Tuesday, September 12, 2017

MAHARAJA PARTAP SINGH ..A HUKKA PUFFING , GOD FEARING AND DEVELOPMENT ORIENTED MAHARAJA OF KASHMIR


                                                                           

MAHARAJA PARTAP SINGH ( 1850-1925 ) OF J&K STATE WITH HIS CRICKET TEAM AT GULMARG ..1922..

A note in my Diary goes as under ..

" Maharaja Partap singh lived a simple life.He had no vices . He would be often seen puffing Tobacco through his Hukka .Though a Rajput , he was a strict Vegetarian and did not indulge in Hunting . While in kashmir , he was a regular visitor to Kheer Bhawani shrine and was seen distributing alms to the poor . Charity / Dhaan was a daily affair at his Darbaar. He never crossed sea or went abroad . He never touched Alcohol but sometimes a " Peg of opium drink " or "Bhaang ki Lassi " would cheer him up and brighten his conversation skills .

It was during his time that most of the coveted posts in the state administration went to outsiders .A resentment had started in Jammu and srinagar . A slogan " State for state' s people " took shape and gained currency among local residents during his rule . He paid little heed to this resentment .This resentment became the base of promulgation of State Subject ordinance later on.

He was deeply devoted to the royal house of Windsor / British Crown ..

He brought Education to kashmir and Jammu by opening two colleges and a Technical Institute in kashmir apart from opening two hospitals one in Jammu and another in kashmir. He connected Kashmir with Jammu and Rawalpindi through Motorable Roads and brought train to Jammu from Sialkot.He brought Hydro Electric Power to the state.

He laid many irrigation Canals like Martand Canal , Lal Khul , Partap Canal , Ranbir Canal , Upper Jhelum Canal , Ujh Canal and Zaingir canal though started during his period but it was completed during the rule of Maharaja Hari singh. He also constructed Ram Munshi Bagh Flood channel to save Srinagar city from fury of floods. In 1887 , first extensive land settlement of entire state by Walter Lawrence  was organized at his initiative. He opened Departments of FORESTS and  SERI-CULTURE  in the state . First extensive survey to bring Railway line to kashmir Via Uri Baramulla route was got done by him. He also had a proposal to build a Rope-way from Chenani  ( In Jammu )  to Verinaag (in kashmir)  .

Chattabal Weir in Srinagar is his creation. It was built to maintain enough water in the river during winter and Droughts .He also initiated action for supply of tap water to Jammu and Srinagar cities.
1907 , he brought world renowned Geologist Dr D N Wadia to Prince of Wales College Jammu to start a Department of Geology.Dr Wadia  remained in Jammu till 1921.So many in our state have benefited from this Department. 

The survey of Salal Hydro Electric project was intiated during his rule. 


Inspite of all this , Common masses were poor and one could not see metal Pots in their households either in Jammu or kashmir. Potters did good business. Muslims were either labourers or artisans with a very small number being rich Traders who were known as Khojas. Kashmiri Pandits did petty jobs of Patwaris , Forest Guards and Clerks . Some Pandits were in Teaching profession. In a Kashmiri Pandit family of 10 or more members, hardly one person was earning and feeding entire family .Army service was meant for Rajputs and all coveted posts in the administration went to outsiders .

He abolished the cruel Begaar but Kaar e sarkaar ( forced labour ) survived and it was paid for.

Maharaja was a regular Visitor to saints and holy men kashmir. After he met saint poet Krishen Joo Razdan at Kheer Bhawani, he would halt his Darbaar move carvaan at wanpoh village in Anantnaag District to meet Razdan sahib twice every year; once in Autumn and again in spring time.

To his officers ,Maharaja would often say:
"Ensure no one dies of starvation. Open shalli stores and keep stock of grains for exigency. Drag people to schools. Educating people especially Muslims should be priority."

Maharaja Hari singh was his Nephew (brother"s son ).

Maharaja Partap Singh was very fond of cricket. He maintained a cricket team and was himself one of the eleven . Thousands of spectators were attracted to see maharaja hitting the ball on the playground. He was exceptionally short statured .
                                        

                                         
                                                                        
                                                   (Maharaja Partap singh )

Partap Singh was not blessed with a son. Once or twice a child was born to him but none survived.

Abdul Salam Shah(  NICKNAME .....SALAAM SHAAHUN SOTCHH ) and Narinder Nath Kaul were instrumental in keeping inflation under control during his rule. Prices of some commodities during 1922 were as under

Mutton.............. Anana four per seer
Milk ..................Aana one per seer
Oil.....................Aana Four per seer
Desi Ghee ........Aana Twelve per seer
Eggs .................Three Paisa per egg
willow fuel............Seven Maunds  per  rupee.."


Shri Ram krishen Sadhu  ( Retired Bureaucrat ) Adds :

" Maharaja of J&K  was a deeply religious man, extremely simple in his life style and compassionate by temperament. Stood totally apart from the extraordinarily luxurious and extravagant life style of Rulers across the country. He was an excellent human being and would never compromise on values. When his administration at one point of time decided to levy a small charge for supply of potable water to consumers, a proposal was placed for approval of His Highness in the  Council. After explaining the proposal , a pen was offered to him for signing the Order. He  broke the pen in two parts and conveyed  his annoyance for taxing  supply of drinking water to public. His Highness was a devotee of Swami Ram, a renowned Trika Guru and would visit him at the Trika Ashram at Fatehkadal which is functional even today. He once insisted that he wanted to render some service to the Saint. When he persistently insisted, Swami Ram advised him to set up a machinery to collect and consolidate all scripts of Kashmir Shaiva philosophy so that this valuable treasure and heritage is  not lost for posterity. The Maharaja immediately arranged to set up an organization of research and text book under supervision of outstanding scholars who were appointed for this specific  assignment. This proved to be an extremely valuable service for the preservation of a precious heritage which we would have lost."

Further,My maternal grandfather would often  say that Maharaja Partap Singh was daily busy with his puja upto 11.30 AM . After that he would offer lotus flowers to river  Vitasta ( Jhelum) . The flower petals could be seen even at Zainakadal flowing down the river . 

So long so much .....

( Autar Mota )

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