Gulab Singh

Last updated

Gulab Singh
Maharaja Gulab Singh of Jammu and Kashmir.jpg
Raja of Jammu
Reign16 June 1822—16 March 1846 [1]
PredecessorKishore Singh
Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir
Reign16 March 1846—30 June 1857
Successor Ranbir Singh
Wazir of the Sikh Empire
In office31 January 1846 – 9 March 1846
Predecessor Lal Singh
Born(1792-10-17)17 October 1792
Died30 June 1857(1857-06-30) (aged 64)
WivesNihāl Kaur Jamwal
Issue Ranbir Singh Jamwal
Full name
Gulab Singh Jamwal
House Jamwal Dogra dynasty
FatherKishore Singh Jamwal

Maharaja Gulab Singh Jamwal (1792–1857) was the founder of royal Dogra dynasty and first Maharaja of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, the second largest princely state in British India, which was created after the defeat of the Sikh Empire in the First Anglo-Sikh War. During First Anglo-Sikh War, Gulab Singh helped the British against the Sikhs. [2] The Treaty of Amritsar (1846) formalised the sale by the British to Gulab Singh for 7,500,000 Nanakshahee Rupees of all the lands in Kashmir that were ceded to them by the Sikhs by the Treaty of Lahore. [3]


Early life

The Hill Fort of Maharaja Gulab Singh, 1846 drawing. The Hill fort of Maharaja Gulab Singh, 1846 drawing.jpg
The Hill Fort of Maharaja Gulab Singh, 1846 drawing.

Gulab Singh was born on 17 October 1792 in a Dogra Rajput family. His father was Mian Kishore Singh Jamwal. He joined the army of Ranjit Singh in 1809 and was sufficiently successful to be granted a jagir worth 12,000 rupees and also 90 horses. [1]

In 1808, following another conflict, Battle of Jammu (1808) was annexed by Ranjit Singh. Raja Jit Singh, who was expelled, found refuge in British India, and later received in appanage the estate of Akhrota, Pathankot. Ranjit Singh appointed a governor to administer the newly conquered area which was expanded in 1819 with the annexation of Kashmir by a Sikh force. In 1820, in appreciation of services rendered by the family, and by Gulab Singh in particular, Ranjit Singh bestowed the Jammu region as a hereditary fief upon Kishore Singh. [1] Apart from their sterling services, the family's intimate association with the region commended Kishore Singh's candidature to the Lahore court.[ citation needed ]

In 1821, Gulab Singh captured conquered Rajouri from Aghar Khan and Kishtwar from Raja Tegh Mohammad Singh (alias Saifullah Khan).[ citation needed ] That same year, Gulab Singh took part in the Sikh conquest of Dera Ghazi Khan. He also captured and executed his own clansman, Mian Dido Jamwal, who had been leading a rebellion against the Sikhs.[ citation needed ]

A statue of Gulab Singh at Amar Mahal Palace, India. Gulab Singh of Jammu and Kashmir.jpg
A statue of Gulab Singh at Amar Mahal Palace, India.

Raja of Jammu

The palace of Maharaja Gulab Singh, on the banks of Tawi River, Jammu, mid 19th century. The palace of Maharaja Gulab Singh, on the banks of Chenab, Jammu, mid 19th century.jpg
The palace of Maharaja Gulab Singh, on the banks of Tawi River, Jammu, mid 19th century.

Kishore Singh died in 1822 and Gulab Singh was confirmed as Raja of Jammu by his suzerain, Ranjit Singh. [1] Shortly afterward, Gulab Singh secured a formal declaration of renunciation from his kinsman, the deposed Raja Jit Singh.[ citation needed ]

As Raja (Governor-General/Chief) of Jammu, Gulab Singh was one of the most powerful chiefs of the Sikh Empire. Under the Imperial and Feudal Army arrangement, he was entitled to keep a personal army of 3 Infantry Regiments, 15 Light Artillery Guns and 40 Garrison Guns. [4]

