The Dogra dynasty[1][2] of Dogra Rajputs from the Shivalik hills created Jammu and Kashmir when all dynastic kingdoms in India were being absorbed by the East India Company. Events led the Sikh Empire to recognise Jammu as a vassal state in 1820, and later the British added Kashmir to Jammu with the Treaty of Amritsar in 1846. The founder of the dynasty, Gulab Singh, was an influential noble in the court of the Sikh emperor Maharaja Ranjit Singh, while his brother Dhian Singh served as the prime minister of the Sikh Empire. Appointed by Ranjit Singh as the hereditary Raja of the Jammu principality, Gulab Singh established his supremacy over all the hill states surrounding the Kashmir Valley. After the First Anglo-Sikh War in 1846, under the terms of the Treaty of Lahore, 1846, the Government of India acquired Kashmir from the Sikh Empire and transferred it to Gulab Singh, recognising him as an independent Maharaja. Thus, Jammu and Kashmir was established as one of the largest princely states in India,[a] receiving a 21-gun salute for its Maharaja in 1921. It was ruled by Gulab Singh and his descendants till 1947.[5][6]

House of Jamwals
The Crown at the top. A katar or ceremonial dagger sat below it. Two soldiers holding the flags. An image of the sun symbolising the Suryavansha Kshatriya lineage from Lord Rama
Flag of Dogra (Jamwal Rajput) Dynasty
CountryJammu and Kashmir (princely state)
Founded16 March 1846; 178 years ago (1846-03-16)
FounderGulab Singh
Current headKaran Singh
Final rulerHari Singh
Karan Singh (as Sadr-i-Riyasat)
Estate(s)Mubarak Mandi Palace
Amar Mahal Palace
Hari Niwas Palace
Sher Garhi Palace

The last ruling Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir was Hari Singh, who contributed troops to the British war effort in World War II and served on Churchill's Imperial War Cabinet.[7] Following the Partition of India in 1947, Hari Singh faced a rebellion in the western districts of the state and a Pakistan-supported tribal invasion, leading him to accede to the Union of India and receive military assistance. Pakistan contested the accession, giving rise to the enduring Kashmir conflict.

With India's support, the popular leader of Jammu and Kashmir, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, forced the Maharaja to abdicate in favour of his son, Yuvraj (Crown Prince) Karan Singh, who subsequently accepted the position of a constitutional head of state (Sadr-i-Riyasat) and voluntarily gave up the title of Maharaja.[8]



The term Dogra is thought to derive from Durgara, the name of a kingdom mentioned in an eleventh century copper-plate inscription in Chamba. In medieval times the term became Dugar, which later turned into Dogra. Kalhana's Rajatarangini makes no mention of a kingdom by this name, but it could have been referred to by its capital (either Vallapura, modern Balor, or Babbapura, modern Babor). In modern times, the term Dogra turned into an ethnic identity, claimed by all those people that speak the Dogri language.[9]

The family of Raja Gulab Singh is referred to as Jamwal (or Jamuwal). According to some accounts, Raja Kapur Dev, who ruled the area of Jammu around 1560 AD had two sons named Jag Dev and Samail Dev. The two sons ruled from the Bahu and Jammu on the opposite banks of the Tawi River and their descendants came to be called Bahuwals and Jamuwals respectively.[10] The members of the family however claim descent from a legendary Suryavanshi (solar) dynasty ruler Jambu Lochan, who is believed to have founded the city of Jammu in antiquity.[11][12]

History of Jamwal rulers


Raja Dhruv Dev laid down the foundations of the Jamwal rulers of Jammu in 1703.[citation needed]

His son Raja Ranjit Dev (1728–1780), introduced social reforms such as a ban on sati (immolation of the wife on the pyre of the husband) and female infanticide.

Raja Ranjit Dev was succeeded by Raja Braj Dev who killed his brother and nephew to become king.[citation needed] Raja Braj Dev was killed during the Sikh invasion of Jammu in 1787.[13].His infant son Raja Sampuran Singh (1787–1797) succeeded with Jammu becoming an autonomous tributary under the Sikh Confederacy Misls.[14] Sampuran Singh with no issue, was succeeded by his uncle Raja Jit Singh.

