore Singh
Religion Hinduism
Gulab Singh (17921857) was the founder of royal Dogra dynasty and first Maharaja
of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, the second largest princely state in
British India, which was created after the defeat of the Sikh Empire in the First
Anglo-Sikh War. The Treaty of Amritsar (1846), formalised the sale by the British
to Gulab Singh for 7,500,000 Nanakshahee Rupees of all the lands in Kashmir that
were ceded to them by the Sikhs by the Treaty of Lahore.[2]

Contents [hide]
1 Early career
2 Raja of Jammu
3 Intrigue at Lahore
4 Clashes with the Muslim tribes of Kashmir and Hazara
5 Trans-Himalayan adventure
6 Recognition as Maharaja
7 Notes
8 Further reading
Early career[edit]

The Hill fort of Maharaja Gulab Singh, 1846 drawing.


Gulab Singh was born on 17 October 1792 in a Dogra Rajput family. His father was
Mian Kishore Singh. He joined the army of Ranjit Singh in 1809 and was sufficiently
successful to be granted a jagir worth 12,000 rupees and also 90 horses.[1]

In 1808, following another conflict, Jammu was annexed by Ranjit Singh. Raja Jit
Singh, who was expelled, found refuge in British India, and later received in
appendage the estate of Akhrota. Ranjit Singh appointed a governor to administer
the newly conquered area which was expanded in 1819 with the annexation of Kashmir
by a Sikh force. In 1820, in appreciation of services rendered by the family, and
by Gulab Singh in particular, Ranjit Singh bestowed the Jammu region as a
hereditary fief upon Kishore Singh.[1] Apart from their sterling services, the
family's intimate association with the region commended Kishore Singh's candidature
to the Lahore court.[citation needed]
In 1821, Gulab Singh captured conquered Rajouri from Aghar Khan and Kishtwar from
Raja Tegh Muhammad Singh.[citation needed] That same year, Gulab Singh took part in
the Sikh conquest of Dera Ghazi Khan. He also captured and executed his own
clansman, Mian Dido Jamwal, who had been leading a rebellion against the Sikhs.

Raja of Jammu[edit]

The palace of Maharaja Gulab Singh, on the banks of Chenab, Jammu, mid 19th
century.
Kishore Singh died in 1822 and Gulab Singh was confirmed as Raja of Jammu by his
suzerain, Ranjit Singh.[1] Shortly afterwards, Gulab Singh secured a formal
declaration of renunciation from his kinsman, the deposed Raja Jit Singh. The
declaration, drafted in Persian, reads

I, Raja Jit Singh, grandson of Raja Sahib Ranjit Devji, on this occasion and out of
internal inclination and dignified favors, in my own lifetime, and as a token of
intrinsic love and heartfelt affection, hereby renounce proprietorship to all the
protected territories of my ancestors, and my own inheritance, in favor of my
prosperous barkhurdar, Raja-i-Rajgan Raja Gulab Singhji, and Raja Sahib Dhian
Singhji and Raja Suchet Singhji, by way of dharam and niyam, mutual agreement and
on oaths of my predecessors and Thakurs and Gurus.[citation needed]
Thus, the declaration transferred the headship of the Jamwal Rajputs to a junior
branch of that clan.

As Raja (Governor-GeneralChief) of Jammu, Gulab Singh was one of the most powerful
chiefs of the Sikh Empire. Under the Imperial and Feudal Army arrangement, he was
entitled to keep a personal army of 3 Infantry Regiments, 15 Light Artillery Guns
and 40 Garrison Guns. [3]

Intrigue at Lahore[edit]
In 1824 Gulab Singh captured the fort of Samartah, near the holy Mansar Lake. In
1827 he accompanied the Sikh Commander-in-Chief Hari Singh Nalwa, who fought and
defeated a horde of Afghan rebels led by Sayyid Ahmed at the Battle of Shaidu.
Between 1831-39 Ranjit Singh bestowed on Gulab Singh the jagir of the salt mines in
northern Punjab,[1] and the nearby Punjabi towns like Bhera, Jhelum, Rohtas, and
Gujrat.

On the death of Ranjit Singh in 1839, Lahore became a center of conspiracies and
intrigue in which the three Jammu brothers were involved. They succeeded in placing
the administration in the hands of Prince Nau Nihal Singh with Raja Dhian Singh as
prime minister. However, in 1840, during the funeral procession of his father
Maharaja Kharak Singh, Nau Nihal Singh together with Udham Singh, son of Gulab
Singh, died when an old brick gate collapsed on them.

In January 1841 Sher Singh, son of Ranjit Singh, tried to seize the throne of
Lahore but was repulsed by the Jammu brothers. The defence of the fort was in the
hands of Gulab Singh. According to his American artillery commander Alexander
Gardner

The Dogras on the walls began to look over and were jeered at by Sher Singhs
troops, the little fort was surrounded by a sea of human heads. Gulab Singh made
contemptuous replies, and roared out to Sher Singh, demanding that he should
surrender... With a wild yell some 300 Akalis swept up the Hazuri Bagh and crowded
into the gate. Just at that moment, when the crowd was rushing in on us, their
swords high in the air, I managed to fire the ten guns, and literally blew them
into the air... Then Sher Singh fled and grievous carnage ensued. The Dogras,
always excellent marksmen, seemed that day not to miss a man from the walls... we
counted the bodies of no less than 2800 soldiers, 200 artillerymen, and 180 horses.
After peace was made between the two sides, Gulab Singh and his men were allowed to
leave with their weapons. On this occasion, he is said to have taken away a large
amount of the Lahore treasure to Jammu. Subsequently, Gulab Singh conquered the
fort of Mangla (near the present Mangla Dam on the Jhelum River).

Clashes with the Muslim tribes of Kashmir and Hazara[edit]


In 1837, after the death of Hari Singh Nalwa in the Battle of Jamrud, the Muslim
tribes of Tanolis, Karrals, Dhunds, Satis and Sudhans rose in revolt in Hazara and
Kashmir. Gulab Singh was given the task of crushing the rebellion. After defeating
insurgents in Hazara and Murree hills, Gulab Singh made Kahuta his headquarter to
deal with Kashmiri insurgents. A Sudhan, Shams Khan had raised the standard of
revolt and had captured hill forts from a Raja. Gulab Singh placed one Rupee over
the head of man, woman or child connected to the insurgents, this way about 12,000
Sudhans, Satis and Dhunds perished in the hills. Some Muslim women were taken
captives and sold into sexual slavery.[4]

A statue of Gulab Singh at Amar Mahal Palace, India.


Trans-Himalayan adventure[edit]

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In all this time a large part of the Dogra army had been engaged in trans-Himalayan
conquests. General Zorawar Singh, governor of Kishtwar, had conquered the Suru
valley and Kargil (1835), the rest of Ladakh (183640), and