After 75 years, Jammu and Kashmir witnessed grand celebrations on Friday to mark the 127th birth anniversary of the last Dogra ruler– Maharaja Hari Singh on September 23.
The J&K government had recently declared the birth anniversary a public holiday.
Yuva Rajput Sabha (YRS) took out rallies, distributed sweets and organized cake-cutting ceremonies at various places to mark the occasion.
Led by YRS president Rajan Singh Happy, exuberant youth danced to drum beats and garlanded the life-size statue of the Dogra king on the main Tawi Bridge.
The traffic had to be diverted to the other bridge as the main tube remained packed with people.
Attired in traditional Dogra turban, the elated youth shouted slogans like “Maharaja Hari Singh Ji Amar Rahe” (Long live Maharaja) and “Jai Duggar Jai Dogra”.
YRS had also prepared a 127.5 kg ‘Ladoo’ to celebrate the birthday of the last monarch of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The J&K BJP president Ravinder Raina also joined the celebrations and danced with the youth.
“This is Maharaja’s 127th birth anniversary and the entire J&K has participated in the celebrations,” he said.
Union home minister Amit Shah also paid tributes to Maharaja Hari Singh on his birth anniversary.
“I bow to the symbol of nationalism Maharaja Hari Singh ji on his birth anniversary. PM Modi has paid a true tribute to him by declaring his birth anniversary as a state holiday to commemorate his efforts to make Jammu and Kashmir an integral part of India and to keep the country’s integrity intact,” Shah wrote on his Twitter handle in Hindi.
Maharaja Hari Singh was born to Maharaja Amar Singh on September 23, 1895, and died of cardiac arrest on April 26, 1961, in Mumbai at the age of 65.
On September 15, Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha announced the public holiday on September 23 following his meeting with a delegation comprising prominent political leaders, members of the YRS, and civil society members, including the head of the Jammu and Kashmir transport union, at the Raj Bhavan in Jammu.
Azad pays tributes
Former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad also paid tributes to the late Maharaja Hari Singh on his birth anniversary amid a maiden holiday announced by the J&K administration on the occasion.
“Remembering the true visionary, patriot and the last Dogra ruler of J&K, Maharaja Hari Singhji on his birth anniversary today,” Azad said in a statement.
Azad, who recently quit Congress, recalled the “sea of changes in J&K brought in by Maharaja Hari Singh”.
“His well-organised public administration system, people-friendly policies, promotion of free and compulsory education for all, developmental and infrastructural works etc. were milestones in J&K’s development, ” he said.
“His religion was ‘justice to all’.
Congress also joins
J&K Congress also celebrated the birth anniversary at Hari Singh park, apart from joining the mega celebrations at Maharaja Hari Singh ji statue on Tawi bridge Jammu.
A large number of Congress workers led by working president Raman Bhalla attended the function and shared sweets and exchanged greetings with the people.
Bhalla said after the BJP failed to honour its commitment for eight long years, especially after the imposition of the Governor’s rule, the youth of Jammu led by YRS and supported by all social, political and trade bodies launched a decisive struggle.
“The administration did everything to crush the movement initially, including the imposition of 144 section on all the four Tawi bridges, and realised the public sentiment,” he added.
However, it may be stated here that Congress, which ruled J&K in coalition with regional parties for fairly a long time, never made any serious effort to honour the sentiment of the people of Jammu.