Jit Singh was involved in another conflict with the Sikh empire, which he lost and was exiled into British territory. With Jammu fully annexed by the Sikhs around 1808, Ranjit Singh first allotted it to his son Kharak Singh. However, Kharak Singh's agents were unable to maintain law and order, with locals led by Mian Dedo rebelling against the Sikh jagirdar (governor).[15][16] In 1820, Ranjit Singh then bestowed the territory as a hereditary fiefdom to Gulab Singh's father Kishore Singh,[17] a distant kinsman of Raja Jit Singh. On his father's death in 1822, Jammu passed to Gulab Singh.[18]

Rulers of Jammu Reign
Raja Dhruv Dev 1703 – 1728
Raja Ranjit Dev 1728 – 1780
Raja Braj Dev 1780 – 1787
Raja Sampuran Singh 1787 – 1797
Raja Jit Dev 1797 – 1808
Direct Sikh Rule 1808 – 1820
Raja Kishore Singh 1820 – 1822
Raja Gulab Singh 1822 – 1846

Gulab Singh

Maharaja Gulab Singh, the founder of princely state of Jammu and Kashmir

Around 1808, Jammu became part of the Sikh Empire, under Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Ranjit Singh in 1820, bestowed the place as a jagir on Gulab Singh's father Kishore Singh, who belonged to the Jamwal Rajput clan that ruled Jammu. As a jagirdar (governor) for the Sikhs, Gulab Singh extended the boundaries of the Sikh Empire to western Tibet with the help of his fine General Zorawar Singh. The Sikh rule was then extended beyond the Jammu Region and the Kashmir Valley to include the Tibetan Buddhist Kingdom of Ladakh and the Emirates of Hunza, Gilgit and Nagar.

In the turmoil for succession of the Sikh empire that followed Maharaja Ranjit Singh's death in 1839, two of Gulab Singh's sons Udham Singh, and Sohan Singh were killed in the feuding between the Sikh heirs. His youngest brother Suchet Singh, was killed by his own nephew Hira Singh, the Vizir (prime minister) of the Sikh empire. Hira Singh, was a great favourite of Maharaja Ranjit Singh[19] and Gulab Singh once even aspired to have him installed as the Sikh emperor.[20] Hira Singh had become prime minister aged 24, after his father and Gulab Singh's brother Vizir Dhian Singh was assassinated in his blotched September 1843 coup d'état against Sikh emperor Sher Singh in Lahore. During the regency of Maharani Jind Kaur, Hira Singh was killed by the Sikh army in December 1844.

Gulab Singh, came into possession of the Koh-i-noor diamond, after Maharaja Kharak Singh's mysterious death in prison in 1840, and had previously presented the famous stone to Maharaja Sher Singh to win his favour.[20]

After the First Anglo-Sikh War in 1846, Sir Henry Lawrence was appointed British Resident and Vizir Lal Singh on behalf of infant emperor Duleep Singh was asked to surrender Kashmir.[21] Vizir Lal Singh was also a Dogra, and along with Gulab Singh colluded with the British to deliberately break the Sikh army and facilitate the British victory.[22][23]

Under the terms of the Treaty of Amritsar that followed in March 1846, the British government sold Kashmir for a sum of 7.5 million Nanakshahee rupees to Gulab Singh, hereafter bestowed with the title of Maharaja. Thus the Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir came into being under Gulab Singh, as per the treaty of Lahore, signed between the British and the Sikhs.

Maharaja Partab Singh (enthroned in 1885) saw the construction of Banihal Cart Road (B.C. Road) mainly to facilitate telegraph services. During WWI he provided one Mountain Battery and three Infantry Battalions to fight for the British in East Africa, Palestine and Mesopotamia.[24] For the services of his troops the state was awarded a hereditary 21-guns salute.

One of the main residences of the maharajas was the Sher Garhi Palace in their summer capital Srinagar.

