LORES AROUND AN EMPIRE BUILDER: Unknown Facts of His Birth & Early Life

(On the eve of his Coronation Bicentenary of Maharaja Gulab Singh)

Col J P Singh

Sometime before the birth of Gulab Singh, an ascetic hermit named Partta lived near Uttarbehni. He could predict inevitable happenings. At that time people of major part of Jammu were suffering from the cruelty of tyrant Chieftains and oppressed from plunder of landlords. Aggrieved as they were, they went to the Hermit and prayed to him for deliverance from such atrocities.
Next morning the Hermit predicted that in the very near future three Birs (brave men), the stars of firmament of valour, compassion and generosity will shine over Jammu as one constellation. The bright radiance of their fame will smite away the black night of tyranny and oppression. The most exalted of them will bring under his sway Uttarbehni and most of these regions around the place of pilgrimage. Remaining veiled in mysterious obscurity, he will become celebrated and reconstructed with his grace. (Soon Gulab Singh, Dhian Singh and Suchet Singh were born to Mian Kishore Singh and did what was predicted).
It is said that mother of Gulab Singh was buried alive on her birth as per the prevailing practice of infanticide. Knowing that a delivery had taken place in the Jajman Family, as per the prevalent custom, their Pandit visited them to forecast infant’s future and prepare a horoscope. He was informed that a baby girl was born and being a girl she has been buried alive as per the practice. Pandit opened his Patri and on further enquiries found that the Baby Girl took birth at such particular auspicious moment of time (Lagan) which destinies her to give birth to a son who was to be a Chhatrapati Ruler. He admonished them for the folly. They rushed to her grave and brought her home still alive. She was married to Mian Kishore Singh and became mother of Maharaja Gulab Singh.
Similarly and coincidentally Pandit Mansa Ram Razdan, who had good intellectual lore of Sastras & Vedas came to Chennani on a visit. One day Mian Kishore Singh’s servant by the name of ‘Achhru’ came to Pandit Ji with Gulab Singh as child in his lap. Pnadit Ji saw the young lad, read the signs of amazing events on the forehead of Mian Kishore Singh’s son which were so distinctly seen. He clearly saw the tidings of a gleeful future of the child. Pandit Razdan advised Mian Kishore Singh to bring up his fortunate son properly as the destiny had entrusted some miraculous tasks to be performed by him.
On his birth, his father Mian Kishore Singh asked family Pandit to suggest a name for the child. Panditji plucked a rose flower from close by and put it in infant’s hand. Hence he was named Gulab Singh.
Once when Mian Kishore Singh was staying at Saruinsar in the house of Mian Sham Singh. Baba Prem Dass Bairagi, a monotheist and another intellectual of Vedas & Sastras came to Sham Singh’s house. He observed the radiations of Divine blessings on the face of young lad Gulab Singh, and remarked, “Oh disciple, you are destined to be a great Raja”. As the luck of the region would have it, Maharaja Gulab Singh lived upto these prophesies remarkably and rescued the region from the distress.
At the young age of 16 he fought against the invading Sikh Army of Lahore Darbar and foiled their attempts to subjugate Jammu. It was this flow of fortune and show of military skills that took him to emperor of Punjab. His later rise in Lahore Darbar is a remarkable story which has been amply recorded by the British and Indian historians with different and doubtful interpretations.
The historical relationship between individuals and events is subject to two interpretations. Some believe that individuals make history while others contend that historical forces create individuals. There are others who believe that reality lies somewhere between the two extremes. Now that 200 years have passed by to these prophesies, it is now for the readers and historians to interpret distinctly as to what Maharaja Gulab Singh represented and in which category the founder ruler of a vast Dogra empires falls.
( Author is Co-Chairman of Raj Tilak Celebration Committee Akhnoor)