Blaming Maharaja for something he didn’t do!

All the discussions in Jammu and Kashmir, and beyond, about “State Subjects’’ are centred around disadvantages one suffers if one is not a “State Subject’’. Conversely, the advantages one has if one is a “State Subject’’ of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

In fact, the term “State Subject’’ is not much in vogue at one level, nowadays, and those born in the state to “Permanent Residents’’ possess a certificate that “Non-Permanent Residents’’ do not. For reaching any worthwhile point of discussion, on the issue, let us reproduce the original order issued by Maharaja Hari Singh, on “State Subject/s’’.

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State Subject Definition

Notification dated 20th April, 1927 No. 1-L/84.—The following definition of the term “State subject” has been sanctioned by His Highness the Maharaja Bahadur (vide Private Secretary’s Letter No. 2354 dated 31st January, 1927 to the Revenue Member of the Council) and is hereby promulgated for general information.

The term “State subject” means and includes—

Class I.—All persons born and residing within the State before the commencement of the reign of His Highness the late Maharaja Gulab Singh Sahib Bahadur, and also person who settled therein before the commencement of samvat year 1942 and have since been permanently residing therein.

Class II.—All persons other than those belonging to Class I who settled within the State before the close of samvat year 1968 and have since permanently resided and acquired immovable property therein.

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Class III.—All persons other than those belonging to Class I and Class II permanently residing within the State, who have acquired under “rayatnama” any immovable property therein or who may hereafter acquire such property under an “ijazatnama” and may execute “rayatnama” after ten years’ continuous residence therein.

Class IV.—Companies which have been registered as such within the State and which being companies in which the Government are financially interested or as to economic benefit to the State or to the financial stability of which the Government are satisfied, have by a special order of His Highness been declared to be State subjects.

Note I.—In matters of grant of State scholarship, State lands, for agricultural and house building purposes and recruitment to State service, State subject of Class I should receive preference over other classes and those of Class II, over Class III, subject however, to the order dated 31st January, 1927 of His Highness the Maharaja Bahadur regarding employment of hereditary State subjects in government service.

Note II.—The descendants of the persons who have secured the status of any class of the State subject will be entitled to become the State subjects of the same class. For example, if A is declared a State subject of Class II, his sons and grandsons will ipso facto acquire the status of the same Class II and not of Class I.

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Note III.—The wife or a widow of the State subject of any class shall acquire the status of the husband as State subject of the same class as her Husband, so long as she resides in the State and does not leave the State for permanent residence outside the State.

Note IV.—For the purpose of the interpretation of the term “State subject” either with reference to any law for the time being in force or otherwise, the definition given in this notification as amended up to date shall be read as if such amended definition existed in this notification as originally issued.

All through, throughout the text, the word used is person/s, not he or she. Why? Did the Maharaja discriminate between a female, or a male? Is it clear, or insinuated, from a cursory reading of the entire definition? No.

Despite this, it is said that the Maharaja sought to discriminate between females and males. He wanted females to suffer on account of their gender. How very untrue! How false a narrative has been built, and sustains to this day.

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The Maharaja has been accused of doing something he never did: Discriminating on the basis of gender! It is about time the whole false narration is challenged, and is replaced with a correct narrative.

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