List of Maharajas of Jammu and Kashmir (1846–1952)

3rd ruler of the dynasty, Maharaja Pratap Singh

Family tree

  •   I. Gulab Singh, Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir (1792–1857; Maharaja: 1846 (abdicated 1856))
    •   II. Ranbir Singh, Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir GCSI, CIE (1830–1885; r. 1856–1885)
      •   III. Pratap Singh, Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir GCSI, GCIE, GBE (1848–1925; r. 1885–1925)
      • Raja Amar Singh KCSI (1864–1909)
        •   IV. Hari Singh, Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir GCSI, GCIE, GCVO (1895–1961; r. 1925–1947; titular Maharaja: 1952–1961)
          •  V. Karan Singh, President of Jammu and Kashmir (b. 1931; Regent of Jammu and Kashmir: 1949–1952; Sadar-e-Riyasat (President) of Jammu and Kashmir: 1952–1965; Governor of Jammu and Kashmir: 1965–1967;
            • Vikramaditya Singh (born 1964)
              • Martand Singh (b. 1992)
            • Ajatshatru Singh (born 1966)
              • Ranvijay Singh (born 1992)

[citation needed]

The last ruling maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir

Maharaja Hari Singh, the last monarch from the Royal House of Jammu and Kashmir.

The last ruler of Jammu and Kashmir was Maharaja Hari Singh, who ascended the throne in 1925. He made primary education compulsory in the State, introduced laws prohibiting child marriage and allowed low castes to go to places of worship.[citation needed] Hari Singh was as a member of Churchill's British War Cabinet in WWII, and supplied troops for the Allies.[7]

Singh's reign saw the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to the newly independent Indian Union in 1947. He originally manoeuvered to maintain his independence by playing India and Pakistan off against each other. There was an armed movement against the Maharaja's rule, especially in the Poonch district of Jammu, where his troops were unable to control the fighters and retreated to Jammu. In October 1947, Singh appealed to India for help and acceded Jammu to India, although there is considerable controversy over exactly at what point,[25] and whether or not his accession included the sovereignty of the state.[26][27]

In June 1952, Singh's rule was terminated by the state government of Indian-administered Kashmir.[28][29] His son Yuvraj (Crown Prince) Karan Singh too abdicated and was elected Sadr-e-Riyasat ('President of the Province') and Governor of the state in 1964.

Dogras in politics since 1952


Yuvraj (Crown Prince) Karan Singh after serving as the President of Jammu and Kashmir from 1952 to 1964 went on to become the youngest cabinet minister as a leading member of the Indian Congress Party in 1967. He was also the Indian ambassador to the US in 1989. His elder son Vikramaditya Singh was a member of the Peoples Democratic Party. Currently in Congress party,[30] Karan Singh's younger son Ajatshatru Singh was a member of the National Conference (NC) headed by Omar Abdullah, grandson of Sheikh Abdullah who had abolished the monarchy in 1952. Ajatshatru Singh had served with the NC as a minister in the Jammu and Kashmir Government from 1996 to 2002. In 2014 he quit the NC to join the BJP, stating that he had done so to satisfy the "people’s desire to have a corruption and dynasty-free government".[31]

Ankit Love, son of Bhim Singh the founder of the Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party, claimed to be the "Emperor (Maharaja) of the Sovereign State of Jammu and Kashmir"[32] when he was a candidate in the 2016 London Mayoral Election,[33][34] and again in the 2016 Richmond Park by-election for the United Kingdom parliament.[35]

See also



  1. ^ Jammu and Kashmir was the largest among the princely states by land area and third largest by the amount of annual revenue.[3][4]


