Dogra Distinction Distraught

With reference to ‘Imperial Gazetteer 2 of India, Volume 15 page 100′, the origin of the word `Dogra’ is commonly stated by the people themselves to have arisen from the fact that the cradle of the Dogra race lies between the two holy lakes, Saruinsar and Mansar, not far from Jammu. Drigartdesh, or the `country of the two hollows,’ was corrupted into Dugar, and Dugar became Dogra. From Jammu stretching east along the plains of the Punjab the country was Dogra; and all who live in that tract, whether they be Hindus, Muslims, or Sikhs, whether high-born Rajputs or lowborn menials, are known as Dogras, and have certain national characteristics and a common mother tongue, which differentiate them from any of the other peoples of India?. The Dogra dynasty was a dynasty of Hindu Rajputs who ruled Jammu & Kashmir from 1846 to 1947. They traced their ancestry to the Ikshvaku (Solar) Dynasty of Northern India (the same clan in which Lord Rama was born). The Dogra Raj emerged as a regional power, particularly after Maharaja Gulab Singh emerged as a warrior and his subjects received special martial recognition from the British Raj. The rule of Gulab Singh extended over the whole of the Jammu Region, a large part of the Ladakh region as early as March 1846. The Kashmir valley came under the Dogra rule with the ominous terms of the treaty of Amritsar. Treaty of Amritsar gave Gulab Singh the title deeds to Kashmir. Thus Jammu and Kashmir was established as one of the largest princely states in British India, receiving a 21-gun salute for its Maharaja in 1921. Maharaja Hari Singh, last ruler of the princely state while attending the ‘First Round Table Conference’ in the later part of 1930 in London delivered two fiery and bold speeches which sent shivers to the foundation of British Rule in India. It was with the supreme sacrifices of the Dogras in extending the boundaries of Jammu and Kashmir to China, Russia and Tibet. The military history related to Dogra people speaks of ‘Dogra Regiment’ among the regiments of the British Indian Army, which made significant contributions in both the world wars on all fronts from East Asia to Europe and North Africa. At Independence, it became an infantry regiment of the Indian Army composed largely of the Dogra people. The Jammu and Kashmir Rifles, another regiment of the Indian Army, consisting mainly of Dogras, was formed out of the former army of the Kingdom of Jammu & Kashmir after it was absorbed into the Indian Army. Immediately after the partition of the Indian Subcontinent in 1947, thousands of raiders assisted by Pakistani regulars invaded the State of Jammu & Kashmir all along its border. The real savior of Jammu and Kashmir State was Brigadier Rajinder Singh. It was Dogra Soldier Brigadier Rajinder Singh and his band of Dogra Soldiers fighting bravely for every inch of land, they delayed enemy advance by two crucial days during which important decisions were taken and the J&K State was thus saved for India by Brigadier Rajinder Singh who made the supreme sacrifice of his life on 26 October 1947 valiantly fighting the Pakistani raiders in Uri-Rampur sector. General Nirmal Chander Vij, who took over as Chief of Army staff on 31 December 2002 was born in Jammu, and holds the rare distinction of being the only officer who has held the appointments as DGMO, VCOAS and the COAS. Hon’ble Dr. Justice A. S. Anand, former Chief Justice of India was born in Jammu. The political scenario of the Dogra region remained always represented by a visionless class that always remained stooges of the Kashmir politicians for their vested interests. The exploitation of Dogras remained a focal point for politicians and they never worked to maintain the Dogra identity and Dogra culture. We remember that in 2011 the government in power has accorded sanction for issuance of ‘Dogra Certificate’ but such certificates were never issued in practice. Mubarak Mandi, once Jammu’s grand palace in the city of Jammu, overlooking the Tawi River is one of India’s most spectacular palace complexes declared as heritage site by the state government forlorn, forgotten and endangered. The workmanship brings out the best of Rajasthani, Mughal and European styles. The complex is grouped around several courtyards and includes various buildings and palaces like the Darbar Hall Complex, the Pink Palace, Royal Courts buildings, Gol Ghar Complex, Nawa Mahal, Rani Charak Palace, Hawa Mahal, the Toshakhana palace and the Sheesh Mahal. By making two Union Territories (UTs), the BJP government has left Dogras of the Jammu region in the lurch. The history has been undone by the Centre and interests of Dogras, who had made huge sacrifices in the past to protect interests of the state, have been demeaned. Dogra culture, heritage and its identity is at the verge of extinction. The political elite have diluted the Dogra culture and winning elections for power is their sole agenda. The present dispensation leads in making hollow claims for Jammu but in reality it lacks will. Every judicious personage having involvement of his heritage and culture will not hesitate to comment that Dogra identity, and its heritage has been demeaned by a political decision of re-organizing the Jammu and Kashmir State to a fragmented position of Union Territory. It is a deep conspiracy having its roots in the valley politics and now hijacked by the present power house in the center. One can well understand the mentality of Kashmir politics as Kashmir (Muslim majority region) remained under the Dogra rulers’ right from Maharaja Gulab Singh to last ruler of the state Maharaja Hari Singh for at least 101 years but what mentality the power point at Delhi has in its mind is nothing but a wicked move of power lust only. The political party now in vibrations in Jammu has no ‘cerebrum’, the outer part of the brain that controls hearing, vision, thinking, senses and emotions.
Mahadeep Singh Jamwal [email protected]