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Remembering True Visionary and Patriot - His Excellency Maharaja Hari Singh ji
9/23/2020 12:02:06 AM

S.S. Sodhi

As people in J&K and all over the world gear up for 126th birth anniversary celebrations of Maharaja Hari Singh Ji, it is pertinent to recall the reign of the true visionary and patriotic Dogra ruler who brought sea changes in J&K which made his subjects endearingly close to him .
In fact, J&K had been blessed to have experienced the leadership of Maharaja Hari Singh ji, the last and the most prominent Dogra ruler of J&K; experience of leadership that was based on well organised public administration system which was grounded in deep concern and understanding for public welfare and advocated people friendly policies.
Maharaja Sahab brought many social reforms during his regime. His religion was ‘justice to all’ irrespective of religion, caste, race or gender. Maharaja Sahib’s historic remark that : “As a ruler , I have no religion. All religions are mine and my religion is justice,” is often quoted and stands him out as a fair and just leader of masses whom he treated equally, irrespective of their religion, caste or colour and preached brotherhood among all communities viz. Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and others.
He made primary education compulsory, introduced laws ending many social evils and opened places of worship for lower castes. Being a great visionary ruler and pioneer in starting many new things in that era, Banking system in J&K was one of the many important initiatives introduced by Maharaja Sahib for economic upliftment of the society.
Formation of Jammu & Kashmir Bank by Maharaja on 1st October 1938 was a visionary approach for uplifting the Society.
As a progressive thinker, he introduced many reforms for the welfare of the general public, like banning of social evils, such as , child marriage, female infanticide, ‘sati pratha’, untouchability, smoking at public places, etc.
For economic and social upliftment of his people, Maharaja Sahab promoted free and compulsory education for all. Looking at the needs of his people, he made primary education for 7 years , instead of 5. He also looked into uplifting of the status of women in society by promoting widow re marriages and women health and education.
Maharaja Hari Singh was so farsighted that he decided to annex Jammu & Kashmir with India for the welfare of the general public. He knew that India is the country where people have ability to prosper in every respect, live peacefully and extend brotherhood to people of all the religions.
It is needless to say that Maharaja Hari Singh’s reign heralded many historic reforms and policies which endeared him to all his subjects, irrespective of their religion, class or gender which have relevance, importance and usefulness even today, hundreds of year of later.
Year after year, on 23rd of September, people of J&K and in other parts of the world , respectfully remember him and recall his rich legacy of contributions by paying glorious tributes to him.
Paying homage to Maharaja Hari Singh ji by installing and garlanding his statues at every nook and corner of J&K and at other parts of the world on 23rd September each year is the least we can do as a token of our respect for the great Maharaja who was an epitome of good governance and had always worked for uplifting his people.
May the rich legacy of Maharaja Hari Singh and Dogra rulers of J&K live long and continue to remind us of our glorious past.
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