  1. ^ "Dogra dynasty | India |". Retrieved 20 August 2015.
  2. ^ Shome, Ayan (1 November 2014), Dialogue & Daggers: Notion of Authority and Legitimacy in the Early Delhi Sultanate (1192 C.E. – 1316 C.E.), Vij Books India Pvt Ltd, pp. 184–, ISBN 978-93-84318-46-8
  3. ^ Ernst, Waltraud; Pati, Biswamoy (2007). India's Princely States: People, Princes and Colonialism. Routledge. p. 68. ISBN 9781134119882.
  4. ^ Kaminsky, Arnold P.; Ph.D, Roger D. Long (2011). India Today: An Encyclopedia of Life in the Republic [2 volumes]. ABC-CLIO. p. 378. ISBN 9780313374630.
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  6. ^ Rai, Mridu (2004). Hindu Rulers, Muslim Subjects: Islam, Rights, and the History of Kashmir. Princeton University Press. pp. 27, 133. ISBN 0-691-11688-1.
  7. ^ a b Schofield, Kashmir in Conflict 2003, p. 22.
  8. ^ Lyon, Peter (2008), Conflict Between India and Pakistan: An Encyclopedia, ABC-CLIO, pp. 150–151, ISBN 978-1-57607-712-2
  9. ^ Hāṇḍā, Omacanda (1998), Textiles, Costumes, and Ornaments of the Western Himalaya, Indus Publishing, pp. 178–179, ISBN 978-81-7387-076-7
  10. ^ Charak, Sukh Dev Singh (1971), Maharaja Ranjitdev and the Rise and Fall of Jammu Kingdom, from 1700 A.D. to 1820 A.D., Dogra-Pahari Itihas Kendra, p. 141
  11. ^ Sufi, G. M. D. (1949), Kashīr, being a history of Kashmīr from the earliest times to our own, Univ. of Panjab, p. 35
  12. ^ Singh, Jasbir (2004). The economy of Jammu & Kashmir. Radha Krishan Anand & Co. ISBN 9788188256099.
  13. ^ Sukhdev Singh Charak (1978). Indian Conquest of the Himalayan Territories. p. 37.
  14. ^ Charak, Sukh Dev Singh; Billawaria, Anita K. (1998). Pahāṛi Styles of Indian Murals. Abhinav Publications. p. 29. ISBN 9788170173564.
  15. ^ Chhabra, G. S. (1 January 2005). Advance Study in the History of Modern India (Volume-2: 1803-1920). Lotus Press. p. 184. ISBN 9788189093075.
  16. ^ Grewal, J. S. (8 October 1998). The Sikhs of the Punjab. Cambridge University Press. p. 106. ISBN 9780521637640. jit singh jammu.
  17. ^ Seth, Mira (1987). Dogra wall paintings in Jammu and Kashmir. Oxford University Press. p. 3. ISBN 9781956154924.
  18. ^ Choudhry, Dr Shabir (28 November 2016). Kashmir Dispute Terrorism and Pakistan. AuthorHouse. ISBN 9781524664213.
  19. ^ Snedden, Christopher (15 September 2015). Understanding Kashmir and Kashmiris. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9781849046220.
  20. ^ a b Amini, Iradj (1 June 2013). The Koh-i-noor Diamond. Roli Books Private Limited. ISBN 9789351940357.
  21. ^ Raja Lal Singh Archived 14 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ Jawandha, Major Nahar Singh (2010). Glimpses of Sikhism. Sanbun Publishers. pp. 63, 64. ISBN 9789380213255.
  23. ^ "Sikh Wars & Annexation of the Panjab". Victoria and Albert Museum. Retrieved 15 January 2017.
  24. ^ Khajuria, Manu. "Why we must not forget J&K state forces who fought World War I". Daily O. Retrieved 15 January 2017.
  25. ^ "Kashmir: The origins of the dispute". BBC. 16 January 2002. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  26. ^ Ganai, Naseer (5 December 2016). "Maharaja Wanted Kashmir To Be An Independent Country, Says Farooq". Outlook India. Retrieved 15 January 2017.
  27. ^ Anand, Utkarsh (17 December 2016). "Supreme Court rejects HC ruling: No sovereignty for J-K outside Constitution of India". The Indian Express. Retrieved 15 January 2017.
  28. ^ "J&K terminates hereditary monarchy - This Day in India". Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  29. ^ "dated June 14, 1952: Rulership of Kashmir". The Hindu. 14 June 2002. Retrieved 18 October 2015.[dead link]
  30. ^ "Karan Singh's elder son to join Mufti's PDP - The Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  31. ^ "After Ajatshatru's switch, family has a member each in BJP, Cong, PDP". The Indian Express. 13 November 2014. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  32. ^ Bose, Adrija (2 May 2016). "Meet Ankit Love, The 32-Year-Old 'Maharaja Of Jammu & Kashmir' Running For London Mayor". HuffPost. Retrieved 21 April 2021.
  33. ^ "London mayoral polls: 'Maharaja' with message of peace". The Indian Express. 2 May 2016. Retrieved 21 April 2021.
  34. ^ "Is this the most regal election ever? Exiled emperor Ankit Love is running in the London mayoral elections, and wants to ban cars from the capital". CityAM. 11 April 2016. Retrieved 21 April 2021.
  35. ^ "A Dogra bids to make it in UK politics – again". Hindustan Times. 1 November 2016. Retrieved 21 April 2021.