In 1824 Gulab Singh captured the fort of Samartah, near the holy Mansar Lake. In 1827 he accompanied the Sikh Commander-in-Chief Hari Singh Nalwa, who fought and defeated a horde of Afghan rebels led by Sayyid Ahmed at the Battle of Shaidu. Between 1831-39 Ranjit Singh bestowed on Gulab Singh the jagir of the salt mines in northern Punjab, [1] and the nearby Punjabi towns like Bhera, Jhelum, Rohtas, and Gujrat.[ citation needed ]

In 1837, after the death of Hari Singh Nalwa in the Battle of Jamrud, the Muslim tribes of Tanolis, Karrals, Dhunds, Satis and Sudhans rose in revolt in Hazara and Poonch. The insurgency was led by Shams Khan, a Chief of the Sudhan tribe [5] [6] and former confidential follower of Raja Dhyan Singh [6] . Thus the betrayal of Shams Khan Sudhan against the regime was taken personally and Gulab Singh was given the task of crushing the rebellion. After defeating the insurgents in Hazara and Murree hills, Gulab Singh stayed at Kahuta for some time and promoted disunion among the insurgents. Then his forces were sent to crush the insurgents. Eventually, Shams Khan Sudhan and his nephew were betrayed and their heads were cut off during their sleep while the other tribesmen lieutenants were captured, flayed alive and put to death with cruelty. The contemporary British commentators state that the local population suffered immensely. [7]

Intrigue at Lahore

On the death of Ranjit Singh in 1839, Lahore became a center of conspiracies and intrigue in which the three Jammu brothers were involved. They succeeded in placing the administration in the hands of Prince Nau Nihal Singh with Raja Dhian Singh as prime minister. However, in 1840, during the funeral procession of his father Maharaja Kharak Singh, Nau Nihal Singh together with Udham Singh, son of Gulab Singh, died when an old brick gate collapsed on them.[ citation needed ]

In January 1841 Sher Singh, son of Ranjit Singh tried to seize the throne of Lahore but was repulsed by the Jammu brothers. The defense of the fort was in the hands of Gulab Singh.[ citation needed ]

After peace was made between the two sides, Gulab Singh and his men were allowed to leave with their weapons. On this occasion, he is said to have taken away a large amount of the Lahore treasure to Jammu.

Recognition as Maharaja

Maharaja Gulab Singh rides a well decorated white stallion across a green field. Circa 1840-45. Gulabsingh1840.jpg
Maharaja Gulab Singh rides a well decorated white stallion across a green field. Circa 1840-45.
Memorial Shrines for Gulab Singh and Ranbir Singh, Jammu, India, ca.1875-ca.1940 Memorial Shrines for Gulab Singh and Ranbir Singh, Jammu, India, ca.1875-ca.1940 (imp-cswc-GB-237-CSWC47-LS10-008).jpg
Memorial Shrines for Gulab Singh and Ranbir Singh, Jammu, India, ca.1875-ca.1940

Meanwhile, in the continuing intrigues at Lahore, the Sandhawalia Sardars (related to Ranjit Singh) murdered Raja Dhian Singh and the Sikh Maharaja Sher Singh in 1842. [8] Subsequently, Gulab Singh’s youngest brother, Suchet Singh, and nephew, Hira Singh, were also murdered. As the administration collapsed the Khalsa soldiery clamored for the arrears of their pay. In 1844 the Lahore court commanded an invasion of Jammu to extract money from Gulab Singh, reputed to be the richest Raja north of the Sutlej River as he had taken most of the Lahore treasury.

However, the Gulab Singh agreed to negotiate on his behalf with the Lahore court. These negotiations imposed an indemnity of 27 lakh Nanakshahee Rupees on the Raja.

