Thursday, February 15, 2018

CAPT DIWAN SINGH ON "MAHARAJA HARI SINGH OF JAMMU AND KASHMIR"




                                                              
                                                           ( Capt. Diwan Singh )
  ( Maharaja Hari Singh and Maharani Tara Devi )

CAPTAIN DIWAN SINGH ON " MAHARAJA HARI SINGH "

Capt  Diwan Singh (1919 -2014 )

Capt  Diwan Singh ADC to Maharaja Hari Singh was privy to many inside decisions / happenings during the crucial days of October 1947. In that capacity , he was a store house of first hand information relating to several political developments during the last days of Maharaja’s rule. I wish he had written a book to put many records straight and clear many misconceptions and wrong beliefs .

He remained steadfast in his loyalty to Maharaja Hari Singh till his death . He proved it when he resigned from army ( he served as Staff Officer post 1947 ) in 1949 and decided to continue as Private Secretary to Maharaja under totally changed environment . At that time , the lonely Maharaja was asked to leave the state and live as exile in Mumbai . No one was prepared to move with him as his Secretary / ADC. Capt Diwan Singh returned to Jammu only after Maharaja’s death.
Born in a Rajput family from Palanwala, Jammu , Capt  Diwan Singh’s father had served state’s  forces and seen action in the first world war . And so did Capt  Diwan Singh see action in Burma war . After 1947 , he saw action in Poonch ( siege of Poonch, August 1948 ) when Pakistani troops were driven away by Indian Army .

For people of the state especially Jammu province , he was instrumental in getting 500 acres of land donated by Maharaja Hari Singh that enabled him to set up D.A.V. Agricultural Collegiate School at Nagbani. After his return to Jammu , he devoted his time and energy for this cause .

I had two (1996 and 1997 ) interactions with him during the period I headed Dumana,  Jammu  branch of our bank. In fact, during that period , he was instrumental in getting an extension counter of our bank opened inside Nagbani school . This extension counter was to operate under Dumana branch. During those two interactions , he was kind enough to speak a little about those crucial days of 1947 when he happened to be ADC to Maharaja Hari Singh. I quote from my records /diary jottings of these two meetings. He said  this:

“ Maharaja Hari Singh spoke fluent Kashmiri .  By complexion also, he looked like a Kashmiri."

“ Maharaja never believed in clarifying himself. Never made certain 'behind the curtain'  decisions public that could have presented his true and real personality . Sometimes , I feel that history has been unfair to him. “

“ He was far and very far above petty things. Contrary to the general impression that he was haughty , I have felt that he had a human heart . He was liberal, progressive and a firm believer in reforms . As ruler , never ever has he distinguished between members of his staff or public in general on the basis of caste ,creed or religion. Many Muslims were in employment with State’s Darbar . I mean on very high and respectable posts . A few I can quote were Nawab Khushru Jung , his military secretary, Sahibzada Noor Mohammad Khan , a member of his inner personal staff and Sardar Abdul Rehman Effindi who had been provided with a house at Gupkar Road. Abdul Qayoom Khan was another secretary. Maharaja’s head cook was a Muslim .Nizam of Hyderabad and Nawab of Palanpur were very close to him. Their families would be in Srinagar during  summers and stayed as royal guests .Nawab Taley Mohammad Khan was his closest friend. "


"He coined the slogan “ Justice is my Religion .”


“ In our state , if you look around any old hospital , old Government School , old college , old Technical Institution , old road , old rail link , old power project , Irrigation system, old sericulture project, Industrial activity projects ( turpentine industry , bat industry , match factory , carpet factory , woolen mill, silk factory ), handicrafts emporium , J&K bank , village Panchayats, development of tourist resorts ( Gulmarg and Pahalgham ), boulevard around Dal lake,  or any other old public utility project, you shall find his contribution.”


“ He put the last nail in the coffin of Begaar , prostitution and child marriage . Hindu Widow Remarriage Ordinance was formulated during his rule. The state subject rule was formulated by Maharaja in 1929 . He passed an ordinance making primary education compulsory .“


“ He did not believe in rituals . He was drawn towards Arya Samaj philosophy . He had also willed that no ritual be performed after his death but Yuvraj Karan Singh Ji and Maharani Sahiba did all the rituals and mournings as per Sanatan Dharma.”

