Kashmir and Jammu (princely State) - Creation


Prior to the creation of the princely state, Kashmir was ruled by the Pashtun Durrani Empire, until it was annexed by Sikhs led by Ranjit Singh. During Sikh rule, Jammu was a tributary of the Sikh Empire.

After the death of the Raja of Jammu, Kishore Singh, in 1822, his son Gulab Singh was recognised by the Sikhs as his heir. He then, initially under the Sikhs, began expanding his kingdom.

As Raja of Jammu, Gulab Singh conquered Bhadarwah after a slight resistance. He then annexed Kishtwar after the minister, Wazir Lakhpat, quarrelled with the ruler and sought the assistance of Gulab Singh. The Raja of Kishtwar surrendered without fighting when Gulab Singh's forces arrived. The conquest of Kishtwar meant that Singh had gained control of two of the roads which led into Ladakh, which then led to the conquest of that territory. Although there were huge difficulties due to the mountains and glaciers, the Dogras under Gulab Singh's officer, Zorawar Singh, conquered the whole of Ladakh in two campaigns.

A few years later, in 1840, General Zorawar Singh invaded Baltistan, captured the Raja of Skardu, who had sided with the Ladakhis, and annexed his country. The following year (1841) Zorawar Singh, while invading Tibet, was overtaken by winter and, as a result of being attacked when his troops were disabled by cold, perished with nearly his entire army. Whether it was policy or whether it was accident, by 1840 Gulab Singh had encircled Kashmir.

In the winter of 1845, war broke out between the British and the Sikhs. Gulab Singh remained neutral until the battle of Sobraon in 1846, when he appeared as a useful mediator and the trusted adviser of Sir Henry Lawrence. Two treaties were concluded. By the first, the State of Lahore was handed over to the British, as equivalent to an indemnity of one crore rupee, the hill countries between the rivers Beas and the Indus; by the second, the British made over to Gulab Singh for 75 lakh rupees all the hilly or mountainous country situated to the east of the Indus and west of the Ravi.

Rani Jindan's lover and chief minister of the Sikh empire, Lal Singh, who later became the prime minister of the Sikh empire, asked the governor of Kashmir, Imam-Uddin, to resist the force of Dogras, which was going there to replace Sikhs as the newly-founded state. The governor informed the fearless Jarral Prince Mirza Fakir Ullah to assault Dogra Army in the vicinity of Rajauri, which led to the death of many Dogra troops and general Lakhpat. Dogras fled to Jammu and Gulab Singh pleaded the British to help against the Governor and Jarral Army. Furious with the defeat of his army, Gulab Singh, along with British Forces, started to invade the Kashmir, on which Governor Imam-Uddin pleaded mercy, as he claimed that the action had been carried out on orders from Lahore(the capital of the Sikh Empire). Jarral ruling family was exiled from Rajauri because Gulab Singh was uncomfortable with their presence and was always fearful of them. Gulab Singh and British forces ousted the governor and appointed Gulab Singh as the new Maharaja of Kashmir and Jammu. For this treachery, Lal Singh faced the wrath of the British Empire. Imam-uddin showed the British and Gulab Singh the documents which had been sent to him by the Sikh Empire, which caused him to attack the Dogra Forces, which were on their way to replace Sikh forces in the Kashmir valley. Lal Singh was removed from the post and also banished from entering the Punjab Region.

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