AKHNOOR: The 198th Foundation Day of J&K which is also known as Coronation Day of Maharaja Gulab Singh, the founder ruler of Jammu & Kashmir State, was celebrated at Jio Pota Ghat, Akhnoor, the place where Gulab Singh, the Dogra General in Sikh Army, was crowned as ruler of Jammu by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the emperor of Punjab.
The annual event of great Dogra history, was celebrated by organizing a grand public function with a great nationalistic fervour by ‘Raj Tilak Celebration Committee’ headed by KP Singh, a social worker, along with his team.
Ch Lal Singh (Ex-MP), Chairman Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan (DSS), was the chief guest on the occasion whereas, Kanta Andotra former Legislator Basohli was the guest of honour and Maj Gen GS Jamwal, Kamal Saini, former IGP, Brig JS Rajput, Secretary Maharaja Gulab Singh Trust; Hony Lt. Sanatan Singh from Rajouri and Capt Chunni Lal from Sunderbani were the special invitees to the function.
Welcoming the invitees, KP Sigh, Chairman stated that Dogra history began at Jio Pota and before that there was Akhnoor history which continues to bind us together and teaches us brotherhood. ” We as Dogras have to remain united to maintain our identity for which purpose, he said, this function was conceived and started in 2003,” he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Ch Lal Singh said that contribution of Maharaja for the welfare of his subjects and their integration as a single political entity would be recognized and remembered by generations to come. He described him as a visionary, brave and enterprising ruler while paying him tributes. Lal Singh said that Maharaja Gulab Singh is best known for extending boundaries of India outwards far & wide while rest of the great rulers / warriors of India fought within India and just about altered the boundaries whereas Maharaja Gulab Singh extended the Indian boundaries deep into areas ruled by Afghans, Tibetans and Chinese. He appreciated the role of JAK Rifles Regiment comprised of Dogras of Jammu, HP & Punjab, from all castes and religions which was raised and ably led by Gen Zorawar Singh.
While honouring Ravinder Jamwal, Sculptor, Ch Lal Singh informed the gathering that Ravi Jamwal was making a statue of Maharaja Gulab Singh which shall soon be installed at Lakhanpur, the entry point of the State. He told that when he asked Ravi Jamwal to make Maharaja’s statue, he wept stating that he has made so many statues but none ever asked him till date to make the statue of Founder of the State. He was happy to have got this opportunity. It will be one of the biggest, tallest and unique statue in North India and once installed, it will tell the history of J&K to the visitors of J&K.
Maj Gen G S Jamwal described Maharaja Gulab Singh as a visionary and expressed how he planned, prepared, managed and created a vast Dogra State in the area which was then ruled by Afghans and other outsiders. Gen Jamwal stated that Maharaja Gulab Singh took personal interest in the management of the affairs of the State and restored order in his domain, reduced refractory chiefs and through remarkable campaigns led by Gen Zorawar Singh, conquered Kishtwar, Ladakh, Gilgit-Baltistan, Chitral, Hunza (where the Karakoram Highway passes) and vast areas of Western Tibet up to Taklakot.
Those who were honoured on the occasion included Hony Lt Sanatan Singh, 94 year-old war veteran of 1947, Gaurav Gupta, Marathon Man of Jammu, Master Nasib Singh Chib, Shanti Shah of Nowshera, two students Sunena Sharma, 12th topper and Mohit Sharma, 10th topper of Akhhnoor tehsil.