Hari Singh: A Hero or a Mass Murderer | Aquib Wani

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Hari Singh

The biggest blunder committed by J&K government at the beginning of 2017 was glorifying the acts of Hari Singh- the dictator of subcontinent by declaring holiday on his birthday. 

It was September 1925 when Hari Singh succeeded Pratab Singh as Maharaja of J&K. His policies were largely and exclusively communal and cruel in nature influenced by personal convictions, which a ruler is not expected to frame. 

His life was full of limitless luxury wherein he spent huge amounts on wine, women,tiger hunting and Rolls Royce. He used to stay in Europe’s most expensive and lavish hotels for months at the tax payers money. He was indeed a self styled dictator who had unleashed a reign of terror among his subjects, particularly Muslims.

Although historians tried their best to hide the atrocities committed by Hari Singh but truth eventually triumphs. Some of his anti-Muslim policies  can be summarised in the following points:  

1.There was no educational institutions for Muslims in J&K despite the fact that J&K was a Muslim majority state.

2. The taxes imposed were unbearable and were enough to break the back of a poor majority. Heavy taxes imposed hence, forced many people to leave the state.

3. In Dogra Army, no Muslim was inducted as officer of top rank. 

4. There was nothing like freedom of speech and expression during his reign. No newspaper was allowed to be published.

5. No Muslim organization existed during the time of Hari Singh. Although, Muslim League was formed but it was in late 40's.

6. It was in fact a Muslim majority Hindu State where he never let Muslims to excel in politics and governance.

7. The incidence of 13 July, 1931 where 21 Muslims were killed by Dogra forces when they were peacefully protesting against the detention of Abdul Qader Khan at  Srinagar bears the testimony that how brutal his times were. Also, Jamia Masjid Srinagar was locked for many days and no prayers were allowed there.

8. It was the year 1947 when India and Pakistan were formed. The incidents in India-Pakistan overtook the incidents in J&K. It was the year of bloodshed. 

9. The massacre of Jammu Muslims is one of the least known genocides in modern history which happened under Dogra rule. It was carried out with such a precision that it is difficult to find its traces, except in the memories of the survivors. The tales of horror were hence passed on to the next generations. Around 500,000 Muslims were killed with remarked military precision. It was such an operation that the language lacks words to express this offence of carnage of human beings. 

It was none other than Hari Singh who engineered this massacre to change the demography of Jammu province as a result of which Jammu has become a Muslim minority province now. It was an organised carnage orchestrated to kill Muslims, wherever found or spotted in Jammu. 

Such was the intensity of carnage that in Jammu province about 123 villages were ‘completely depopulated’. Kathua district ‘lost’ almost fifty per cent of its Muslim population. Thousands of Gujars were massacred in mohalla Ramnagar. Village Raipur, within Jammu cantonment area was completely burnt down. The Dogra State troops were at the forefront of attacks on Muslims. 

The State authorities were also issuing arms not only to local volunteer organizations such as the RSS, but also to those in surrounding East Punjab districts such as Gurdaspur. 

On 6 November surviving Muslims were told to assemble in an open ground, to be sent to Pakistan, herded in trucks like cattle only to be killed mercilessly with machine gun fires between the Digiana and Samba belt. Women were abducted and raped. Even the daughter of the legendary Chaudhary Ghulam Abbas was not spared. 

The other aspect of the carnage was appropriation of properties of Muslims. The Muslim names were immediately erased to conform to new ownership. For instance Urdu Bazar became Rajinder Bazar and Islamia School became Hari Singh High School to conform to the new “ownership”. 

Almost 95 percent of left-over properties, which should have in the normal course been taken over by the State government were allowed to be appropriated by looters and rioters. Humanity was no more visible and Muslims were crushed like Tomatoes and Carrots.
It is no wonder, that when Gandhi was killed by an RSS supported Hindu fanatic, sweets were distributed throughout Jammu in special 'thalis' supplied from the Maharaja’s Palace. 

It shows how much hatred Maharaja cultivated for Muslims. He actually wanted to stay independent but owing to the popularity of Sheikh Abdullah, he signed the instrument of accession with India. It is indeed a matter of shame that a mass murder is celebrated as a hero. As they say "until the Lion learns how to write, every story will glorify the hunter". 

About the author: Aquib Wani is a student activist pursuing his graduation from Govt. Post Graduate College, Rajouri.

Disclaimer: Author's views are strictly personal and do not in any way represent the views of Pir Panjal Post

Pir Panjal Post is a blogging outlet which aims at educating people and creating awareness on the issues concerning human society like Education, Politics, Economics, Science, art and literature. The main focus of this blog is on encouraging the budding writers, poets, painters, calligraphers, photographers etc. Besides, it intends to serve the vernacular languages.

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