“The ruling political set up at that time ordered him to move far away from his family, his home and above all his motherland. The manner in which Maharaja was exiled from the state in 1949 was a grave insult to him. This hurt remained with him till his death. As  exile , he turned diabetic. He had some incurable boil on his neck.  He endured all silently. Never made any hue and cry of his pain and suffering. He never spoke against any political personality that had connived to throw him out ."

“ Mountbatten visited our state in June 1947. He stayed for about a week in Srinagar. One day before his departure , Mountbatten had told Maharaja “ Then I advise you to join Pakistan “ . They were supposed to meet next day. But Maharaja sent a letter through me to be delivered to Mountbatten declining to meet him again. Maharaja’s heart was always with India . I am more than sure on this issue . "

“ Jinnah also tried to meet Maharaja twice; first in August 1947 and then in September 1947 but Maharaja refused . ”

“ Even Before the tribal raid , Maharaja wanted to accede to India and was waiting for the clearance from leaders essentially Pandit Ji . But Pandit Ji wanted Sheikh Abdullah and National Conference leaders to be released first. The leaders of National Conference along with Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah were released in September 1947. Probably Pandit ji had some hostility towards Maharaja since 1946. Pandit Ji was well educated and the most influential leader at that critical turn of the history of the subcontinent ."

“ Pandit Ji possibly felt that the key of Kashmir’s tangled lock lay only and only with Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah . Time proved him wrong. Pandit Ji was also cross with Maharaja for what he felt as his humiliation at Kohala bridge . The media reported it as the arrest of Nehru. Let me tell one and all that Pandit Ji was never arrested. He was merely stopped form visiting valley that was already boiling due to 'Quit Kashmir' movement. He was requested to stay in Maharaja’s guest house near Uri and a cook and some servants were sent from Srinagar for him by Maharaja. Even Maulana Azad had been made to believe that Pandit Ji had been arrested .”

“As Maharaja came to know about the tribal raid, he personally wanted to lead his troops from front like a true Kshatriya.Inside Srinagar Palace , during those crucial days of October 1947 , one day , I saw Maharaja in battle dress. He called his officers and asked us to be ready for any sacrifice to save  our motherland. It was only Brigadier Rajinder Singh who stood like a rock and stopped Maharaja from visiting Uri and leading troops to stop the advancing tribal raiders .”

“ I totally disagree with the popular belief that Maharaja ran away at night to save his life ; let me make it clear that during those critical days , Maharaja ‘s mind was only focused on driving away the raiders and saving his state and the people. Never ever he thought of leaving Kashmir.He was  very firmly asked to or better say directed to move out from valley immediately by Mr V P Menon who suddenly flew to Srinagar one day with draft of accession document. The painful decision to leave was reluctantly taken during afternoon of the same  day . It was 25th October 1947 . And we left during the night at 2 a.m. the same day. Sheikh Abdullah had sought an assurance from Pandit Ji that  Maharaja will leave Srinagar before the formation of popular Government once the instrument of accession was signed. And Pandit Ji did not want to annoy Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah"

" We started from the Palace at dead of the night.  I was in the back seat of Maharaja’s car . Maharaja was on steering. Maharani Sahiba and other ladies followed us in separate cars. Maharaja could hardly carry all belongings in a few cars/vehicles. The stories about Maharaja taking everything with him on that fateful day are all false. Most of his belongings remained in Srinagar palace when he was asked to leave in an absolute hurry.  .He did not say a word during the entire Journey to Jammu. Arriving at Jammu, He had a long sigh and said “ We have lost Kashmir.”

“ After 1947, The heavy golden throne of Maharaja was in the possession State Government and it was later donated to Central Government by Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad during Chinese aggression.
Many Persian carpets, cutlery, furniture,  gifts and valuable things were removed from the Palace post-October 1947 . Even imported sanitaryware fittings were removed from the Palace after Maharaja left. Government occupied his Jammu palace and old palace in Srinagar.This was something unusual when you see other princely states in the country. "

“ The final Instrument of accession was signed inside Hari Niwas Palace ,Jammu ."

“ After signing the instrument of accession , that night he went to sleep a little early . He called me and said meaningfully , ” we need to save people from marauding raiders . If Indian planes do not fly to Kashmir in the morning , shoot me in my sleep. Don’t wake me up."

(Avtar Mota)

PS.
These are jottings made by me from what Capt. Diwan Singh spoke sometime during 1996 and 1997. These are not my views .




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