During First Anglo-Sikh War, Maharaja Gulab Singh Jamwal (Dogra) helped the British Empire against the Sikhs. [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] After the defeat of the Sikh Empire The Treaty of Lahore (9 March 1846) and the Treaty of Amritsar (1846) (16 March 1846) were signed. As part of The Treaty of Lahore, signed between the 7 year old Maharaja Duleep Singh (Sikh) (4 September 1838 – 22 October 1893) and the British Empire on (9 March 1846), Jammu was taken over by the British Empire on paper. [21] [11] [9] [10] [11] [22] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] . Article 12 of the Treaty of Lahore stated: "In consideration of the services rendered by Rajah Golab Sing of Jummoo, to the Lahore State, towards procuring the restoration of the relations of amity between the Lahore and British Governments, the Maharajah hereby agrees to recognize the Independent sovereignty of Rajah Golab Sing in such territories and districts in the hills as may be made over to the said Rajah Golab Sing, by separate Agreement between himself and the British Government, with the dependencies thereof, which may have been in the Rajah's possession since the time of the late Maharajah Khurruck Sing, and the British Government, in consideration of the good conduct of Rajah Golab Sing, also agrees to recognize his independence in such territories, and to admit him to the privileges of a separate Treaty with the British Government."

Then as part of the The Treaty of Amritsar (1846) Maharaja Gulab Singh Jamwal agreed to serve the British Empire under Article 6: "Maharajah Gulab Singh engages for himself and heirs to join, with the whole of his Military Forces, the British troops when employed within the hills or in the territories adjoining his possessions." and in exchange under Article 9 "The British Government will give its aid to Maharajah Gulab Singh in protecting his territories from external enemies." [21] [11] [9] [10] [11] [22] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] After which the Dogras served the Britsh Empire in the Indian Rebellion and in the various wars [21] [11] [9] [10] [11] [22] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] . Hence a large percentage of the Kashmiris fought in the First World War and in the Second World Wars, as part of the Jammu and Kashmir State Forces and directly with the Royal Navy, The British Army, the merchant navy and Gilgit Scouts as mentioned by Major William A. Brown in his book THE GILGIT REBELLION 1947. Hence 1.1 million Kasmiris now live in the UK. The high taxes to support these wars were resented by all the Kashmiris including the Hindus, Muslims and the Sikhs [21] [11] [9] [10] [11] [22] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] . And combined with the tens of thousands of trained men, comming back from the Second World War generated a highly volatile situation in 1947. [11]

Lacking the resources to occupy such a large region immediately after annexing portions of Punjab, the British got Gulab Singh pay 75 thousand Nanakshahee Rupees for the war-indemnity. The angry courtiers of Lahore (particularly the baptized Sikh, Lal Singh) then incited the governor of Kashmir to rebel against Gulab Singh, but this rebellion was defeated, thanks in great part to the action of Herbert Edwardes, Assistant Resident at Lahore. The Kashmiris also rebelled throughout Jammu and Kashmir [11] .

To pay for this, from the very start the Kashmiris were heavily taxed and complained of being sold into slavery and extensive liturature was written by the British writers regarding these treaties [21] [11] [9] [10] [11] [22] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] The Slavery Abolition Act 1833 (3 & 4 Will. IV c. 73) abolished slavery throughout the British Empire. The Slavery Abolition Act 1833 (3 & 4 Will. IV c. 73) came into force before the Treaty of Amritsar (1846) was signed (16 March 1846). As far back as 1868 in the book Cashmere Misgovernment, Robert Thorp stated that the people of Kashmir were sold into slavery to Gulab Singh [23] . Arthur Brinkman in his paper "The Wrongs of Cashmere" written in December 1867, also states he: "informs the reader of the wretched condition of a people we sold against their inclination, and their united cry to us." Arthur Brinkman was an Anglican Missionry and the Anglican Missionary Groups had worked with the Anti Slavery Society to push for The Slavery Abolition Act 1833 a few years earlier [24]

The area west of the River Indus was not in the The Treaty of Lahore (9 March 1846) and the Treaty of Amritsar (16 March 1846). The Gilgit Agency was independent at the time. In the book THE GILGIT REBELLION 1947 By William A. Brown writes extensively about this area. [21] [11]

In the second Sikh War of 1849, he allowed his Sikh soldiers to desert and go to fight alongside their brethren in Punjab. The treaties of Chushul and Amritsar had defined the borders of the Kingdom of Jammu in the east, south, and west but the northern border was still undefined. In 1850 the fort of Chilas in the Dard country was conquered.

