‘Justice Is My Religion’: Kashmir Last Hindu King Hari Singh

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Jammu: The last Rulling Hindu King of jammu and Kashmir, Hari Singh  was marked by his ‘Justice is my religion’.He rose above the communal stereotyping and stood by his words.

September 23 is the 121st birth anniversary of Maharaja Hari Singh, the last ruler of Jammu and Kashmir, whose royal title was Shriman “Indar Mahindar Rajrajeshwar Maharajadhiraj Shri Jammu Kashmir Naresh Tatha Tibet Deshadhipati”.

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Maharaja Hari Singh ascended to the throne in 1925. His reign was marked by complex political events, conspiracies, and sweeping changes which had the power to completely overwhelm a mere mortal. Despite his inner turmoil he stood tall and stoically behind his kingdom, while taking some of the toughest decisions that no other king had to before him. Hari singh’s time no Burhan Wani sparks communal tension and no terrorists sparks tension. No curfew stopped Kashmir. But now Kashmir is the centre of tension and terrorism.

But after 1947, The Kashmir conflict is a territorial conflict primarily between India and Pakistan, having started just after the partition of India in 1947. China has at times played a minor role. India and Pakistan have fought three wars over Kashmir, including the Indo-Pakistani Wars of 1947 and 1965, as well as the Kargil War. The two countries have also been involved in several skirmishes over control of the Siachen Glacier.

Although thousands of people have died as a result of the turmoil in Jammu and Kashmir, the conflict has become less deadly in recent years. Protest movements created to voice Kashmir’s disputes and grievances with the Indian government, specifically the Indian Military, have been active in Jammu & Kashmir since 1989.

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In this issue, Pakistan maintains that Kashmir is the “jugular vein of Pakistan”and a currently disputed territory whose final status must be determined by the people of Kashmir. Pakistan’s claims to the disputed region are based on the rejection of Indian claims to Kashmir, namely the Instrument of Accession.

On 8 July 2016, a popular militant leader Burhan Muzaffar Wani was cornered by the security forces and killed. Following his death, protests and demonstrations have taken root leading to an “ampilified instability” in the Kashmir valley. Curfews have been imposed in all 10 districts of Kashmir and over 40 civilians died and over 2000 injured in clashes with the police. More than 600 have pellet injuries who may lose their eyesight. To prevent volatile rumours, cellphone and internet services have been blocked, and newspapers have also been restricted in many parts of the state.

 But that time a hindu king who ruled over a Muslim majority state is how he is often limitedly described, but it is only right in the context of current events to see how he rose above the communal stereotyping and stood by his words: “Justice is my religion” – his first statement after assuming the high office in 1925.

A man not keen on religious rituals, he did not discriminate between his Hindu and Muslim subjects. Indifferent to the opinions of his fellow co-religionists, he gave importance only to meritocracy and appointed the best of Muslims in his court, administration and the army. This Kashmir is far different from that Kashmir  when hindu king ruled muslim majority state.

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