Hari Singh

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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, Indian Empire
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.

Reign[edit]

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.

Family[edit]

  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[edit]

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

Honours[edit]

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

Ord.Stella.India.jpg Order of the Indian Empire Ribbon.svg

Royal Victorian Order ribbon sm.jpg India Service Medal BAR.svg 39-45 Star BAR.svg Africa Star BAR.svg

War Medal 39-45 BAR.svg Med.DelhiDurbar1903.png King George V Coronation Medal ribbon.png GeorgeVSilverJubileum-ribbon.png

GeorgeVICoronationRibbon.png Indian Independence medal 1947.svg Cavaliere di Gran Croce OCI Kingdom BAR.svg Legion 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]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Maharaja Hari Singh's Letter to Mountbatten
  2. ^ Justice A. S. Anand, The Constitution of Jammu & Kashmir (5th edition, 2006), page 67
  3. ^ Kashmir, Research Paper 04/28 by Paul Bowers, House of Commons Library, United Kingdom., page 46, 30 March 2004
  4. ^ "J&K power defaulters cocking a snook at CM". Daily Pioneer. 18 January 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2013. 

External links[edit]

Hari Singh
Born: 23 September 1895 Died: 26 April 1961
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Pratap Singh
(as Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir)
Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir
1925–1952
Succeeded by
Monarchy abolished 1952; succeeded by Karan Singh as Sadar-i-Riyasat (Head of State)
Titles in pretence
Preceded by
None
— TITULAR —
Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir
1952–1961
Reason for succession failure:
Monarchy abolished in 1952
Succeeded by
Karan Singh