Maharaja Gulab Singh died on 30 June 1857 and was succeeded by his son, Ranbir Singh.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 K. Jagjit Singh. "GULAB SINGH (1792-1857)". Encyclopaedia of Sikhism. Punjabi University Patiala. Retrieved 6 January 2017.
  2. Fenech, E. Louis; Mcleod, H. W. (11 June 2014). Historical Dictionary of Sikhism. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 130. ISBN   978-1-4422-3601-1.
  3. Panikkar, Gulab Singh (1930 , p. 112)
  4. The History of Sikhs, J D Cunningham, Appendix
  5. Sir Alexander Cunningham, Four Reports Made During The Years 1862-63-64-65, (The Government Central Press, 1871), Volume I, Page 13.
  6. 1 2 Sir Lepel H. Griffin, The Panjab Chiefs., (T. C. McCarthy, Chronicle Press, 1865), Page 594.
  7. Hastings Donnan, Marriage Among Muslims: Preference and Choice in Northern Pakistan, (Brill, 1997), 41.
  8. J. S. Grewal (1998). The Sikhs of the Punjab. Cambridge University Press.
  9. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Fenech, E. Louis; Mcleod, H. W. (11 June 2014). Historical Dictionary of Sikhism. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 130. ISBN   978-1-4422-3601-1.
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 6 G. S. Chhabra (7 February 2011). Advance Study in the History of Modern India (Volume-2: 1803-1920). p. 188.
  11. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 William A. Brown. THE GILGIT REBELLION 1947.
  12. Pranay Gupte (15 February 2012). Mother India: A Political Biography of Indira Gandhi. p. 266. ISBN   9780143068266.
  13. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Stanley Wolpert. India and Pakistan: Continued Conflict Or Cooperation?. p. 21.
  14. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Christopher Snedden. Understanding Kashmir and Kashmiris. p. 67.
  15. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Bawa, Satinder Singh (1974). The Jammu Fox: A Biography of Maharaja Gulab Singh of Kashmir, 1792-1857. Southern Illinois University Press. p. 263.
  16. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Mridu Rai. Hindu Rulers, Muslim Subjects: Islam, Rights, and the History of Kashmir. p. 20.
  17. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Raja Afsar Khan, 2006 - Islam. The Concept, Volume 26, Issues 1-6. p. 42.
  18. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Vijay Kumar. Anglo-American Plot Against Kashmir. People's Publishing House, 1954 - Jammu and Kashmir. p. 10.
  19. 1 2 3 4 5 6 G. M. D. Sufi. Kashir, Being a History of Kashmir from the Earliest Times to Our Own, Volume 2. Light & Life Publishers, 1974 - Jammu and Kashmir.
  20. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Satinder Singh Bawa. Gulab Singh of Jammu, Ladakh, and Kashmir, 1792-1846 University of Wisconsin--Madison, 1966. p. 218.
  21. 1 2 3 4 5 6 William A. Brown. THE GILGIT REBELLION 1947.
  22. 1 2 3 4 5 Pranay Gupte (15 February 2012). Mother India: A Political Biography of Indira Gandhi. p. 266. ISBN   9780143068266.
  23. Robert Thorp (1868). Cashmere Misgovernment. pp. 2–.
  24. W. Mulligan, M. Bric. A Global History of Anti-Slavery Politics in the Nineteenth Century. pp. 152–.


Further reading

Gulab Singh
Born: 18 October 1792 Died: 30 June 1857
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Jit Singh
(as Raja of Jammu (tributary to the Sikh Empire))
Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir
Succeeded by
Ranbir Singh

Related Research Articles

The Instrument of Accession is a legal document executed by Maharaja Hari Singh, ruler of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, on 26 October 1947. By executing this document under the provisions of the Indian Independence Act 1947, Maharaja Hari Singh agreed to accede to the Dominion of India.

History of Kashmir

The history of Kashmir is intertwined with the history of the broader Indian subcontinent and the surrounding regions, comprising the areas of Central Asia, South Asia and East Asia. Historically, Kashmir referred to the Kashmir Valley. Today, it denotes a larger area that includes the Indian-administered union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, the Pakistan-administered territories of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit–Baltistan, and the Chinese-administered regions of Aksai Chin and the Trans-Karakoram Tract.

Gilgit City in Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan

Gilgit is the capital city of Gilgit-Baltistan, a territory in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. The city is located in a broad valley near the confluence of the Gilgit River and Hunza River. Gilgit is a major tourist destination in Pakistan, and serves as a hub for trekking and mountaineering expeditions in the Karakoram Range.

The Treaty of Amritsar, executed by the British East India Company and Raja Gulab Singh of Jammu after the First Anglo-Sikh War, established the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir under the suzerainty of the British Indian Empire.

First Anglo-Sikh War conflict

The First Anglo-Sikh War was fought between the Sikh Empire and the East India Company in 1845 and 1846. It resulted in partial subjugation of the Sikh kingdom and cession of Jammu and Kashmir as a separate princely state under British suzerainty.

Gilgit Agency agency of the British Raj

The Gilgit Agency was a system of administration established by the British Indian Empire over the subsidiary states of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir at its northern periphery, mainly with the objective of strengthening these territories against Russian encroachment.

Mirpur, Pakistan Place in Pakistan

Mirpur, more commonly known as New Mirpur City, is the capital of Mirpur district and the largest city of Azad Kashmir. The city itself has gone through a process of modernization, but most of the surrounding area remains agricultural. Mirpur is known for its grand buildings and large bungalows, primarily funded through its expatriate community, which comes mainly from Europe, Hong Kong, the Middle East, and North America. The main crop cultivated during summer is millet and pulses. However, other crops such as wheat, maize and vegetables are also grown. The produce of quality rice from the paddy fields of Khari Sharif, between Upper Jhelum Canal and Jhelum river, is very famous and popular for its aroma and taste. The production of electricity from Mangla Dam provides the energy needs for Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Northern Punjab.

Dogra Indo-Aryan ethnic group in South Asia

The Dogras or Dogra people, are an Indo-Aryan ethno-linguistic group in India and Pakistan consisting of the Dogri language speakers. Dogra ruled Jammu from the 19th century, when Gulab Singh was made a hereditary Raja of Jammu by the Sikh Emperor Maharaja Ranjit Singh, whilst his brother Dhian Singh was the empire’s prime minister, until October 1947. Through the Treaty of Amritsar (1846), they acquired Kashmir as well. They live predominantly in the Jammu region of Jammu and Kashmir, and in adjoining areas of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, and northeastern Pakistan. The Brahmin Dogras are predominantly Saraswat Brahmins, genetically of common origin with Saraswat Brahmins of Jammu and Kashmir.

Sikh Empire Empire in the Indian subcontinent that existed from 1799 to 1849

The Sikh Empire was a state originating in the Indian subcontinent, formed under the leadership of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who established a secular empire based in the Punjab. The empire existed from 1799, when Ranjit Singh captured Lahore, to 1849 and was forged on the foundations of the Khalsa from a collection of autonomous Sikh misls. At its peak in the 19th century, the Empire extended from the Khyber Pass in the west to western Tibet in the east, and from Mithankot in the south to Kashmir in the north. Religiously diverse, with an estimated population of 3.5 million in 1831, it was the last major region of the Indian subcontinent to be annexed by the British.

Ranbir Singh of Jammu and Kashmir Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir

Ranbir Singh was Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir from 1856 until his death in 1885.

The Treaty of Lahore of 9 March 1846, was a peace treaty marking the end of the First Anglo-Sikh War. The Treaty was concluded, for the British, by the Governor-General Sir Henry Hardinge and two officers of the East India Company and, for the Sikhs, by the seven-year-old Maharaja Duleep Singh Bahadur and seven members of Hazara, the territory to the south of the river Sutlej and the forts and territory in the Jalandhar Doab between the rivers Sutlej and Beas. In addition, controls were placed on the size of the Lahore army and thirty-six field guns were confiscated. The control of the rivers Sutlej and Beas and part of the Indus passed to the British, with the proviso that this was not to interfere with the passage of passenger boats owned by the Lahore Government. Also, provision was made for the separate sale of all the hilly regions between River Beas and Indus, including Kashmir, by the East India Company at a later date to Gulab Singh, the Raja of Jammu.

Dogra dynasty Hindu dynasty of Jammu and Kashmir

The Dogra dynasty was a Hindu Dogra Rajput dynasty that formed the royal house of Jammu and Kashmir.

Poonch District was a district of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, currently divided between India and Pakistan. The Pakistani part of Poonch District is part of the Azad Kashmir territory, whilst the Indian Poonch District is part of the Kashmir union territory. The capital of the Pakistan-controlled side is Rawalakot; while the capital of the Indian side is Poonch.

History of Azad Kashmir

The history of Azad Kashmir, a part of the Kashmir region administered by Pakistan, is related to the history of the Kashmir region during the Dogra rule. Azad Kashmir borders the Pakistani provinces of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the south and west respectively, Gilgit–Baltistan to the north, and the Indian union territory of Jammu and Kashmir to the east.

Akali Phula Singh Prominent Sikh leader

Akali Phula Singh Nihang was an Akali Nihang Sikh leader. He was a saint soldier of the Khalsa Shaheedan Misl and head of the Budha Dal in the early 19th century. He was also a senior general in the Sikh Khalsa Army and commander of the irregular Nihang of the army. He played a role in uniting Sikh misls in Amritsar. He was not afraid of the British who at many times ordered for his arrest but were not successful. During his later years he served for the Sikh Empire as a direct adviser to Maharajah Ranjit Singh. He remained an army general in many famous Sikh battles up until his martyrdom in the battle of Naushera. He was admired by the local people and had a great influence over the land and his settlement was always open to help the poor and helpless. He was well known and was a humble unique leader and prestigious warrior with high character. He was also known for his effort to maintain the values of Gurmat and the Khalsa panth. His 14th generation still lives in faith chak. His 14th granddaughter is Jagdish Kaur.

Dogra–Tibetan War 1841-1842 war

The Dogra–Tibetan War or Sino-Sikh War was fought from May 1841 to August 1842, between the forces of the Dogra nobleman Gulab Singh of Jammu, under the suzerainty of the Sikh Empire, and Tibet under the suzerainty of Qing China. Gulab Singh's commander was the able general Zorawar Singh Kahluria, who, after the conquest of Ladakh, attempted to extend its boundaries in order to control the trade routes into Ladakh. Zorawar Singh's campaign, suffering from the effects of inclement weather, suffered a defeat at Minsar and Singh was killed. The Tibetans then advanced on Ladakh. Gulab Singh sent reinforcements under the command of his nephew Jawahir Singh. A subsequent battle near Leh in 1842 led to a Tibetan defeat. The Treaty of Chushul was signed in 1842 maintaining the status quo ante bellum.

The Treaty of Amritsar may refer to:

Jammu Division Administrative Division in Jammu and Kashmir, India

Jammu Division is a revenue and administrative division within Jammu and Kashmir, a union territory of India. It consists of the districts of Jammu, Doda, Kathua, Ramban, Reasi, Kishtwar, Poonch, Rajouri, Udhampur and Samba. Most of the land is hilly or mountainous, including the Pir Panjal Range which separates it from the Kashmir Valley and part of the Great Himalayas in the eastern districts of Doda and Kishtwar. Its principal river is the Chenab. Chenab Valley is another important division in Jammu region.

The following is a timeline of the Kashmir conflict during the period 1846–1946.

Raja Dhian Singh Dogra was the longest serving prime minister of the Sikh empire, during the reign of its first Maharajah Ranjit Singh, and four of his heirs. He held the office for twenty five years, from 1818 up till his death.